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How to Refashion a Too-Small Skirt into a Top

A No-Sew Jersey Maxi Dress Refashion
Fixing a (Poorly) Handmade Dress

If you’ve been hankering for me to take something that’s too small and somehow make it work (rather than just taking stuff in like I usually do), PAY CLOSE ATTENTION as I’m about to do that very thing!  😉

I started with this too-small stretchy skirt that I thought would fit just fine as is when I scored it for $1 at the thrift store.

refashionista skirt to top refashion before

Okay.  It’s not the most terrible thing ever, but it really is too snug and not very flattering for my pear-shaped frame.  

It’s just not doing me any favors, you know?

If I really wanted to keep this as a skirt, I could add gussets to the sides to make it bigger, but I still don’t think I would like it very much.  

For me, the best thing to do if something is too small, is to turn it into a completely different thing.

In this case, I decided to turn this too-small skirt into a just-right top! Here’s how:

First, I got to snipping!

removing elastic waistband
Bye elastic waisband!

Then, I pulled the elastic part out of the waistband and put it aside.  

It will no doubt come in handy for a future refashion!

saving elastic for future projects
Always harvest the elastic when you can!

I turned the rest of the skirt upside-down and pinned it in two places, less than shoulder-width apart.


I stitched the pinned parts down (only about half an inch though).

Then, I gave the bottom of what was about to be my new top a new hem!

Fold under & pin
Fold under & pin!

I used a zigzag stitch, as I wanted to make sure the bottom part would be able to stretch over my hips.

zig zag stitching
Zig and Zag!

After a quick press, my new top was ready for a movie night with friends!  🙂

skirt to dress refashion after
skirt to dress refashion after
refashionista at paradise ice
Mmmmmn! Lemon Basil Cheesecake Custard from Paradise Ice!

You can see how I used the discarded waistband section as a waist-cinching mini-sash, and since I’m saving the elastic for future use, this is a totally no-waste refashion!  Huzzah!

I think my new top is reminiscent of Phillip Lim’s designs, but I’ll let you do a quick Google Image Search and see if you agree.

The film was lovely…

Nickelodeon Theatre Marquee
Wes Anderson’s best, in my humble opinion.

…as was the company.

Refashionista with friends

Of course the concessions were pretty great as well.

Nickelodeon theatre sells beer
Beer? At the movies? Only at The Nick!

Methinks my creative juices are flowing again.  🙂

skirt to shirt refashion close up
…and I’m feeling rather smug about it.


Refashionista Skirt to Shirt Refashion Before and After
A No-Sew Jersey Maxi Dress Refashion
Fixing a (Poorly) Handmade Dress

52 thoughts on “How to Refashion a Too-Small Skirt into a Top”

  1. Seriously…you should do this redesign challenge on Sada Fashions. This isn’t spam but I know you have a good chance of winning because you didn’t add more to it. Check it out The contest already started but you have until the end of November to enter your winning design for $500. I’ll be looking for your entry and good luck if you do decide to do it. And its offered to anyone who does redesign.

  2. OMG! adorable!!! I want so bad to do this to some of my skirts that I have in my closet. I now know why I have been hanging on to them. They are made of great material that I hated to part with…THANK YOU for the fantastic idea!!!

  3. So happy your mojo is back and your refashions are cuter than ever! Love this transformation from meh skirt to knock out top!

  4. So creative!! You are an inspiration and yes, your mojo is back Fo Sho. I go through phases and dry spells as well, your creativity is a gift, a part of you, and will never leave you! Cheers to you, love seeing you back at it and killing it. 🙂

  5. Nicely done! It’s not something you’d normally find in the stores where I live (near Peterborough , ON, so all the better!! I love your creativity and the shy, yet confident! way you wear it. Classy.

  6. So happy that you’ve got your mojo back; keep those posts coming! You are one of the most creative re-fashioners blogging right now. (I get a little tired of looking at refashions that are simply a chop off of the hem and taking in at the sides.)

  7. Aaannd she’s back! I’m so glad!! You have every right to a bit of smugness- very cool refash!! 😀

  8. Super cute!! I am so inspired by your ability to see beyond the original garment…it’s like you can see into the future!! 🙂 I have a hard time with that and find it too easy to get stuck at the beginning. Thanks so much for doing what you do!!! ♡

  9. Love this one!
    Note for the future: sometimes you can refash a smaller, longer skirt into a larger, shorter one by cutting off the TOP and making a new waistband a few inches lower down than the original, where the skirt is wider. Kind of making the old hip part into the new waist part.

  10. Great Idea! BUT you could have kept it a skirt. Take off waist band. Pull skirt up to a point where it is not snug. Cut off excess at top and then replace the waistband. Do this all the time. Especially since most skirts are way to long for me!

  11. I knew that you needed some time to get back to it, and look at what you have created! AMAZING refashion!!! Honestly I think it’s safe to say that your “funk” is no more. I absolutely love your creativity, and you inspire me everyday. Keep up the great work. There are TONS of people that rely on you and your creativity for inspiration or a pause in their day or just a simple pick me up to put a smile on their face like you have done mine.

  12. OK that was the coolest refash I have seen. How cool, really looks good makes me want to find a skirt and to it too.

  13. I would love to be able to do what you do and see what you see when you look at clothes! I love the reuse of just about anything… especially when it becomes something completely different from what it originally was. I wish I lived by you so you could teach me all you sewing and styling tips! Or there were inexpensive classes in my area for this… or maybe I should’ve taken more home economics sewing classes in high school years ago! I love how this one turned out. Can’t wait for the next one!

  14. Wow! I love this refashion and would have never thought of doing this with a skirt. You are officially funk-free, Jillian!


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