Sewing, Refashioning, Repurposing & Thrifting Through Life

Billabong Dress to Skirt Refashion

on May 5, 2014

I am midway through posting a series of 3 refashions that have everything to do with buying clothes that don’t work for my body, not wearing them and then chopping them into something else. That’s the story with this dress.  I bought it at West 49 a couple of summers ago while out shopping with my teenage kids. Note: teenagers do not always tell you when something doesn’t look right on you.

I almost don’t want to post this because I cannot stand the way I look in this dress. This was a trying summer for me. There was a lot going on in my life. When there’s a lot going on with me, I develop a huge problem. I cannot stop stuffing myself with all forms of junk food.

Here it goes.


The problem dress: bodice too tight, length way too short, straps too thin.

OK, so there it is. I cannot put into words what it feels like to look at this. There is so much wrong with this dress on me. I really liked the print though and I wanted it because I thought it was young and hip so I bought it anyway. Luckily I only ever wore it at the beach. I was not strolling around the mall in this.

It is amazing how much refashioning and really paying attention to fabrics and drape and body shape has taught me. I know what looks good on me and what doesn’t. I know I’ll never be able to pull off certain styles and that’s okay. We’re all different.

BUT…since we’re talking refashioning here, I couldn’t just throw it away or donate it just yet. I wanted to give it one more chance. I knew it had to become a skirt. I was looking for a simple restyle.


Step 1: Cut the bodice from the skirt. I thought I could use part of the elasticized upper portion as a waistband. The bodice (or most of it anyway) had elasticized thread running through it and was stretchy enough to be a waistband.


Mark and cut the new waistband.

My idea wasn’t going to work since the bust area was not made up with elasticized thread. The whole thing would’ve looked wonky, so onto plan B: cut the bodice completely from the elastic waistband. I couldn’t unpick here as the elastic was stitched directly to the fabric. I knew I was going to end up with a raw edge. I don’t have a picture of what I did next. I wanted a way to cover whatever bits of fabric would be visible after I cut the bodice from the bottom.

I remembered I had a stretchy black belt I wasn’t wearing so I stitched it right onto the waist to cover the raw edges. I had to put the skirt on and pin the belt while the elastic was stretched, otherwise I wouldn’t know how much to pull to get it to line up properly.

I ended up with this.


Elasticized belt stitched right onto the skirt.

I hand stitched the belt all the way around by hand. It was a little tough to do near the buckle as it’s made from an imitation leather and so thicker and more difficult to stitch. I did the buckle up and continued stitching. This way, when I put the skirt on, the belt is already done up.

It’s still not the perfect look for me but I think you can see the difference in the way my waist and hips look in each of the before and after pictures. Quite a difference.

This is probably still not a look I will wear out but it’ll be



great for enjoying cool drinks on the deck!




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