Skip to Content

The How To Mom is an affiliate for companies including Amazon Associates and earns a commission on qualifying purchases.

How to Turn a Dress into a Skirt – Without Sewing!


Turn a not-so-flattering dress into a super simple skirt with this easy no-sew technique!

I found this summery dress at JCrew a few months ago, and loved the colors. It felt so preppy and nautical, I imagined it as the perfect casual summer dress.  I tried it on and it just fit …weird. Like it was supposed to be slouchy, but the waist hit me in a bad spot (probably because I’m 6 ft tall), and the stripes made me look …not very slender.

I bought it anyway because it was $20 on clearance, and let’s be honest, I’m a sucker for a good deal. I tried to adjust the straps to make it hang differently, tried a belt to bring in the waist, but it never looked right.  I asked my husband if it was horrible, and his response was, “Well, it doesn’t look great…”

So that sealed this not-so-flattering dress’s fate.

Time to turn it into a skirt, without sewing!

How to Turn a Dress into a Skirt - Without Sewing!

This concept could be used on lots of different types of dresses, just look for ones with a waistband, that would look good with a drawstring. My mom did a similar refashion with a strapless maxi-dress that she turned into a maxi skirt.

How to Turn a Dress into a Skirt Without Sewing

First stare at your dress and make a plan. This is very important.

Every dress is made a little differently, so you will need to inspect it to see what your options are. My dress has an elastic waistband, sealed in a casing. My plan was to cut off the top of the dress, above the waistband. Luckily since its knit fabric, it won’t fray or unravel. So it doesn’t need to be hemmed and it would look fine with a raw edge.

But since the elastic wasn’t tight enough, I had to figure out how to cinch it up.  I thought about using ribbon or some kind of cording, but it wasn’t the look I wanted. I could have used the fabric from the top and sewn a drawstring, but it seemed like too much work. And then I realized I could use the straps as a drawstring.

I know.

So, start by turning your dress inside out. Make sure you know where to cut, and then do it. Its scary, but just make sure you’re cutting in the right place. Take a deep breath…

How to Turn a Dress into a Skirt (No-Sew!)


You could use ribbon or whatever else you want for the drawstring. If your straps are like mine and you want to use them, first cut off the slider thing. Stare at it first to make sure that you cut it in the right spot.

Dress to Skirt Re-Fashion - No Sewing!

Do the same thing to the other strap, and then pull the slider thingys off.

How to Turn a Dress with a Drawstring into a Skirt

Now, my straps weren’t long enough to use on their own as the drawstring, and then I realized that I could cut the finished edge off with the straps and it would make one long string. So I carefully cut just below the seam, all the way around the top of the dress.

How to Make a Drawstring, Dress to Skirt Re-Fashion

Clean up the string, cut off any tags or loops.

Make a Skirt into a Dress Without Sewing!

Now that we’ve got the string, time to fish it through the waistband. Cut a tiny slit in the front center of the waistband.

How to Add a Drawstring to a Skirt

And then attach a safety pin to the end of the string, and fish it through the slit, and then all the way around the waistband, til it comes out the slit again.

Dress to Skirt - How to Add a Drawstring

Easy peasy!

How to Turn a Dress into a Skirt Without Sewing!

Good sharp scissors will really help with this project. My favorite are these pink and white scissors from Amazon. They’re on the smaller side, but I find myself using them more than any of my other pairs.

I hope that helps with your dress to skirt refashion! If you need more help, you can totally email me at thehowtomom and I’ll be happy to help.

Make Your Own Beautiful Living Succulent Wreath Centerpiece! Complete video course by Jeannine Romero now available through Skillshare.


Friday 15th of August 2014

I love the instruction, "stare at it" so simple, but so important. I tend to give a quick look and cut, doesn't usually work out so good!

One Desperate Mom

Wednesday 13th of August 2014

I have a tank style maxi dress that was a little too tight in the tummy area and an inch or two too short. I hacked it off and now just fold over the waist and wear it with a t-shirt. It's perfect.

Heather Lloyd

Wednesday 14th of May 2014

This is genius and I have just the dress to use! I am so glad you shared this.Also, I love how you say to "stare" at it a while. LOL That's just the right description!


Friday 14th of March 2014

Ack! i love it! I wonder if you could turn the rest of the dress into an infinity scarf?


Tuesday 31st of December 2013

So much better as a skirt.Really well done :)

[email protected]

Sunday 5th of January 2014

I totally agree, it was a lousy dress. Thank you! :)

Comments are closed.