I believe that creativity is a powerful skill that can be practiced and developed. I hope my blog inspires you to find your very own "creative lment". ~LM
I’ve now been “officially” sewing for about 7 months and I still LOVE it! I’ve made everything to table linens to doggie jackets, but still have yet to make something I might wear on a regular basis. About 4 months ago I started making a cotton pencil skirt using a store bought pattern, and got hung up on the zip installation. After several frustrating attempts, I decided to put the project away and revisit it again later. Determined to make something wearable for myself, I decided to take a different approach. Instead of hitting the fabric store and spending some good cash on new materials, I though it might be fun to try “refashioning” some clothes from our local GoodWill. I figured if it works out, I’ll have turned someone’s trash into a wearable treasure – and if it doesn’t, I’m only out a few bucks (and will feel a whole lot less guilty about wasting the materials). I figured it was worth a shot!
I scoured the racks at a local GoodWill and came across this lovely navy and white stripped nautical top in XL. I immediately thought that it would make a great casual skirt for the spring. Navy stripes will be a major trend! I felt so good only paying $5 for this top knowing that I would be turning it into a trendy, custom designed nautical skirt.
As a new sewer, I kept reading about the perels of working with stretchy knits and for those of us who do not have a seger, it sounds like it can be especially challenging. This fabic had a lot of stretch (2 way) and was nice and thick. Luckily, my machine had no problem with it. I first cut off the unneeded bits, the arms and then the top, to create a rectangle of fabic.
Then, I took an existing skirt and placed it over top of the retangle. I used a smaller (tighter fitting) skirt as the template – since I knew the material I was working with had tons of stretch (and I was looking for something a little more form fitting).
I trimmed the sides about 3/4″ from the sample skirt, giving me some seam allowance. I didn’t strive to cut this perfect since I was just trying to have some fun :) I eye balled it and it worked perfectly!
Once I did this, I turned the skirt pieces (now two separate pieces) so that they were right sides facing inwards. Then I pinned the sides together (making sure to align the stripes) and sewed the two side seams closed. Note: be sure to sew all the way up to the top of the material on both sides as best you can. I accidentally did not sew it closed all the way, and when I went to attach the waist band, it created a hole that I had to go back and hand stitch.
I did all this while trying not to make eye contact with my little Scottish Fold, Baxter, as I realized the project was cutting into his regularly scheduled cuddle time. He’s being very patient, isn’t he?
At this point, I still had the original hem on the bottom edge of the skirt and I liked the length where it was so no more work needed there. I tried the skirt on to test the fit and found that the back of the skirt was fishtailing on the bottom (back) of the skirt. To correct this, I just adjusted (re-sewed) the side seams, starting around the middle of the skirt, tapering down to the bottom hem (in an effort to make the skirt tighter around my knees). This worked like a charm!
If my material weren’t so stretchy, I may have needed two (2) darts on the back of the skirt waistband so that it hugged my curves. In this case, the fabric was very stretchy so I didn’t bother.
I made the waist band by cutting the old shirt arms into 2 long strips of fabric. Note: the thicker the strips, the thicker the waist band. To gage how long your strips should be, measure the width of the top of your skirt, and 2 cut strips that are each about 1″ longer. Or eyeball it like I did :D I then folded the strips lengthwise (right side facing inwards) and ironed them.
Taking the 2 pieces (now unfolded) I then sewed them together (on the short end) making one very long thick strip. Then, I folded the (now one long piece) of material on to itself (right side facing inward), and sewed it along the long edge, making one long skinny tube. I then proceeded to turn the tube inside out – leaving me with a clean, finished waist band ready for attachment (the image on the bottom right shows the band before I turned it inside out).
Last step – attaching the waist band (with the waist band right side out). I pinned the waist band to the right side of the skirt, all the way around, starting with one of the side seams (you will want you band seam to match up with the seam of your skirt). Pin down the side of the band that was “ironed”, not the one with the thick seam; doing this will reduce bulk around your waist. If you have finished pinning and you have a little extra where the ends of the band, don’t worry, a little extra is good (you will trim it later). If you are finished pinning and you don’t have enough fabric to go around, note how much more length you need, then reattach the band, stretching it as you attach it (you will also want to stretch the band as you sew).
I then proceeded to sew the band on to the skirt, going all the way around until I got to the part where the ends join. I stopped here and then sewed the ends of the band together. Then I finished connecting the band to the skirt. You can either flip the band up or fold it down, yoga band style – it’s your choice!
At the end of the project, there wasn’t much scrap left!
This gave me simple, non-gathered skirt that will be on trend for spring/summer – and it only cost me $5!!! I cannot wait to make a ton of these for our upcoming trips.