Thursday, July 18, 2013

My DIY midi skirt makeover

Here's a summer thrift store skirt rescue. With disclaimers.

I liked this skirt for the minty blue color and lightweight  fabric. But it was a size 3X.

I tried a new technique for taking in the sides. It turns out that taking in the sides of a skirt is remarkably difficult. I thought it was just me but a professional seamstress confirmed that it is indeed hard.

The seams of a skirt are curved, especially around the waist and hips, and if you curve wrongly, the whole thing looks bad. If you are me, you keep pinning and repinning to get a fit to the point that a $1 skirt can have $50 of labor invested if you paid yourself a buck an hour.

My new workaround is to use the manufacturer's seam as a guide. This works best for a somewhat flowy skirt and is easiest with an unlined skirt.

Try the skirt on and pinch at the waist where it would fit. Measure the excess. Divide by half. (See this article for more details.)

Turn the skirt inside out. Measure in by the number calculated above and mark with a pin. Continue down the seam line, measuring the same distance and marking. Do the same on the other side.

Try the skirt on to verify the fit is OK.  Then mark the pin line with washable marker. Sew along your line. Trim the excess seam allowance. Done.

For being a quick job, it didn't turn out too bad.

Now for the disclaimer. I choose poorly with my skirt, first with size. When altering down so many sizes, your end product isn't going to look quite right. For one thing, the darts will be in a weird place. My second bad choice was elastic. The elastic waistband in the back of my skirt totally messed up my simplified system.

Trust me on this one: Elastic is evil.


  1. Stephanie @ henry happenedJuly 22, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    I would've never had the patience to work on something that much, especially since it involves sewing, but I do love how it turned out!

    1. Samantha BaldwinJuly 22, 2013 at 11:34 AM

      Thanks so much. I've about given up on refashions. A LOT of work. Sometimes it's just better to wait for your size to show up.

  • Thanks for the detailed tute! The finished skirt doesn't look that bad at all...only a total sewing/patternmaking nerd (like you or me!;-) would notice that the darts are *slightly* in the wrong place...most people wouldn't be able to tell! I love the color too!

  • The skirt is really pretty, I probably would have picked it up too, especially for a $1!
    Ugh, how annoying about refashioning it, Carly is right, someone who didn't sew would never notice and I didn't until you pointed it out :)

  • Linda {Calling it Home}August 2, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    You did a great job, and your tip about going down so many sizes is great. By the way, I tried to reply back to you but you don't have an email address in your profile. You are a 'no-reply' here is how to fix it

    1. Samantha BaldwinAugust 5, 2013 at 10:12 AM

      Thanks so much Linda. I had no idea about the no reply. I "think" I fixed it but Google Plus is so confusing. Sort of regret switching to it.