Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How to Redeem a Hopeless Skirt

Meet one of my ex-choir skirts.
This is the one whose zipper broke on the day of a choir concert and was promptly relegated to that great closet in the sky—or in the case of most of my retired clothes, the "Project Box." I couldn't bear to let this twice-worn article of clothing go to waste, so I decided to convert it from a long skirt to a short skirt.

Today's post will walk you through the steps of doing it!

I'm sorry the photo is so indistinct. Who knew shooting the details of black fabric could be such a challenge!? In fact, all of my photos came out so terribly, that I will not be including them in the step-by-step, so I'll try to give detailed directions instead.

Since I like my skirts fluffy and twirly, and since the top is where the broken zipper is, we are going to discard the top two tiers and make this into a 3-tiered, above-the-knee skirt, tied with a drawstring.

If you strain your eyes, you might be able to see that this skirt is made of 5 tiers of gradually increasing fullness, and the borders between tiers are bands of crocheted fabric. Underneath is a plain black liner.

1. Take a pair of scissors and cut off the top two tiers, just above the crocheted band. Make sure you cut the liner at about the same level. Discard the top section.

2. Now you should have two wide bands of fabric: the outer layer and the liner inside that. Turn the outer layer inside out and put it back where it was, surrounding the liner. The newly cut edges should be right next to each other, and the outside surfaces should be facing each other. Sew a seam along the cut edges (You should be sewing through the top of the crocheted band on the outer layer), attaching the liner back to the outer layer.

3. Turn the skirt right side out again, so the liner is inside and the outer layer is outside with its outer surface facing out. You should now see a nice clean seam at the top of the skirt. We are going to create a waistband by making a "tunnel" between the liner and outer layer. So make sure the top seam is at the exact top of the skirt, and then sew another seam through both layers, this time at the bottom of the crocheted band.

4. Now we are going to create the drawstring. At first, I tried to make the drawstring out of some of the discarded pieces of the skirt, but it didn't end up long enough. A ribbon is probably better anyway because it's more slippery and won't make your waistband bunch up in spots. Cut one a few inches longer than the actual waist circumference of the skirt. I chose a kind of murky grey one that I'd had sitting around for a while. It used to be a pale green, but I had attempted to color it black.  Style Tip  If you're thinking about using calligraphy ink to dye any of your clothing items, please stop. It never works out.

5. For this step, you will need a ribbon threader or "bodkin," which I actually have a picture of! You probably won't be able to find one for 10 cents any more, but I'm sure you can find something. Put one end of the ribbon through the eye of the threader, and then poke the threader through the crocheted band, into the tunnel we created in the last step. Push the ribbon all the way through the tunnel, and when the threader's tip has almost reached the opening where the tail of the ribbon is sticking out, push it back out through the crocheted band. There should be less than an inch of space between the two ribbon openings.

6. Adjust the gathers around the ribbon so they are evenly dispersed around the waistband.

You're finished! Not difficult at all!

I wore this skirt to work with a grey top and black shoes. The silver of the ribbon clashed with the grey of the top, so I tucked the ribbon into the waistband.

Wearing all blacks and greys gives me the grand opportunity to wear my black cat jewelry, which I did with abandon. On the whole, I like the effect. In fact, now that I have an above-the knee black skirt, I think I'm going to get rid of that other black layered skirt (see Wednesday in this post), since I never really liked the way it looked on me.

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