leadVintage and charity shops are full of dresses with unflattering cuts. As long as you like the fabric though, they are still worth buying as our resident revamper, Lucy Housman, has come up with a pattern to turn them into Seventies inspired maxi dresses in a few quick and easy steps.

The maxi skirt is such a simple and stylish shape to wear this summer so I have decided that I’ve done enough short dresses and it’s time for something different.

At times, the vintage dresses one finds in charity shops have too high a waist band and an unsatisfactory bodice, so I have devised a solution to transform an ill-fitting dress into a gorgeous Seventies skirt.

It’s a vintage look and most definitely inspired by the hippies. I chose a stripy fabric to demonstrate but my first skirt was done in vibrant retro flowers, so anything goes.


Step one, find yourself a dress, a slightly loose fitting one is ideal, and a length of elastic fabric to fit round your waist or hips.

Start with cutting off the top of the dress just under the arms. Check the length against your self and add an extra couple of inches. I’ve gone for full length with the skirt hanging off my hips as I want my skirt to brush the floor.

41Then fold at the top of the (now) skirt making enough of a channel for the elastic. Pin and stitch. When this is done you are ready to feed the elastic through the newly made waist-band. If you put a safety pin in the end of the elastic, it’s easier to do this. When both ends of elastic meet back at the opening, sew them together.

Neaten any raw edges with hand sewing if you need to, I used one of the neatened arm holes as an opening for the elastic, and it’ s advisable to try and do the same if your original dress lends itself. It saves time and looks better but is by no means essential!


Finally, try it on and dance around in the flowers. I’d suggest pairing this up with something very understated, keep the emphasis on the gorgeous skirt, though I’m going to wear a hat with mine.

5 Responses

  1. Shay

    BRILLIANT! I love this- finally something I can actually do with my horrific sewing ‘skills’ and my bags of ill-fitting vintage dresses! Thanks so much!

  2. mart

    think this is a brill idea would it be possible to make a skirt out of a bridesmaid dress but it has a zip in the back x

  3. Melony at Whimsy Daisy!

    I love this kind of makeover! Nothing goes to waste. I just posted a re-do on my blog with a 40’s long robe that I turned into a wearable “wrap”dress. It was such beautiful fabric and I SO wanted to wear it around town. It was a simple fix.

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