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How to Remove an Elastic Waistband from a Dress

A Polyester Flowers No Sew Dress-to-Top Refashion
Easy DIY Tunic Dress Refashion

Columbia SC (the city in which I reside) has been through a lot lately.

The Midlands have been hit with devastation like I had never seen before.  

Saturday’s rain had nothing on Sunday morning.  The waters rose…swallowing entire neighborhoods. Roads collapsed.  Local businesses were destroyed. People died.  Newscasters became increasingly panicked as the flooding worsened.

All of this happened while I was safe on higher ground, but unable to get to anywhere where I could be of any help as the surrounding roads were flooded or closed.

I’ve held off on sharing the refashion I made that day, as it just felt wrong. For me to have escaped completely unscathed while others lost so much seems unfair.  My friends also skirted disaster (though barely for some).

This was a day when I needed something to occupy my hands.

I began with this ill fitting elastic-waisted dress.

how to remove elastic waist from dress

This is a sad & misshapen elastic-waisted dress that I can imagine looking good on anyone. At all.

At first, I thought I’d just turn it into a fun stripey top.  So, I picked off the elastic…

removing elastic waist from dress with seam ripper
closeup of waistline elastic
Almost done!

Then, I snipped off the top from the bottom…right along the serged seam.

snipping top from bottom

I put the top part on and realized my midriff was out there for all the world (or in this case Douglas) to see.  


No. Just no.

It looked like this piece was going to stay a dress after all!  

I decided to make the button-up back of the dress the front.  

I also got creative with the button placement.  I thought it would look a bit more mod with the placket off to one side.

I laid out my top and bottom pieces, prepping the bottom for a side trim.

laying out top and bottom piece
Laying it all out!

I snipped off about 3 inches from the top of the bottom part, as well as that unneeded fabric from the side.

Now it's coming together!
Now it’s coming together!

Next, I stitched down the side I had just cut off.

pinning side seam of skirt
Just a lil pin & stitch!

Now it was time to bring the two pieces together!  

I pinned the two sides together, with the right-side-out parts facing each other, like so:

pinning top of dress to bottom

The reattachment process continued, as I stitched the two pieces together.

sewing top of dress to bottom
Sewing raw edge down
Securing each raw edge…like ya do.

My dress wasn’t quite the right size when I tried it on.  No biggie!  

I just took in in a smidge.

taking in side of dress
stitching side seam of dress

For my last trick, I stitched down the front placket.

I had to use the closest thing I had to maroon thread in my alternative sewing locale.

spool of brown thread on sewing machine
You’ll have to do!
sewing down front placket
No gaping here!

And here’s how it turned out!

How to Remove an Elastic Waistband from a Dress after
I spy with my little eye a Douglas (look to the left)!

I’m really happy with this one, and was equally happy to have something to do that day.

refashionista How to Remove an Elastic Waistband from a Dress after

Columbia is no longer underwater, but there is much work to be done to restore the parts of the city that were decimated in the flood.

It’s inspiring to see how everyone has come together to help each other through this terrible time. And the need for helpers and resources isn’t going away any time soon.

Please keep SC in your thoughts.

A Polyester Flowers No Sew Dress-to-Top Refashion
Easy DIY Tunic Dress Refashion