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Saturday, 31 May 2014

How to ... improvise a skirt

When I just started dressmaking, I could only justify to buy remnants. So I ended up with a lot of beautiful fabric, unsure of what to do with them. One of the remnants is a turquoise polycotton with yellow polka dots, about 130 x 115 cm. Perfect for a half circle skirt, or so I thought. It turned out that my skirt will be somewhere closer to a 3/8 skirt.

I started with the pattern Barbara helped me to make. I drew the circles, one for the waist and one for the hem. Since I did not have enough fabric, the one for the lower hem - of course - did not fit onto the fabric. My idea was to place the pattern right in the middle of the fabric so that the pattern could be easily altered. I can't stress enough how important it is that nothing from the waist circle must be cut off since that's the only part of a circle skirt which has to be fitted. I then connected the outer waist circle with the most outer point of the hem circle and made sure I left enough for the seam allowance. It should be a straight line.

I then stitched together the side seams and tried it on. It fits perfectly and I was so enthusiastic that I cut the fabric along the side seam. In my enthusiasm, I only forgot that I wanted to insert a zipper on one side and hence did not leave enough fabric to actually be able to do it. It was a big mistake (first time ever!) and I hope I learned for the future. After the shock, I decided to make my skirt a little bit shorter and put in an elastic band.

An unexpected hint from a friend to add pockets as they are quite handy to have lead to me finding this post with the "top 10" of pockets. It has a lot of ideas and is a very interesting read with a lot of links. For this fabric, I decided for in-seam pockets. I found this post clearer than the others but it's definitely worthwhile to read through the other posts as well. Since it is very well explained how you can add pockets in those blog posts, I take the shortcut and ask to read those if interested.

Once finished the pockets (I had to do them twice) the only thing left was the waist hem and the elastic band. I went for the most simple of options, zigzagged the edge and folded it over once to insert an elastic band.

Et voila:


  1. Excellent, that's a great skirt! Brilliant way of using this fabric, I wouldn't have thought you would have enough? Wow.
    I really like that you changed to an elastic when putting in the zipper didn't work any more. I think it's great to make mistakes: you learn so much more from them!
    Lovely skirt!

  2. I have only just manged to start catching up on things since I went away to Devon so this is a late response. The shirt looks good, full marks for persevering in the face of obstacles. Love the pocket ideas too.


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