refashion · sewing · Tutorials

Fashion Revolution Week & Simple Dress to Midi Skirt Refashion

It’s Fashion Revolution Week! This is a very important week, and as a refashioner /lover of the planet, this week is a chance for me to bring even more awareness to a cause close to my heart. If you’ve been following this blog for some time, you’ll have seen my posts in previous years about Fashion Revolution. But for those who are new here, or somehow stumbled upon this post – I would love to share what Fashion Revolution is!

Fashion Revolution.org explains it best:

On the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, which killed 1,138 people and injured many more in 2013, we encourage millions of people to come together to campaign for systemic change in the fashion industry.

We are living in a climate emergency and the fashion & textiles sector is one of the most polluting and wasteful industries. The industry continues to lack transparency, with widespread exploitation of people working in the supply chain. Never before have there been this many people on the planet in slavery, and fashion is a key driver of this reality. Brands and retailers are still not taking enough responsibility for the pay and working conditions in their factories, the environmental impacts of the materials they use or how the products they make affect the health of people, animals and our living planet. 

If the fashion industry is so horrible, why do we still love shopping and getting new clothes? It’s so easy to ignore something that isn’t directly affecting our daily lives. But if we know what is wrong with the clothing industry, why can’t we do something about it? As a consumer, there are a few things you can do: ask your favorite brands who made your clothes and how. Hold them responsible for their impact, and if they don’t have a good answer or plan on changing – find an alternative.

I am fortunate to have a passion for sewing that has helped me to find alternatives to shopping fast fashion, and with second-hand shopping gaining momentum, it is now easier than ever to say “no” to buying new, unsustainable fashion. This week I’m talking about alternatives in the fashion & sewing industry, ways to be more sustainable in every day life, and sharing some new refashions. One of the most important things to remember about your sustainable journey is that it isn’t about being perfect. Change doesn’t happen overnight, and taking time to make little changes can be more impactful than diving straight in. My wardrobe still isn’t 100% sustainable, and probably won’t be for a few years, but I’m doing what I can at my own pace. World changers aren’t here to judge, we are hear to encourage and inform.

Why do I care about Fashion Revolution? I’ve been part of the world of fashion since I was a child, playing with paper dolls and creating new clothes for them. I’ve dreamed of being a designer, owning a fashion house and making several new lines a year. I’ve envisioned seeing my clothes on people walking down the street, and in shop windows. I’ve always known I was meant to be in the world of fashion, but when I started to really learn about the industry, my dreams started to blur.

I learned about the horrible working conditions, and it was a complete eye opener. A world that I loved had just started crumbling around me – the realities of what my dream meant to others and the planet started setting in and I believed I wasn’t meant for this industry. And I was right. I’m not meant for the traditional fashion industry. I’m meant for this new industry that is forming. One that cares about employees and working conditions, fair pay and materials used, sustainability and inclusivity.

My love for clothing hasn’t changed, but I no longer desire to have my own clothing company. Now, I dream about encouraging others to create. One of the best alternatives to shopping fast fashion is to take a second look at the items already in your wardrobe- and if you sew, you’ll have a lot more opportunity to love your garments over and over!  This week I’m transforming a few pieces that have been sitting in my closet into something new for me to re-love.

Fashion Revolution Week: Dress to Midi Skirt Refashion - Trish Stitched

The first piece up is an Aeropostle dress I thrifted quite a few months ago. I originally bought this dress to wear as-is, but after washing it and trying it on, it was clear the top was too tight for me. The underarms were too high and cut into my armpits, and there were a few stains along the bodice. What drew me to the dress was the longer skirt, so that’s the part I wanted to keep! It didn’t take long to turn this dress into a cute midi skirt for spring/summer.

Fashion Revolution Week: Dress to Midi Skirt Refashion - Trish StitchedFashion Revolution Week: Dress to Midi Skirt Refashion - Trish StitchedFashion Revolution Week: Dress to Midi Skirt Refashion - Trish StitchedFashion Revolution Week: Dress to Midi Skirt Refashion - Trish Stitched

There’s a short video for this piece, but a few written instructions as well. This is for a skirt with front buttons but can be done with a zippered dress as well. With a zipper, you may have to remove and re-install the zipper.

  1. Measure waist to midi length (or the length you would like your skirt to hit) and add 1/2″. Starting your measurement from the bottom of the dress, measure and cut that length on your piece. This way you will get to keep your hem in tact and save a step! My measurement came to 29.5″.
  2. If you are raising the waist of your dress, you may need to take out some extra fabric. I took out 8″ total on my new skirt from the back seam. Starting at the waistline and tapering down to the seamline.
  3. Using the excess material from the bodice of your dress, make a waistband. I wanted a small waistband so mine was 2″ x the length of my waist (+2″ for seam allowance) Add lightweight interfacing to waistband.
  4. Stitch the waistband to the skirt, right sides together with a 1/2″ seam allowance.
  5. Fold the other raw edge of waistband in, then fold waistband in half with wrong sides together, enclosing the raw edges. Topstitch waistband.
  6. I added a hook and eye to the very top of my waistband, but if you have a zipper, there will be no need.

I wanted the front of my skirt to have a clean look with no gathering, but I will be going in and adding elastic to the back, as I tried my skirt on the next day and it wasn’t as secure (thanks to the short detox I’m doing!). Adding a little bit of elastic on the back will help with fit.

Fashion Revolution Week: Dress to Midi Skirt Refashion - Trish StitchedFashion Revolution Week: Dress to Midi Skirt Refashion - Trish Stitched

I’ve wanted a midi skirt in my wardrobe for a long time, but never thought it was right for my short body. Being able to try the style with a second hand piece showed me I can rock and LOVE how midi’s look on me. I am so excited to wear this piece with sneakers and tees, and also dress it up with heels like I did here. It’s going to be a perfect piece for summer in my sewing studio when I want something light and airy to wear.

Fashion Revolution Week: Dress to Midi Skirt Refashion - Trish StitchedFashion Revolution Week: Dress to Midi Skirt Refashion - Trish Stitched

And how cute is that print and those buttons?! I hope you’ll join me along for the rest of the week and ask your favorite brands who made your clothes!

For more info and ways to get involved, visit FashionRevolution.org

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