Monday, July 16, 2012

DIY: How to turn a pantsuit (or shorts) into a mini dress (or skirt)

While thrifting a few weeks ago, I found the most perfect outfit, and at first glance I thought it was a dress. I got it home, threw it in the wash and forgot about it for a few days. When it got out of the dryer, I immediately tried it on, only to find to my disappointment, that it was a pantsuit. If ONLY it had been a well fitting pantsuit it wouldn't have been so disappointing. But sadly it was way too small in the hind quarters, and my torso is too long for most standard pantsuits. They're just not comfortable for my body type. Solution: turn it into a dress! The back of this piece has the most fabulous design and cutout. 

This tutorial will for for any shorts, kulats, pantsuit, etc that fits well in the waist. BE SURE it fits in the waist, as the sewing instructions only show you how to alter the legs. The before outfit was just too dated for my taste, the capri style too tight with the high waist. I can't even imagine showing you all the before picture from behind! Let's just say it was also a little too risqué for public view.

You will need:
  • pantsuit or skirt to alter
  • matching thread
  • scissors
  • fabric marker or chalk
  • sewing machine
  • chalk hem marker
  • iron

1. Start by cutting off a good portion of the pant. Don't cut it too short! Leave 6-7 inches of an inseam. 2. Cut the center seam that runs along the inside of the pant leg. Cut as close to the seam as possible. 3. Lay the fabric out on your work surface, with side seams matched up. 4. Pin together so the fabric does not shift, you want your next cuts to be symetical! 5. Starting at the innermost part of the back seam, draw a line down to the bottom of the fabric. You can't this to be lined up WITH the previous seam! If you have a larger behind, give the line a bit of curve to it (the dashed line is more straight down, solid line accounts for curves. 6. Repeat this on the front center seam, bringing the line straight down. You do not want a curve on this seam or it will appear poofy on the front of the garment. Sew along both lines for 5 and 6 steps. 7. Cut excess fabric and zig zag stitch edges. 8. Use a chalk hem marker to mark the line of the skirt (SEE ANIMATED GIF BELOW!) 9. Sew a double folded hem or invisible hem. I chose a double folded hem. 10. Iron your new dress! AND DONE!

NOTE: when using a chalk hem marker, look straight ahead, NOT DOWN when marking the garment. ALSO!: If you wear heels a lot, wear them when marking the dress. I typically wear low heels or flats so I just did this bare foot.

This alteration makes a HUGE difference, doesn't it? I will get so much more use out of this comfortable sundress rather than it's previous state as an uncomfortable dated pantsuit. And the mint green is a color you don't see very often.

Zeus being a terrible model. Matt helped out with these pictures on our Sunday morning at home, before our day at the pool, and Zeus was easily distracted, showing off for dad.

AND the dress has pockets!

Don't you just LOVE this cutout? The bottom flap above the back zipper is so flattering with the top that isn't super fitted. Matt asked, "shouldn't you take the back in a little", and I had to explain to him that it was part of the design, the look of the blousy top and fitted waist. Plus it's so comfortable and it doesn't require a bra! BONUS!

Questions? Comments!?

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  1. Great post! and cute dress :) xx

  2. Great job Sally, looks awesome!!

  3. This whole post is just fabulous! I am so jealous of the pantsuit and the dress. They both looked adorable but I think the switch to the dress was perfect.

  4. You are a artist really i am impressed

  5. This tutorial makes me feel like I could actually accomplish this task! Thank you!

  6. How did you fix that middle crotch area again?

  7. Great transformation! It turned out so great & the back IS adorable :)

    Oh, My