Recycle a Prom Dress into a Pleated Skirt + Bonus Cocktail Dress

Refashioned Prom Dress into Pleated Skirt - Before and After

Sometimes, I come across a dress at the thrift store that makes me ask “What the heck were they thinking?”  Take for example this Jessica McClintock prom dress I scored for $10.  I liked the ruched bodice by itself, and I liked the mermaid tail by itself but put together, it was an epic fail.  I thought these 2 parts should be separated, and that’s exactly what I did.

Refashioned Prom Dress into Pleated Skirt - Detached Mermaid Tail 1

Step 1:  Pick apart the mermaid tail and first tier of fabric from the tail.

Refashioned Prom Dress into Pleated Skirt - Waistband cut out

Step 2:  Make the waist from the first tier of fabric.  I assumed this tier would be a long rectangular strip of fabric but it turned out to be curved pieces that were perfect for a waist yoke.  Cut 2 waist yokes – one for the front and one for the facing.

Refashioned Prom Dress into Pleated Skirt - Waistband serged

Serge the top with the wrong sides together.

Refashioned Prom Dress into Pleated Skirt

Flip over the waist yoke and press.  If you don’t have curved pieces, you can use a rectangular piece of fabric for your waistband.  For the length, measure your waist and add a 5/8″ seam allowance on both sides.  For the width, figure out how high you want the waistband, and then double it to cover both the front and back.  Then add a 5/8″ seam allowance to both sides.

Refashioned Prom Dress into Pleated Skirt - Pleat front

Step 3:  Make pleats in the fabric.  The bottom of the waist yoke was 30″, which meant I had to pleat the rest of the fabric to measure 30″.  I made 6 pleats 5 inches apart.

Refashioned Prom Dress into Pleated Skirt - Back of Pleat

Here’s a view of the pleat from the back.  I pinched 8″ of fabric for a 4″ pleat.

Refashioned Prom Dress into Pleated Skirt - Zipper Pleat

The last pleat is really 2 half pleats with a 5/8″ seam allowance for the invisible zipper and side seam.

Refashioned Prom Dress into Pleated Skirt - attaching the waistband.

Step 4:  Serge the waist to the skirt.

Refashioned Prom Dress into Pleated Skirt - invisible zipper

Step 5:  Sew the invisible zipper.  I used a wonderful tutorial from Colette Patterns with easy to follow instructions and beautiful photography.  This zipper hides nicely in the pleat.

Refashioned Prom Dress into a Pleated Skirt - finished waist facing

Step 6:  Finish the edge of the waist facing by folding under the raw edge and whip stitching in place.

Refashioned Prom Dress into Pleated Skirt

The finished skirt had a preppy vibe to it, so I paired with a white oxford.

Refashioned Prom Dress into Cocktail Dress

Step 6:  Finish the rest of the dress.  I hemmed the dress and the lining in less than 10 minutes.

If you need help calculating the number and spacing of pleats for your waist and length of fabric, I highly recommend a tutorial from Joe and Cheryl.  They have beautiful diagrams and easy formulas.  Everything starts from your waistline measurement.  All other measurements are based on your waistline.

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There are 3 comments for this article
  1. Helena A. at 10:38 am

    Hi!
    Great refashion! We think alike! When I saw the picture of the dress I immediatly thought that it would work better separated!!! 😀
    I love the skirt! So beautiful!
    Kisses from Portugal!

  2. Pingback: Autumn 2015 Skirt Awards - Skirt Fixation
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