Sewing: PlusSize Refashion

5:48 AM

Ok refashion friends, can we have a frank talk about plus size refashioning?  I buy most of my refashion projects at thrift shops.  I LOVE thrift shops but most of the clothes are NOT plus size.  Sometimes they are and that's great, but i'm more likely to find a dress that's too small than I am to find one that's too big.

In my opinion its WAY easier to make a dress smaller than it is to make it bigger.  In this blog post we will learn how I turned a teeny tiny print dress into a cute skirt for myself.

Size petite Small
Lets back up for a minute.  Here is where this dress started.

Starting materials
I found a print that I LOVED in a dress what is WAY too small.  This is a maxi dress size petite small!  I am a size 16/18.  I'm short but not small.  Here's what I did.

Step one:  Find fabric that you like.  Ideally something stretchy.  A dress (or skirt) with pleats works GREAT.  Those pleats mean that after you cut the dress there will be more fabric than you think.

Step two: Before you buy a too small dress you need to figure out if it could potentially fit you.  So, try it on as best you can.

Me squeezed into a too small dress
I squeezed into this dress the best way that I could.  I pulled it over my head and slipped one arm out an arm hole.  As you can tell from this shot there is enough fabric to wrap around my body.

Step Three:  Buy the dress and take it home.  Smart shoppers will know to buy refashion items on sale.  If the refashion doesn't work you're not out too much money.  I purchased this dress for $4.25 at Good Will.

 Now that you own it, cut the dress.  Simply cut off the parts that make it too small.  I've done this before so I know exactly where I need to cut on this style of dress.

Before the Cut

After the Cut

  I basically cut off that teeny tiny bodice, leaving just the skirt.

Step Five:  EXPERIMENT!  I like this fabric a LOT but I need to find a way to wear it that i'm comfortable with.  So - I tried it all different ways!

Look #1 - 
This is the dress with the bodice cut off.  I like the fabric but I'm not a skin tight dress kind of girl.

Just the fabric

 Look #2
This is the dress with a little sweater. 
Dress with a little sweater
Look #3
This is the dress with a wrap top.

Look #3 is my favorite and the way i'm most likely to wear this dress.  This look covers my hips and is appropriate for work.  It's a look that pairs well with heels for flats.  It's comfortable and flattering.

Step Six: Road test the look.  Before I cut this dress off and make is a skirt, i'll wear it to work just like it is.  I need to know how the fabric will behave during my normal work day.  Will it twist or bind?  Will it ride up?  I don't know.  So this outfit will have to go to work one day so that I can see.

Step Seven:  Complete the look.  Once I determined that my new skirt is comfortable, it can be cut into a skirt with added elastic or left as a dress.

Finished Skirt!


*  For a straight (more fitted) skirt use a straight cut dress.

*  For a more flared skirt use an A-line dress.

* Both of the dresses referenced in this blog as made from stretchy lycra fabric.  I LOVE this fabric because it's easy to work with, it's comfortable and packs easily (just wash and wear).

*  I almost always go prefer patterned lycra.  Because lycra clings to the body it can show every figure imperfection.  When the garment has a pattern the imperfections disappear!

For more ReFashion Tips, click HERE!

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  1. oh I'm glad you did this I have a dress "size 8" that' I''ve been dreaming of getting back into for over 10 years lol! I was just thinking yesterday about whacking it off & turning it into a skirt lol! who knws, maybe it'll make me feel smaller after all it'll still be a 8 right? lol! thanks for the insperation & hope for my itty bitty dress lol!! love what you did with yours!


    1. Sounds like a GREAT idea! Happy whacking! If it turns out well email me a picture. I'll post it on my blog as a "Success Story"! :-)

  2. What a great refashion - love it :-)

  3. You are my hero, bravo girl! Thanks for pointing out a key refashioning issue and making it work so well. :)

  4. Love it! A size M, I am pretty much appalled at all the tiny skinnies who grab up plus size clothing to make into handkerchief sized dresses. Once stuff reaches the by-the-pound bins, it is nothing more than fabric and up for grabs.

  5. Thanks for speaking for those of us refashioners on the other end of the size spectrum. I'm inspired!

  6. What a great hint in Step #6 to road test the fabric before committing to the skirt! Love that! Your skirt turned out great.

  7. GREAT IDEAS!!!!! I ALWAYS refashion. Big, little, large or small, if I like it at Goodwill, I buy it. ALMOST everything in my house I have refashioned. All my daughters are smaller, so I usually go through their Goodwill bags to find things I want to refashion. Now, they call me and ask me if I can refashion something before they go buy it. LOL And this refashion also applies to furniture. NOTHING IS OFF LIMITS!!! Again, great job!