by | Op Shop Lookbook

I don’t know about you but I still can’t get enough of gingham, so when I found a vintage gingham maxi going for $3 at the Backyard Basement opshop in Withcott naturally I forked out the big bucks!

Only problem is I actually look ridiculous in maxi dresses because I’m a bit of a bean pole, so at first I tried wearing the dress open as a robe and then I had a brain wave…maximise the maxi by turning it into a short dress and use the leftover material to make a mini ruffle skirt!

I failed home ec at school and I had no pattern or real plan, I just winged it and by some Christmas miracle it actually worked out! I even documented the step by step process in case you felt like giving it a crack…

Thrifted a-line maxi dress (preferably with buttons down the middle)
Cotton that matches your fabric
Sewing machine
Tape measure


Try on the dress and measure where you could hem it up to turn it into a short dress AND still have enough material to make a mini that covers your hiney!

Chop off the skirt material and if you want to be cheeky like me cut above the last button and loop on the dress so you can use them to fasten your wrap around skirt!

Wrap the skirt around your waist with the loop end on your left hip, positioning the original darts from the dress so it sits right on the front, and trim any excess material off the other end to use for your ruffle piece…I made sure the under layer completely covered my front and still had enough to make the ruffle. Then unpick the button to pop back on later.

Fold, iron and double hem the top of the skirt and the side where you cut the fabric off for the ruffle piece.

Then make the ruffle piece with the leftover material….cut the fabric into two strips so you have a long enough ruffle piece once put together, and make sure all edges are hemmed except one long side.

If you want the ruffle piece to taper off at the bottom or top of the skirt make one of the pieces wider at one end. At one end my fabric strip was 11.5cm and tapered off to 5.5cm on the other piece. Also, make sure the ruffle piece isn’t too wide…it will droop unless it’s a tough textile fabric.

Before connecting the two pieces together, wide stitch (gathering stitch) on each piece’s unhemmed long edge about 5mm in from the edge. Make sure you don’t back tack (double back/reverse) like you normally would as you’ll be pulling on those threads to gather the fabric so it looks like a scrunchie from the 90s.

Straight stitch the two ruffle pieces together in the middle to make one long strip.

Then fold the right hand corner of the wrap skirt under from where the button loop is in a semi diagonal line, and pin on the ruffle piece wrong side up. Try the skirt on to make sure you’re happy with the line of the ruffle. I had to play around with this and reposition it a few times.

Double hem the diagonal line and then straight stitch the ruffle on slowly so you stay on track!

Wrap the skirt around you again and mark where the button should go so it sits firmly around your waist and hand stitch it on.

Optional…add a press stud on the right hip to connect the two layers of material so the under layer doesn’t slip down and peek out. I was a bit lazy and just used a safety pin to keep it in position though!

To make the dress, simply double hem the new edge. That’s the easy part!

Have you ever refashioned a garment? Share your DIY ideas with me in the comments below…I promise I won’t steal them! Haha.