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pinned it. did it. {with doña}

liz lamoreux

Doña has done it again with another fun Pinned it. Did it. post! Love this idea. I can think of about three skirts I'd like to do this with and make some fun new dresses for Ellie. And her time-saving hemming tip might have just changed. my. life. Read on...


Recently a friend told me about the horrendous bridesmaid dress she refashioned for her daughter into something cute and actually reasonable to wear. If I recall correctly, the process involved removing the bodice, turning it backwards, reworking the waist pieces into a folded collar and changing the length of the skirt.

I was impressed. I love the idea of re-fashioning clothes (and hope someday to take a class from the talented Emily Falconbridge on this topic), but I just can’t seem to imagine how to take apart an item of clothing and see it as something else. Let alone make it.

So I was pretty proud of my accomplishment this month, turning one of my old skirts into a dress for my preschooler. 

Mind you, this is a very simple re-fashion, but it gave me more confidence to try other things. 

I bought this skirt back when I was pregnant, while visiting my grandparents in Canada, both of whom have since passed. Honestly, it never looked good on me and I don’t really know why I bought it. But I did like the fabric pattern and because of the connection to my grandparents it has hung around through several closet purges. But I knew I wasn’t ever going to wear it. One day I realized that skirt length on me equals dress length for my daughter – I could turn it into a dress!

I found a very simple pattern on Pinterest for a dress with about the same shape as the skirt panels, took some measurements, and started disassembling.

It turns out this skirt was quite well made, with French seams and lining. Taking it apart was the hardest and most time consuming part of the whole project!

Once I had the waistband off and the lining removed, I had to figure out how to shape the actual dress. The original skirt was made of six panels but I didn’t need that much width, so I removed two panels and sewed that side seam back together to make a narrower tube.

Then I followed the instructions and measurements to cut armholes and the neckline casing.

I recently made my first project from a Japanese pattern book, and I picked up an awesome tip. When you are pressing a hem or folding in and pressing a casing, mark an index card with the width you need for each fold and use it to turn and press the fabric. This is so much faster than the way I learned to do it way back in high school!

The old waistband piece turned out to be just long enough to make a nice tie, so I sewed the long edge together and threaded it through the top edge casings.

And that was it!

The final dress is a bit big for my daughter right now, but it should be perfect next summer, and may even fit another summer after that.

I could not for the life of me get a not-blurry picture of her in it, but she did ask me if she could get married in it, which I am happy to take as a complement of the highest order.

Have you ever taken apart a garment to make something else? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Doña Bumgarner is a writer, artist, mama and a craft project-collector from way back. She loves Pinterest and uses it to help solve a household dilemma at least once a week (see her “Pinned and Done,” Handmade Gifts, and What’s For Dinner boards). She lives in Santa Cruz with her partner, their little one and his almost grown one, and a collection of cats and chickens. She blogs at Nurtured Mama.

Registration for her popular 21 Days To A Peaceful Holiday class, designed to help you create a simpler, more intentional holiday season, is now open. You can read more and register here.

Note from Liz: Over here in my corner, I'm focusing on how to "use Pinterest for good." I really see it as a community of people trying to see the beauty and possibility in their lives. I'm continuing to add a few new features here on my blog inspired by or directly about Pinterest as a way to invite others to look for this beauty within a social media community. Connect with me on Pinterest here. Read other "Pinned it. Did it." columns here.