DIY skirt tailoring

Hey stitchers,


Blast from the past, this blog post was one of my first back from 2013, and is still one of the most common alterations I make in the sewing room. Really, its not just confined to taking a hem in or up, if you want to redesign a skirt into a t-shirt or a dress into a bottom and/or top – the principle is pretty similar really.


This is my Grandma – and she is awesome. She’s 87, and still wants to ride a bike – even though she flipped over the handle bars not too long ago.

As Gma knows I sew, when I was visiting her place a few years ago, she pulled out this old skirt – it was 20 years old and had never been worn! I revamped it that weekend visiting her and have worn it so many times of the past two years since.

Gma skirt final

This is when I realised how a  – what seems like out-dated skirt – can be tailored in 10 mins to be one of my favourite pieces.
When I found this beauty below at an op-shop recently – I knew I was going to do exactly the same thing. Take it in and up! Easy.
At first I thought it might work just the way it is but when my bf told me the skirt reminded him of his mum, I knew then that some alterations must be made.

Like, immediately.

Now, I’m not one to change my style for anyone let alone a boy, but no way do I want to traumatize him forever by the clothes that I wear, plus I felt the length wasn’t doing anything for my chicken legs – so a quick hem up and we have reached our happy medium.



 There is a few simple tricks to refitting a skirt to your size:
  1. Take it in
  2. Hem it up


Taking it in:

  • Unpick 2 inches either side of each seam and open the waistband up.
  • Pin the skirt inside out to your size and sew the side in.


  • Close the waistband, and sew it back together.
  • Alter both sides of your skirt to keep it even and ensure the back zip stays in the middle.


Taking up the hem:

Firstly, work out the length you want. Don’t be shy to try a few lengths, you might be suprised! Having a second opinion (or even better – someone toe help you adjust the length) is helpful too.

  • Put the skirt on and decide roughly the length you want, and pin.
  • Take it off, pin up the excess material across the front length of the skirt (you can cut off the skirt a few inches below where you think you want the hem so it’s easier to pin it up).
  • Repeat these steps until you find the perfect length.


  • Once you have decided, measure from the waistband down to the length you want – and then add an inch for the hem. Depending on the material – hemming can be difficult, so just measure and double check the length a few times. As you can see below – I pinned a line to cut and also where I was to hem.

Photoshop measuring


Once you cut the bottom off, use an over locker (or zigzag on your machine so it won’t fray). Then sew it up to the desired length.



And you’re DONE! These alterations can be done on any skirt in your wardrobe. If you don’t wear it anymore, what do you have to lose? Give it a go.


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