Saturday, January 5, 2013

Skirt Revamp

What to do when it is 45 degrees (Celsius for those of you using non-metric measures) outside? The answer is, stay indoors and make a 45 minute skirt. I am going to share this makeover with you but it comes with a disclaimer. I am not much chop at following a pattern or ruling straight lines - when my kids were little and I wanted to make them something I just got them to lie on the fabric and cut around them (thank Heavens for stretch fabrics huh?!) - so my disclaimer is this - if you find a wanton disregard for the 'rules' of stitching or have a predisposition to OCD - read another blog now. This is messy, not-too-straight and possibly a little wasteful of fabric by not measuring ... If however you have adventure in your heart - read on...
(I should also mention that this really only takes 45 minutes if you don't stop for a cooling bevvie - or two ...)

First you need a cheap and daggy skirt from the oppie.

 I found a black one and a red one - all our op shops are having post-Xmas sales so these were only $1.50 each. I am going to re-do the red one first.

 It is classic late 80's fashion - well made but ugly - too long and frankly when you are under six feet tall a solid block of colour like that on your lower half can be a bit of a disaster ..

 Step 1.
I removed the lining. I did this because I loathe the feel of that stuff. It isn't a necessary step. I didn't unpick it - just cut it off as close to the waistline as possible.

Step 2.
I took a chunk off the bottom of the skirt to shorten it. Remember to allow for a hem - about 2cms extra will give you the chance to turn the hem over twice and topstitch for a neat finish.

Step 3.
Next open one of the side seams from the bottom of the skirt to about 2cms below the waist. Essentially we are going to make a fabric panel that will cover two thirds of the front of the skirt and will be attached by poking it into the side seam. This will all become clear. Trust me.

Step 4. and 5 and 6. (and 7!)
This is the fun part 'cos you get to fish around in your fabric stash and make some choices about what you want your skirt to look like.

I had this largish bit of vintage floral so decided that would be swell.

It did need a little something to tone it down a bit so I tried a blue patterned fabric (from an old skirt)

Just mess about with the fabrics until you get something you like ... This is it - my front panel is going to have these 3 fabrics. The overall panel needs to be a bit larger than what you want to end up with because there is hemming involved and also it will be fitting into the side seam of the skirt. You can eyeball this as you go along really because if it is too big you just trim it after.

Step 8.
Now we construct the panel. Pin and stitch contrasting bottom trim to main panel. Don't worry about measuring the width - just line up the two edges with right sides together and stitch away.

See - you can just cut the trim to size after it is stitched - I did warn you about my sloppy sewing habits so don't act all shocked ..

An iron is pretty handy about now because it is in fact a good idea to open this up and press it and the seam nice and flat. If you are going to top stitch this part for decorative effect - now is the time to do it .

Step 9.
Now you do the same thing for the other contrasting trim.

Stitch, trim to size. open and press. Topstitch if you like. This time you need to hem the edge ... that is the long edge that will NOT be going into the side seam of the skirt.

Step 10.
No photos of this bit I'm afraid but it is pretty easy - just hem the bottom and the top of the panel. I just turned the fabric over 1cm and then 1cm again and machine stitched. If you use contrasting thread this adds another decorative element.

Step 11.
Now you have a nice patched together panel that is decoratively stitched and hemmed on three sides. Position it on the skirt -remember  that unhemmed side has to go into the side seam so make sure to allow for that. Inevitably my panel ends up way larger than required so heaps of it gets shoved into the side seam and trimmed up.When you have your panel the way you like it, pin it to the front of the skirt. Use plenty of pins as this stops it from squidgeling about when you stitch up the seam.

Turn the skirt with the panel pinned in place, inside out and poke the unhemmed edge of your panel through the open side seam of the skirt. In the pic above all the fabric to the left is excess panel and will be trimmed away after stitching, Pin it well and stitch. For some reason that I do not understand, if you stitch from the bottom of the skirt to the waist it will turn out more even than if you stitch from top to bottom. Once you have stitched the three layers together (skirt, panel, skirt) you can trim off the excess. If you have an overlocker this would no doubt be an excellent time to use it.

Step 12.
Turn skirt right side out and you will now have a skirt with a panel flapping about on the front. You can secure it to the skirt with some nice buttons etc. I just run a line of stitching about 10cms across the top and down the side of the panel to secure it. This is because I never, ever, ever wear anything tucked in - a fact I attribute to the girl-bullies at High School who were merciless in their ridicule of me when I turned up with my Golden Breed T-shirt tucked into my high waisted Levi cords - perhaps that is a story for another time ... but it means that I like the front to be button bump free - hence the stitching. If you chopped off the bottom of the skirt to shorten it, don't forget to hem it now.

Step 13.
Voila! A much better version of itself don't you think? I am looking forward to teaming this up with leggings and a tee -not tucked in obviously ...

Hope you can make sense of all this! Happy stitching.

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