How I Turned My Grandma’s Skirt Into an Awesome New Dress

by Kara
7 Materials
2 Hours

I inherited a bunch of clothes from my grandmother when she passed away. It was important to me to pay her homage, so I took her clothing and refashioned a bunch of the items into styles that fit my personality. This allowed me to keep my grandma with me, while still rocking modern fashion. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how I did just that with one of Grandma’s old denim skirts. The result? A super cute denim dress.

Tools and Materials:

  • Denim skirt
  • Scissors
  • Seam ripper
  • Cutting mat
  • Rotary blade
  • Clips
  • Sewing machine
Refashion maxi skirt
Open seams

The first thing I had to do for this skirt was open up the blind seam that my grandmother had put into it. So I took my seam ripper and just went through the seam in order to give myself the most amount of fabric to work with.

Skirt to dress refashion
Cut the tiers of the skirt

Once the seam was open, I decided to cut each tier of the skirt separately. So I grabbed my scissors and I cut open the side seam of the skirt so that I’d be able to lay it flat. Then I cut right beneath the seam where the fabric is gathered in order to separate the tiers. I also removed the waistband, and since I didn’t need it for this project, I just tossed it.

Refashion old skirt
Cut out the bodice

To make the bodice, I used a pattern that I already had. You can check out the link in the video if you’re interested in it. So I just lay that pattern out on my fabric and used my rotary blade to cut it out. 

Old skirt refashion
Attach the interfacing

My pattern called for using the same material for the interfacing, but since I needed to make sure I’d have enough for the skirt, I didn’t want to use any on the interfacing. So instead, I grabbed some scrap fabric and used that instead. I pretty much just followed the instructions of my pattern for this part. I stitched along the edge, trimmed the seam, then flipped it. Then I just pressed it and understitched it by sewing the seam allowance to the interfacing. This made it so that the interfacing was in the back and I had a nice sweetheart neckline. 

Denim skirt to dress upcycle
Add shoulders

The next thing I did was take the side pieces of my bodice and clip them in place according to my pattern. Then I stitched on the side pieces and stitched the shoulder pieces to the back pieces. Then I sewed the interfacing for the neckline from the front to the back.

Refashion grandma’s skirt
Alter your fit

To get the right fit for my bodice, I pinned where my seam allowance was for my invisible zipper, and then I added the darts in the back. I did this on my adjustable dress form, so it was already set to my size, and so easy to figure out the right sizes for my darts. 

Make the skirt
Sew together the skirt

To make the skirt of the dress, I took the bottom two layers of the skirt and turned it into a pencil-shaped skirt by surging down the seam and shaping it according to a pencil skirt that I’d made the week before. 

DIY skirt to dress
Attach the skirt

Then it was time to put the dress together! I clipped my skirt to the bodice and matched up the darts on the skirt to the ones already on the bodice. Then I went and sewed the pieces together. Finally, I added my invisible zipper to the back and made necessary adjustments by adding darts to the front and back of the neckline.

Upcycle grandma’s skirt
Add sleeves

The sleeve for my pattern called for two pieces of the same fabric, but since I didn’t have enough, I used scrap material for this part as well. I then made the seam and understitched it so that when I folded it over the lining fabric would be on the inside. I then attached it to the bodice and the dress was finished!

Finished dress to skirt refashion

I, for one, am super happy with the way this dress turned out! I get to still wear my grandma’s skirt, but in a way that suits my style so much better. I love wearing dresses and I am so glad that I now have this super cool new one to add to my collection. Have you ever refashioned a skirt? Want to try a project like mine? Show me your pictures in the comments!


Suggested materials:
  • Denim skirt
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors
See all materials

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Join the conversation
2 of 4 comments
  • Elizabeth Elizabeth on Apr 18, 2021

    That skirt you disassembled must have been long and full.

  • Nancy K Nancy K on Apr 19, 2021

    Wonderful and charming idea. I am touched by the love you and your grandmother share and how you are keeping her in your life.