Maxi Dress Refashion

I’m counting down to a BIG vacation. The biggest my husband and I have ever taken without kids. We’re celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary this month, and we decided a long time ago that it deserved a party with style. We’re leaving Oregon the day after Father’s Day headed first to sunny Florida. After spending almost a week acting like big kids at Disney World, we’re hopping a cruise ship and sailing around the Caribbean. The day of our actual anniversary, we’ll be zip lining above the jungle in Honduras.  I probably don’t need to tell you, I am beyond excited.  My husband has been getting the daily announcement of how many days are left until we leave for at least a couple of weeks.  FYI, today is 12.

During a recent trip to Costco, my husband pointed out a rack of maxi dresses.  He knew I was still on the hunt for a casual dress, and they had one in a print he thought I’d like.  We both agreed the braided detail on the top was a nice touch, but since Costco has no dressing rooms, I was afraid to take the chance it wouldn’t fit.  We’re regular Costco shoppers, so my husband pointed out I could easily return it if it didn’t work out.  For $17, I decided to risk it.

Maxi dress

Well, as much as I liked it on the rack, and laying on my bedroom floor, this dress did not look good on me.  The size was fine, but it hung weird around my middle and hips.  I loved the top though.  My first instinct was to take it back, but then I had a thought.  The price of the dress would have been reasonable if it was only a top, so would I really be out anything if I just cut it shorter?  And what if I could make something from the bottom?  I’ve chopped up plenty of old clothes, but could I really refashion something brand new?  There was no stopping that train once it left the station.  To the scissors!

How I turned this maxi dress into this top, skirt and scarf!

Because I don’t swim, I had to buy a swimsuit for this trip, which I don’t know if I’ll even end up wearing, but it’s mine now.  I love the cut of the top, and thought the same shape might work well for my refashion.

Swimsuit top on dress

I started by measuring where to cut for the lowest point on the hem of the top and cutting straight across.

Cutting top off dress

Then I folded the top in half and used the swimsuit top as a guide to cut the angle.

Cutting the angled hem on the top

After that it was simply a matter of rolling the hem and stitching it.  I love this top, and I especially like how the angle at the bottom breaks up the horizontal stripes, making it more becoming to my shape.

Top refashioned from maxi dress

Now, what about the rest of that fabric?  I wasn’t sure about a skirt, because of those same horizontal stripes.  I slipped it on and was surprised to realize that with a different top I actually liked them.  As it was though, it would have been a bit long for my short legs.  I measured it next to a skirt I already had that was a good length, and leaving enough for a wide casing to accommodate the wide elastic I wanted to use, I cut off a bit more.

Cutting off dress bottom for skirt

Since the bottom was already hemmed, all I had to do was fold the top over and stitch it down, leaving an opening to insert the elastic.

Creating casing for elastic

I fed the elastic through, adjusted it until it fit and stitched the ends together.

Adding elastic to skirt

I stitched the casing closed, and I had a skirt.  This will be perfect for summer.

Skirt from Maxi Dress

Remember that strip I cut from the top of the skirt to shorten it?  Don’t think for a moment I let that go to waste!

Remaining strip of fabric from dress

I cut it apart at one seam, leaving the other in place.  I folded it right sides together and stitched the long edge, leaving an opening to turn it.  I stitched the two ends at an angle, and trimmed away the excess.

Trimming away excess on ends

I turned it right side out through the opening.

Turning scarf right side out

All I had to do after that was press it and hand stitch that opening closed.  That left me with a cute scarf I can tie around my head, ponytail or neck!  The print is different on each side, so I actually have two different looks available.

Finished scarf from maxi dress

In the end, I think this may have been one of my best Costco purchases ever.  Seventeen dollars for all of this feels like a steal!

Top, skirt and scarf made from a refashioned maxi dress


22 thoughts on “Maxi Dress Refashion

  1. So much respect for refashioning. Too easy to just stuff it at the back of wardrobe unworn. You did a great job! Have an awesome anniversary trip 🙂


  2. Love this! I’m short too, so the whole maxi dress thing looks odd. But a maxi skirt is awesome. I especially like your top re-fashion. Breaking up the stripe is very flattering.


    • Once in while I find a maxi dress I can wear, but it’s kinda rare. I can’t say I realized as I was doing it that the angled hem would make the stripes more wearable, but I’m very happy with the result!


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  5. I did this with a high-low dress that I didn’t like. I made a long tunic out of it and from the bottom made a band for my hair. I have another maxi dress that has no back in it. Any suggestions as to what to do other than just making a skirt out of it?


  6. We just got back from a mini version of your trip for our 6 year anniversary. WDW 2 days and 3 night Disney cruise. It was fabulous! You’ll have a blast. Congratulations!


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