How to Convert a Prom Dress into a Skirt tutorial : From Cheap to Chic

Learn how to convert a prom dress into a skirt with this easy to follow tutorial.  Ever wish you could find a more modest alternative to prom?  Or maybe you just want a fancy skirt and top combination.  You can learn about where I got these dresses here.

prom dress to skirt tutoiralI took a couple of clearance prom dresses and converted them into skirts.  Not only can you save money, but you’ll be able to wear the skirt a lot more than you would a prom dress.  In just under an hour, you’ll have a cute upcycled skirt.  Perfect for photo shoots, parties and flirty dates.

For this project you will need:

a large prom dress ( preferably a several  sizes large than yours Tip:  It should be at most 12 sizes too big.  In the example I used a size 24 dress and I am a size 12 and it was pushing it.  If you’re  a size 2 a size 24 dress isn’t going to work for you but a size 14 would.)

Rotary cutter, ruler and mat

Coordinating thread

Seam Ripper


Marking pen

Sewing Essentials (pins, scissors, etc.)

Sewing Machine

Step 1 – Prep the Prom Dress

prom dress makeover0001 prom dress makeover0003 prom dress makeover0004 prom dress makeover0005You’re going to cut off the top of the dress and odds are that it’s strapless so you will need to remove the “boning”.   To do this take your seam ripper and at the top of the dress make a hole at each point there is boning.  Then pull out the plastic strap. (And you might want to hold onto those straps, they’re great for costuming, or breast feeding shields).  Next If there is beading jewels on the top  you will want to remove them from the cut line.  Using your seam ripper remove anything that will get in the way of cutting the top off the dress.  (And again those jewels are good for other things – hold on to them!).

Step 2 – Get ready to cut

prom dress makeover0006 prom dress makeover0007 prom dress makeover0008 Before you cut the top off the dress, to make it easier and less messy and a cleaner cut we’re going to stabilize the fabric.  To do this, Decide how wide you want the waist band to be.  With the example dress it was a no brainer to just use the ruched section as the waistband.  Decide how wide you want the waistband to be and and then .5  inches above that sew a tight zig zag stitch all the way around the dress.

Step 3 – Cut the top off the dress

prom dress makeover0009 prom dress makeover0010I know, this is the scary part.  But believe me this dress has it coming, you’re doing it a favor.  Your cut line will be 1 inch above where you want the waist band to be.  Making sure the zipper is down and using scissors cut through the zipper at your cut line ( don’t use your rotary cutter on the zipper).  Then carefully, using your rotary cutter ruler and mat, cut off the dress excess.  Take your time, do it in small chunks, and make sure that only cut through one layer of dress at a time ( ie: don’t fold the dress in half and just cut off the top, lay it out as flat as possible and cut).

Step 4 – Make it the right size

prom dress makeover0011 prom dress makeover0014 prom dress makeover0015 prom dress makeover0016 prom dress makeover0017 prom dress makeover0018prom dress makeover0020 prom dress makeover0022prom dress makeover0019This dress is huge one you. Good, it’s always easier to take things in.  Try on the skirt – taking care NOT to zip the zipper off the tracks ( yes I totally did that, swore, and then looked up how to fix it here).  Figure our about how much you need to take it in on each side.

For me, I needed to take it in 5 inches on each side.  Using the side seams, I measure out 2 inches from either side ( 2=2 +4)  – I’m going to use a .5 inch seam allowance ( 2 sides of cloth  .5+.5=1, so  that’s a total of 5 inches on each side ( 4 +1=5).  Because I am taking it in so much I don’t want bulky fabric under the  so I am going to cut it out.

Using the current side seam I measure out two inches.  Using a marking pen, mark 2 inches ( or however many inches you need) from the side seam.  Then using a ruler draw a line to the side seam , repeat on the other side of the seam, making a v.  Repeat all these steps on the other side.

Then using a tight zig zag stitch ( almost a satin stitch, but not as tight) sew along the “v” on each side.

Then cut out the interior of the v to get rid of the excess fabric.

With right sides together, using a .5 inch seam allowance sew the “v’ together making a new side seam.  Repeat on the other side.

Step 5 – Finish up

prom dress makeover0023Turn the top waist band under 1 inch and top stitch around the skirt finishing off the waist band.  Trim your threads and you’re finished!

Other Skirt Patterns for Women:

More Cute Free Adult Patterns:

how to upcycle a prom dress


  1. So fun! I plan on doing this soon, I have a formal event to go to, and a big pregnant belly to cover! No sense in getting a brand new maternity gown when I can hack something formal and thrifted or clearanced and just maternity-ize it. I am in love with the dresses you found though, such fun fabrics to make into a skirt!!

  2. I love this idea! I think I would remove the zipper (recycle, of course), sew the seam, and put in a wide elastic waist. It would fit a large assortment of body types.

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