Today’s tutorial is a special one! I’m going to make over a school dress for Do It In A Dress!

Here’s my finished skirt/shirt set:



And here’s the original dress:



Bit of a change yes? ^_^


20-School-Dress-Make-OverBefore we get into the full tutorial let’s have a look at what Do It In A Dress is actually all about.

According to the One Girl website, girls in Sierra Leone are more likely to be sexually assaulted than they are to attend high school. There are so many things wrong with that and as a woman in a first world county, basic educational rights are something that I took for granted.

The Do It In A Dress challenge is all about raising $300 to send a girl in Sierra Leone to school. You can sign up to do challenges in October wearing your dress or donate to someone else doing the challenge.

You can visit the Do It In A Dress website or the One Girl website to learn more. You can buy your own dress just like mine in their shop here too.

So let’s get into what you can do with an old school dress!

You can use any school dress for this but I ordered a larger size from the Do It In A Dress website so I had lots of fabric to work with.



I think I was fairly luck in terms of school uniforms, I lived in a very warm climate growing up and so we had loose shirt/skirt combinations in blue. The skirts were knee length and actually super comfortable and I kept mine for years after graduation to just wear around the house!

The goal of this make over was to see whether I could turn a generic school dress into something which I would still want to wear today. Recycling! I decided the most versatile way to use the dress would be as a shirt/skirt combination. I know, technically it’s no longer doing it in a dress but it makes it much more usable.

First step, turn the dress inside out and put it on.

Measure where you want the shirt to end around the waist and put a pin in. Make sure to leave enough room for hems! Next, pin down each side to make it more form fitting and add 2 darts to the under-bust to give definition.


Take the dress off and lay it out flat to work. Cut off the bottom of the dress to separate it into skirt/shirt. There was a big sticker on the back of mine with the website information so I cut around it.


So inside out you will have something like this:



The sleeves were still looking pretty ridiculous so cut them off at the seam and remove the white cuffs. We are going to attach the cuff back to the shoulders to make mini sleeves.

Cut the extra fabric away from the side seams along your pins. Again, make sure you leave enough fabric there to sew it back together again!



Flatten the shirt out so you can easily pin the white cuffs to the arm holes and stitch them in place.




Next, sew the darts down and resew the side seams.


It looks like a shirt again, yay!


Now it’s time to hem the bottom. I was lucky that I was able to cut the hem so it didn’t conflict with button placement but if you aren’t, you can just move them or add a zip/snap closures.

Shirt done!


Next the skirt!

The skirt area came with a little pocket which had a zip closure. Because the original dress was meant to be loose it didn’t require any other closures around the skirt. I decided to use to pocket zip as the actual skirt zip. To do this I just cut the pocket out and left the zip so it aligned with the top of the skirt. If you can’t do this with yours, you will need to include another way to get your skirt on and off.

Now, put the skirt on inside out and pin on either side to form an A-Line shape. I made mine very high waisted so it could be worn with the matching top or other things in my closet easily. Originally I wanted to make a pencil skirt but that would have meant cutting a slit in the back to allow movement and would have required more zip placement changes etc so I just went with this.

Once you’re happy with the fit, sew up the side seams and hem around the top as well.

Done!! Add some matching accessories and you’re ready to rock 😀


Quite the change and definitely more my current style!



Of course realistically I probably wouldn’t wear the two pieces together very often so the real test was weather they would go with the rest of my wardrobe?



I’d say that’s a resounding yes!




These kinds of make overs really are my favourite sewing projects!



As much as this project has been really fun to do, it’s important to remember the reasons behind it. Please visit the One Girl and Do It In A Dress websites to learn about how you can help a girl get an education.



Let me know if you take up the challenge, I’d love to see your school make overs!


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