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DIY Shift Dress

Sewing a stylish shift dress is surprisingly simple with this how-to from Summer Phoenix and Ruby Canner, owners of the Some Odd Rubies vintage store.




Resources: Singer 4423 Heavy Duty sewing machines are available at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores or Amazon.


  • Long secondhand skirt with elastic waist
  • Ruler
  • Disappearing fabric marker or pencil
  • Scissors or rotary cutter
  • Seam ripper or small, sharp scissors
  • Sewing machine threaded with coordinating thread
  • 3-4 yards of coordinating ribbon
  • Safety pin


  1. Step 1

    Cut elastic waist from skirt. Lay skirt flat, and cut top edge with scissors or a rotary cutter to make even.

  2. Step 2

    Measure 1 1/2 inches from top raw edge and draw a line across skirt.

  3. Step 3

    With a seam ripper or small pair of sharp scissors, open side seams 10 inches down from drawn line (this will create a 9-inch armhole).

  4. Step 4

    Finish opened seam edges with a machine-sewn baby hem.

  5. Step 5

    On one side of skirt, fold top raw edge down one half inch, then another half inch. Pin in place. Machine-sew across skirt, along bottom edge of folded "tunnel." Repeat on other side of skirt.

  6. Step 6

    Attach a safety pin to lengths of ribbon and thread through the tunnels you have created on both sides of top of dress.

  7. Step 7

    If desired, tie a length of the same ribbon around middle of dress to create a belt.

The Martha Stewart Show, September 2010



Reviews (3)

  • ingamartin 20 Jul, 2012

    I like this dress. White dresses are my favorite ;)

  • abracadeborah999 24 Jun, 2011

    Actually,it's Deborah Buck,Steven's wife,LOL! I'm sure he'd like it too,tho'*

  • nanapama 16 May, 2011

    This dress is adorable. I love the idea of recycling an old skirt into something so cute. After seeing it made on the show, I also think I'm going to buy some cute fabric and make a bunch. Love it!