How to Tailor a Pencil Skirt

I’m trying to use sewing to create wardrobe basics that will be versatile and classy, and last a long time. Being able to tailor clothes that I already have to fit me better helps me do this with less expense and less waste. I was gifted this skirt, so I thought it would be a great basic addition to my wardrobe, and an opportunity to show you how to tailor a pencil skirt!

How to Tailor a Pencil Skirt_ Sew Your Way to a Perfectly Fitted Wardrobe at stitchesandsunflowers.com

First, try it on.

Put the skirt on and pinch the sides at the waist to figure out how much the skirt needs to be taken in. I like to do this on both sides. Use pins to hold the alterations in place.How to Tailor a Pencil Skirt_ Sew Your Way to a Perfectly Fitted Wardrobe at stitchesandsunflowers.com

Mark the alterations.

Use some kind of fabric marker (as you can see, a white crayon works fine for dark fabrics) to mark where you’ll take in the skirt.

  • On the inside, mark the spot where the pinched fabric meets.

How to Tailor a Pencil Skirt Sew Your Way to a Perfectly Fitted Wardrobe at stitchesandsunflowers.com

  • Upin the skirt.
  • Take apart the lining and waistband.

How to Tailor a Pencil Skirt Sew Your Way to a Perfectly Fitted Wardrobe at stitchesandsunflowers.com

  • Measure how much you’ve taken in the skirt, and then mark that alteration all the way down all the side seams. +Pay attention to how your skirt is sewn together, you will try to match it as best you can when sewing it back up.

How to Tailor a Pencil Skirt Sew Your Way to a Perfectly Fitted Wardrobe at stitchesandsunflowers.com

How to Tailor a Pencil Skirt Sew Your Way to a Perfectly Fitted Wardrobe at stitchesandsunflowers.com

  • Unpick the hem about four inches on each side of the side seam.

How to Tailor a Pencil Skirt Sew Your Way to a Perfectly Fitted Wardrobe at stitchesandsunflowers.com How to Tailor a Pencil Skirt Sew Your Way to a Perfectly Fitted Wardrobe at stitchesandsunflowers.com

Sew the skirt:

Step one:

Sew all the side seams. Sew down the line that you’ve marked on all the side seams.

How to Tailor a Pencil Skirt Sew Your Way to a Perfectly Fitted Wardrobe at stitchesandsunflowers.com

Step two:

Sew the waistband back together. The way that you do this exactly will depend on how your skirt was put together. Pay attention to how it used to be sewn, and copy it as best you can.

  • First, I sewed the waistband to the main piece of the skirt.
  • Then I finished the edges of the main skirt.
  • I left re-attaching the facing for my next step.

Step three:

This is where it gets a little fuzzy. Bear with me! Remember that your skirt may look different than mine. Replace any topstitching. My skirt didn’t have real topstitching, but it stitched the waistband facing to the adjoining seam allowances.

  •  I pinned the seam allowances to the facing as shown below.

How to Tailor a Pencil Skirt Sew Your Way to a Perfectly Fitted Wardrobe at stitchesandsunflowers.com    How to Tailor a Pencil Skirt Sew Your Way to a Perfectly Fitted Wardrobe at stitchesandsunflowers.com

  • I  topstitched where the stitching had been before.
How to Tailor a Pencil Skirt Sew Your Way to a Perfectly Fitted Wardrobe at stitchesandsunflowers.com
Topstitching the facing to the seam allowance. There is no stitching on the outer waistband.
  • I then tacked the waistband facing down by stitching in the ditch.

+ Stitch in the Ditch is topstitching in the middle of an existing seam to hide your stitches.

 

How to Tailor a Pencil Skirt Sew Your Way to a Perfectly Fitted Wardrobe at stitchesandsunflowers.com
Stitching in the ditch to “topstitch” the facing down. The stitches are barely visible from the right side.

The sewing on this skirt was really beautiful quality! Taking apart a skirt like this is kind of like learning about biology through dissecting something. It is so fascinating and inspiring to me! Of course, then the sewing I use needs to be closer to that standard, which helps me stretch myself. I can’t sew as well as those pros yet, but practicing is what will get me there.

Step four:

Hem the skirt again. The lining of my skirt just had a simple rolled hem, so I could just sew that up on the machine. However, the outer shell of the skirt used a tailor’s hem. I chose to do the same to keep the skirt looking professional.

  • Sew a rolled hem in the lining.

How to Tailor a Pencil Skirt Sew Your Way to a Perfectly Fitted Wardrobe at stitchesandsunflowers.comtailor skirt 26

  • Hand stitch a tailored hem for the outer fabric.

 

Handstitch a Tailor's Hem (from How to Tailor a Pencil Skirt) stitchesandsunflowers.com (1)

 

+ Tip: When it comes down to tailoring a skirt so that it still looks professional, the best way is to copy the original sewing as much as possible. I hope these steps have helped you figure out your own skirt project!

How to Tailor a Pencil Skirt Sew Your Way to a Perfectly Fitted Wardrobe at stitchesandsunflowers.com

Congratulations on your newly tailored pencil skirt! You’re sewing your way to a beautifully fitted wardrobe.

There are more tutorials and recipes to see at Made by You Monday! Check them out here.

How to Tailor a Pencil Skirt Sew Your Way to a Perfectly Fitted Wardrobe at stitchesandsunflowers.com    

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outdated Skirt Refashion: Give New Life to Something Old

Today I’m giving you a tutorial for an outdated skirt refashion. While you may not have or be able to find exactly the same kind of skirt, this tutorial is meant to get your creative juices flowing, and teach you techniques you could apply to multiple types of skirts.

Outdated Skirt Refashion: Give New Life to Something Old |stitchesandsunflowers.

In the 1960s, my great-grandma was the mom to multiple teenage girls. Although they were a relatively humble farm family, she managed to dress her girls in fashionable sixties shift dresses. She did it by finding outdated dresses from the fifties with four yards worth of fabric in the skirt. She would take apart the dress and put it back together as a trendy shift dress.

Listening to my grandma tell this story fascinated and inspired me. What a fabulous use of resources and skill! This outdated skirt refashion embodies the same idea, although it’s a little simpler than altering a whole dress. While it does involve a fair amount of unpicking seams, it is worth it in the end to create a more professional look.

Materials:

Outdated (90s) skirt (mine had super poofy pleats in the front, plus it was too long)

That’s pretty much all the materials you need other than the usual thread, stich ripper, scissors, etc.

Step one:

Remove the front panels of fabric. Do this by unpicking the side seams and the waistband seams. By the time you’re done you should have completely taken the front piece (or in my case, two pieces) off of the skirt.

Outdated Skirt Refashion: Give New Life to Something Old |stitchesandsunflowers.    Outdated Skirt Refashion: Give New Life to Something Old |stitchesandsunflowers.

Step two:

I unpicked the pleats and flattened them out (to eliminate the poofyness). Then I pressed the fabric to really get rid of those pleats.

Step three:

Measure the front half of the waistband.

Outdated Skirt Refashion: Give New Life to Something Old |stitchesandsunflowers. Outdated Skirt Refashion: Give New Life to Something Old |stitchesandsunflowers.

  • Add an inch for seam allowances. Then lay your front piece of skirt down, mark the center, and mark where the width you measured ends.
  • Cut your skirt down to the width you measured. (I took the pockets off my skirt first , which gave me issues later, so make sure that if your pockets add width to the front of your skirt you leave them on while you cut the front piece. )*

Outdated Skirt Refashion: Give New Life to Something Old |stitchesandsunflowers.

Step four: This is how I reattached my pockets.

Outdated Skirt Refashion: Give New Life to Something Old |stitchesandsunflowers.

  • Pin or place the edge of the pocket (the one that used to be sewn to the front edge of the skirt) right sides together on the new edge of the front of the skirt.
  • Sew that seam, press, trim, fold back over and topstitch the same way it was topstitched before. I hadn’t cut the shape of my skirt perfectly, so I trimmed it to be straight here

update skirt 12Outdated Skirt Refashion: Give New Life to Something Old |stitchesandsunflowers.                                        Outdated Skirt Refashion: Give New Life to Something Old |stitchesandsunflowers.  Outdated Skirt Refashion: Give New Life to Something Old |stitchesandsunflowers.Outdated Skirt Refashion: Give New Life to Something Old |stitchesandsunflowers.

Step five:

Flip the pockets behind the front of the skirt. Now sew the side seams right sides together. Since there’s lots of layers I pinned them all together.

Outdated Skirt Refashion: Give New Life to Something Old |stitchesandsunflowers.

Step six:

Sandwich the top of the skirt front between both sides of the waistband and top stitch where the stitching used to be (this is where I had to fudge a little).

Outdated Skirt Refashion: Give New Life to Something Old |stitchesandsunflowers. Outdated Skirt Refashion: Give New Life to Something Old |stitchesandsunflowers.

Step seven: Hem the skirt in the updated length you would like.

Outdated Skirt Refashion: Give New Life to Something Old |stitchesandsunflowers. Outdated Skirt Refashion: Give New Life to Something Old |stitchesandsunflowers.

Outdated Skirt Refashion: Give New Life to Something Old |stitchesandsunflowers.com

And…that’s how I did it! Now, go find an old skirt, take it apart, and put it together. Now you have a new skirt!

*I reveal my mistakes and my process for a couple of reasons. One, because my goal for this blog is to be authentic and real. Second, I want you to realize that even as you make mistakes, you can recover from them, learn from them, and become a better seamstress. Then you’ll be better prepared to avoid mistakes when sewing for others.

I’ve also added this tutorial to Made by You Monday on Skip to My Lou. Go check out the rest of the crafty links here.

Love, Jess

 

Outdated Skirt Refashion

 

 

How to Size Down a Button Up

Sewing can make it much easier to have good quality, classic clothes that are tailored to fit one’s own body. I find that as a young mom, refashioning my clothes lets me have a wardrobe that fits without constantly buying new clothes to match my current size. This tutorial will show you how I tailor an oversized button-up shirt.

How To Size Down a Large Button Up | stitchesandsunflowers.com
Before: It was wearable, but a long way from nicely tailored.

I used this tutorial from JLTFK blog: http://jltfk.blogspot.com/2010/11/how-to-tailor-shirt-refashion-mens.html. It is a great tutorial and I recommend checking it out, however, I ended up doing a lot of the steps differently for my tutorial, so I thought I’d post my version as well.

Here it is! Another way to size down a large button up shirt.

Step one:

Measure your arm length from where the shoulder seam should hit to your wrist. Measure from the base of your neck to the shoulder seam.

Step two:

Cut off the shirt sleeves and shorten the shoulder length of the shirt to match your measurements. The sleeves of my shirt were already the correct length, so I unpicked the  original seam allowance off of them rather than cutting it off.

How To Size Down a Large Button Up | stitchesandsunflowers.com     How To Size Down a Large Button Up | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Step three:

Now put the shirt on inside out and mark how much you want to take in through the trunk. I like to use pins, some people use chalk. Measure the amount you’re taking in right under the armhole and mark that 1/2 inch less* than that amount on the edge of the sleeve, tapering down to meet the cuff.

How To Size Down a Large Button Up | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Step four:

Sew these lines, try the shirt on to make sure it fits well and then cut and finish the raw edges. *

Step five:

Pin the arm into the armhole, right sides together. Sew both sleeves in and finish the edges.

How To Size Down a Large Button Up | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Step six:

Now try the shirt on again, iron all the seams and mark how long you want the shirt to be.

Step seven:

Cut the hem. To make the sides even measure from the armpit to hem marking and make sure they are the same length. Cut one side of the shirt, then fold it in half and cut the other side to ensure an even curve.

How To Size Down a Large Button Up | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Step eight:

Press and sew the hem. Press up 1/4 inch along the bottom edge, then fold over another half inch. Sew the hem.

How To Size Down a Large Button Up | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Step nine:

Try it on and enjoy the thrifted shirt that now fits you!

*Since you cut the arm hole slightly bigger, you need to take in the sleeve slightly less than the trunk for them to match up. I took them in the same amount and I was fine, I just had to do some fussing to get them to match up.

*You might be tempted not to finish your edges, but it makes a HUGE difference in how professional your shirt feels and how long it lasts. I am blessed that my mother-in-law owns a serger, which is the best option. You can also fold over and “hem” the seam allowances or add a bias casing on top of them. These take longer, but look the best. The easier options are using pinking shears or a zig zag stitch. These are better than nothing, but I haven’t found them to last as long, especially with cotton fabric.

Love, Jess

How To Size Down a Large Button Up | stitchesandsunflowers.com   How To Size Down a Large Button Up | stitchesandsunflowers.com

How to Tailor an Oversized Button Up stitchesandsunflowers.com