Thursday, August 1, 2019

How to take in a skirt in 20 seconds

I'm a huge fan of quick and dirty alterations, and it doesn't get any quicker than this one!

Of course, figuring out how to do it in the first place took a little trial and error, but once I got there, I learned a reliable technique for taking in a skirt at the waist, in 20 seconds. Really!

The skirt that I had to work with was a midi-length peasant skirt with a sheer layer and a liner. I tried taking it in my usual way, by just sewing parallel to an existing seam, but the liner kept getting in the way. And when I figured out how to take that pesky piece out of the equation, I found that my seam invariably got deformed thanks to all the tiers and gathers I was having to sew through.

Finally I decided a seam wasn't the right solution at all—instead, I needed to just add more gathers in strategic places! I bunched up the waistband in two places, tacked it closed, and I was done!

Here's a step-by-step tutorial:

1. Start by making sure you're using the right raw materials. This technique only works on a specific kind of skirt: a loose and flowy one with lots of fabric and lots of gathers.

2. Measure how much width you need to remove from the waist. Divide that number by the number of gathers you want to make. I made two gathers, one on each side of the back. About an inch of fabric per gather seems to work well; any more than that, and the fabric might start to pucker and bulge when worn. So if you need to remove more than about two inches of waistband, you may have to add more gathers.

3. Mark the center of each gather so that they are symmetrically spaced, then pinch the fabric around the center point. Each of my gathers needed to remove about 1 inch of width, so I pinched 1/2-inch away from the center point on each side. Right sides should be together!
4. Sew down where you pinched, the entire width of the waistband. Because my waistband was so narrow, I just started at the bottom edge, reversed to the top, and then sewed back down to the bottom to secure the stitching.

Oops, my gathers aren't positioned quite symmetrically!
And you're done! Maybe I exaggerate the simplicity a little (measuring and math can be a bear!), but at 10 seconds of actual sewing per gather, you can say that's only 20 seconds of work!

When finished, the gathers at the waistband just blend into all the other gathers forming the skirt, so they fit right in. Cover them with a shirt, and suddenly they're not noticeable at all! 
While the extra fabric does cause some slight bulging, it's in such a place that it just enhances my butt, and bigger butts are trendy right now, so that's a win in my book!  Not bad for a quick and dirty!

Now with my skirt riding high, I can wear it with all the extra-short vintage (turn of the millennium) tops I've been accumulating! 
With this particular skirt and top combo, I was feeling a little too blue, so I paired the outfit with some pink sandals, just for a change of color.

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