A few days ago I told you about how I’ve recently gone through my wardrobe and given away (and thrown out) a lot of things that I don’t wear anymore. Well this is a dress that survived the cull. But only just.
This dress was super cheap and I bought it because I needed something striped to wear to a fancy dress party. I bought it on my lunch hour and as a result it was a rushed decision. As you can see form the photo above, it’s pretty short. It’s very stretchy too so it’s super tight. In fact, I probably should have bought a bigger size! I feel so self-conscious in it that I decided against posting a photo of me wearing it. I’m not really into the whole bodycon dress look. I don’t mind a form fitting dress if it’s structured and preferably boned, but I don’t really like tight stretchy dresses. They make me feel a bit uncomfortable and don’t leave enough to the imagination for my taste. On top of that, it doesn’t fit quite right around the shoulders.
So why did I keep the dress? I really like the stripes! And I think that I could handle it if it was just a skirt, not a full dress (which would also eliminate the shoulder problem). It’s pretty simple to turn a dress like this into a skirt, so if you find yourself in a similar dilemma, here’s what to do:
Work out where you want the skirt to sit around the waist. I want mine to sit fairly high, on my natural waistline for two reasons: if I cut it lower on my hips it would likely dig in and look unflattering (because it’s so tight), and/or it would ride up higher around my waist making it even shorter. Gasp!
You will need a wide twin needle, a safety pin and some elastic to go around your waist. I’m using one that is 12 mm (1/2”) wide. Try on the dress, mark with a pin or chalk where you want the waist to finish then take the dress off. Add mark up another 2.5 cm (1”) above where you want the skirt to finish and mark this point evenly all around the skirt (it’s easy if you can follow a stripe, like I am doing). The extra 2.5 cm (1″) will allow you to fold over a casing to hold the elastic.
Cut along this line you have marked (image 1). If you have an overlocker you can overlock the top edge to make it really neat, but don’t worry if you don’t have one as knit fabrics don’t usually fray (image 2). Fold down the 2.5 cm casing towards the inside of the skirt and iron it flat (image 3). From the outside (right side) of the skirt, pin around the top edge making sure you catch the casing on the underneath side (image 4). Try to line up your pins about 3-4 mm from the cut edge.
I think the best way of sewing this is with a twin needle as it will allow for some stretch as the skirt is pulled on and off. If you can’t find a twin needle, that’s okay, you could use a zig-zag stitch or a straight stitch instead. Keep in mind though, that a straight stitch will not stretch so the threads may snap if the skirt is stretched a lot when being pulled on or off. If you don’t have a sewing machine, you could probably sew down the casing by hand, but make sure you don’t pull the stitching too tight or you’ll have the same problem as if using a straight machine stitch.
Twin needles are very easy to use; you just insert it into your machine like you would with any other needle. Thread your machine with two spools of thread instead of one, thread both needles and you’re ready to go. Starting at one of the side seams, sew around the top edge where you’ve pinned close to the cut edge. You will be sewing from the outside and won’t be able to see the cut edge lying underneath, but if you’ve pinned accurately, you can just line up the pins with the centre of your presser foot as you sew (image 5). Sew all the way around until you’re about 2.5 cm away from where you started. You need to leave this gap to insert the elastic. Notice that you are sewing far enough away from the folded edge to allow room for the elastic once it’s inserted (image 6).
Wrap the elastic around your waist where the skirt will sit. Make sure it’s sitting comfortably, add 1 cm for overlap and cut it to this length. To insert the elastic, attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic and poke it into the casing through the gap you left open (image 7). Push the safety pin all the way around the casing, making sure the other end doesn’t get lost in there.
Once you’ve gone all the way around, remove the safety pin, overlap the ends of the elastic by 1 cm and stitch together securely by hand or machine (image 8). Ease this bit back into the casing and stitch the gap closed. Voila the skirt is finished. I’ll be pairing it with looser fitting tops to balance out the tightness of the skirt.
As you can see it’s still pretty short, but it was even shorter as a dress! I’ll have to do a proper outfit post featuring the new skirt soon!
© 2011, Angela. All rights reserved. On reposting any images contained herein you must provide link to original post. Please don’t repost entire posts without my permission.