How I Easily Altered a Too Small Peppermint Swirl Dress by Converting It Into a Skirt

How I Easily Altered a Too Small Peppermint Swirl Dress by Converting It Into a Skirt

Over the last year my eldest daughter, to her dismay, grew out of all of her Peppermint Swirl Dresses. Although the dresses no longer fit I knew I wanted to allow her to keep wearing the skirt portion so I jumped onto the Candy Castle Patterns’ website and found a free tutorial on how to add a flat front elastic waistband to the skirt portion of the Peppermint Swirl Dress. As this tutorial assumed I was creating the skirt from scratch I decided to go ahead and post what I did when upcycling the dress since there were some deviations from the tutorial. If you’re interested in the original Peppermint Swirl Dress, from Candy Castle Patterns, you can check it out here.

Pinterest-geared image showing my post's title, two images, and, at the bottom, my main URL. The two images are stacked showing the dress with the bodice partially seam ripped from the skirt and, underneath it, the final skirt.

Since I was working with an already made peppermint swirl dress rather than making the skirt from scratch I knew I’d need to deviate from the first couple steps in the instructions before I could follow along with them. The instruction’s first step officially asked me to choose the Peppermint Swirl flounce size that was at least two sizes smaller than the size my child measures into. I ignored that and instead grabbed the largest of the dresses that Ada had grown out of figuring that was close enough as I had made it a year or two ago.

Rather than making the skirt fresh I then used my seam ripper to detach the skirt from the bodice and set the bodice aside for now. At this point I was grateful that there were only two seams attaching the two pieces as I had sewn them together with my sewing machine and then topstitched the seam down. By the time the bodice was free I knew I also needed to deal with the slit in the back of the skirt. I quickly scanned over the instructions again confirming that her skirt didn’t include the slit before coming up with a plan to patch it up.

Image shows the back of a peppermint swirl dress with a white LEGO inspired and decorated bodice, blue snaps, and the orange, blue, red, yellow, and purple skirt separating from it.
I started out by seam ripping the skirt off of the too small and a couple years old Peppermint Swirl dress. You can see this dress in it’s originality in this post here.

At this time Ada loved Wonder Woman so I quickly hopped online to confirm how her costume looked. One thing led to another and I instead decided to use Captain Marvel’s look to inspire Ada’s new skirt. I took tons of photos of this process so I decided to make this patch step it’s own post in case it can help you with your own garment. I will link to it here when it goes live.

While patching the slit in the skirt I ignored the top ragged edge, from where the seam was before, since that’s going to sewn into the new waistband. Once the sides and bottom of the patch were secured I went back to the instructions and followed along making a matching red waistband to go with the old skirt.

Image shows two red pieces of fabric on a blue faded ironing mat with an iron behind it.
I followed the instructions to determine Ada’s waistband measurements, cut out the fabric, and pressed it to get out the wrinkles.

I then altered the waistband’s side seam instructions to use a French seam so rather than sewing the two pieces together with the right sides facing using a half inch seam allowance I instead put the waistband together with the wrong sides facing together. I then sewed up the two sides with a quarter inch seam allowance, trimmed the seam allowance in half, pressed it to the side, turned the waistband around so the seams are folded the other way and are right sides together, pressed the new fold flat, and sewed the sides again with a quarter inch seam allowance so the original seam is hidden within. If you haven’t sewn a French seam before here’s a link to a WikiHow post with directions, photos, video snippets, and a comment section to go into much more detail.

Image shows the same ironing mat with the waistband pieces now clipped together with sewing clips.
I started by clipping the two side seams together with the wrong sides of the waistband facing one another.
Image shows the waistband with the rightmost seam being trimmed, with the scissors laying on the pressing mat, and the left seam facing up and already trimmed.
After sewing the sides together I used my fabric scissors to trim the seam allowance in half so it wouldn’t show through in the next step.
Image shows the waistband turned inside out showing the white interfacing on the inside front of the waistband. Either side shows a black threaded seam running up it.
After turning the waistband inside out, so the right sides are facing, I clipped the seam and sewed it down so that the original seam allowance is now trapped within the new seam allowance making either side of the waistband look pretty and more secure.

After the diversion of the waistband’s side seams I went back to the remaining instructions to once again follow along.

Image shows the waistband folded in half along it's length making a circle that only has one raw edge. There are several clips holding the raw edges together so the waistband doesn't unfold.
I continued making the waistband according to the pattern’s instructions.

Before starting the waistband I had added a Captain Marvel inspired patch over the skirt’s slit. As such I decided the back of the dress, where the slit was, should now be the front of the skirt. The tutorial has you only gather the front of the skirt as the rest of the waistband will be cinched with the elastic. Since the top of my skirt is differently sized than the tutorial expects and as I was lazy I instead decided where the side seams of the dress should be and then clipped it in portions so the skirt was cinched and I didn’t need to gather it. Once the skirt was fully attached to the waistband, via the clips, I then sewed it together.

Image shows the inside of the waistband clipped in sections with the skirt hiding behind it.
I divided the front of the waistband and the front of the skirt into sections and clipped each section together.
Image shows the inside of the skirt, showing the original slit in the middle, with clips all the way around cinching the skirt to the waistband.
I then took each of those sections and clipped each of them in half again and again until the skirt and waistband were securely clipped together all the way around.

I finished up the waistband according to the instructions and loved how the final skirt looked.

A Few Mistakes

I may have been rushing a bit as I wasn’t totally feeling the project. As such I made several rather silly mistakes. Figured I’d share them here to help you not make the same ones.

Image shows the top of the clipped together waistband with the front section serged together.
While sewing the waistband to the skirt the instructions had you leave the other raw edge of the waistband unattached so you can later hide the seam allowance with it. At one part I hadn’t realized the waistband had folded in and gotten in the way until after I had serged a section together. I had to stop, seam rip it open, separate the pieces, and resew both portions of that section of the waistband.
Image shows a small section of the skirt with the red waistband folded up. Below it you can see a crimp in the blue and orange swirls.
After sewing the waistband onto the skirt I realized one section of the skirt had been folded up causing a crimp below the waistband seam. It was a small sections so I decided to leave it as it was rather than seam rip and sew it properly.
Image shows the back top of the skirt showing the cinched in waistband, the swirls, and the red topstitching below the red band.
After finishing the waistband (by folding the other edge down, pinning it in place, topstitching it down, and adding the elastic) I realized that my top stitching wasn’t fully hidden by the red waistband as I had deviated into the swirls in a couple places. This happened as I had sewn this section with the inside of the skirt facing up so I could be sure that the elastic was trapped in the waistband but not sewn into it…. as had happened already once or twice previously with this skirt.

Looking back I wonder if most/all of this mistakes would’ve been solved by gathering the skirt properly and taking it slower. Anyway that’s what happened.

And with that the skirt was complete. I absolutely adored how it turned out.

The final skirt in all it's glory

Ada loved that the skirt fit her again! That said she hasn’t worn it that much since and I’ve kind of lost my sewjo recently so her other dresses are still sitting in a pile waiting to be decided on.

I hope this post helps you out whether you have a too small peppermint swirl dress you’re debating what to do with, have some other skirt you’re upcycling, or just planning ahead for a sew. The only issue with this is that I now have a Peppermint Swirl bodice sitting in one of my drawers as it seems wrong to just throw it out especially with all of those LEGO-inspired people and dinosaurs drawn onto it. If you have any idea how I should upcycle the bodice or if you have a different way to upcycle an outgrown Peppermint Swirl Dress feel free to share in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you and I really hope you’re doing great and having an awesome week!

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