Thursday, October 23, 2014

Revamped: Black and White Skirt

From my pile of garments that I got at the fantastic estate sale I went to in August, I selected a black and white skirt to alter. It was a dry clean only garment that lacked a fabric content label (but it may be wool or at least in part); I hand washed the skirt and afterwards saw that it had shrunk. The lining of the skirt could be seen peeking out from under the hem of the skirt. Luckily I was tearing up the skirt, and as long as it didn’t shrink again in the future, I didn’t care about this shrinkage.

I loved the fabric but hated the skirt design. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of the skirt in its entirety; just the top portion of it can be seen in the above photo. The worst part about the skirt was the four pleats in the front—it’s just plain wrong. I think it would make just about any woman look like she has huge hips. The length of the skirt was about mid-shin; it was likely meant to be a loose pencil skirt with a slit in the back. Basically, it was an incredibly unflattering skirt.

My first step was tearing up the black and white skirt. I ended up cutting off the top section, below the pleats, because I didn’t want to deal with those pleats. I undid all the seams (including the zipper) because I had to take out the lining as well. So it took a bit of time.

Once the skirt fabric was taken apart, I used a skirt pattern (that was actually the skirt portion of a pencil dress) to cut the fabric down and add some darts. I sewed the zipper in and then sewed the sides together. [Pause.] I admit, I’m terrible with using measurements to my advantage, so I just sewed the sides together (through trial and error) until it looked right to me. I repeated this process for the lining. And then I attached the lining to the skirt at the top and around the zipper.

I wanted to have a waistband because I tend to prefer skirts with one. I didn’t want to use the fabric that my skirt was made of because I thought it would look too busy. I decided to use fabric from the pile of clothes my mom gave me. I selected a black wool jacket as my fabric. I hand washed it before I tore it up. Although I didn’t like the style of the jacket, as I took it apart, I could appreciate its craftsmanship—it was well made. [Pause.] I wish I could sew like that.

I used a slightly curved waistband from a skirt pattern because I thought it would fit better (since when I use a simple rectangle strip of fabric for my waistband, I’ll often have a bit of a gap, which I find annoying). I did my best to align the seams of the waistband to the skirt seams; this took me longer than I anticipated, as I messed up the alignment a couple of times. [Sigh.] The last step was hemming the skirt.

I’ve made a couple of blouses sleeveless, but I kept the basic integrity of its design. This is the first garment I’ve really revamped, breaking it entirely down before building it up anew. I took my time with it; one weekend I tore the skirt up; a second weekend I sewed the skirt section; a third weekend I added the waistband and hemmed it. There was no rush (especially since the weather wasn’t quite cool enough to wear it yet). I was pretty happy when I finished. Although I can see its flaws, I’m overall satisfied with this skirt. At least it looks better to me than it was before; it’s wearable.

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