Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Upcycled, Full, Circle Skirt

Last week my 12 year old daughter's middle school had spirit week.  Each day they had a different theme to dress to.  Aside from super hero day and 50's day she figured what she wanted to wear for the theme....or not.  For Monday's super hero day she asked me to buy her a shirt with super heroes and I got her one with Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, and Super Girl.  Boy, did I luck out on finding a girl super hero shirt at Wal-Mart.

50's day was a whole other situation.  She wanted a full skirt, something along the lines of what she has seen on Grease, and asked me to make her a skirt.  My first thought was "no, I have a Poodle skirt somewhere and you could use that".   Days later I found it, and it didn't fit her,  which was already known since she has....out grown my size.  So there went that idea, and I was still left with her wanting a skirt and giving me directions on what she wanted with three days 'til 50's day. 

She wanted a polka-dot skirt. Oh lord.  I really hadn't planned on making a skirt and I even told her I wasn't going to go out and buy $15-$22 worth of fabric on a skirt I've never made before.  The next best thing ...well of course $3 worth of sheet. 

I doubted I would find anything that would work, and polka-dot, yeah good luck with that, but I should know better than to doubt my favorite thrift store.  Monday I went to see if I could find a dress or a skirt I could possibly alter, but no such luck.  Then during my search for vintage sheets I found a polka-dot sheet.  This could work, but would she like the colors?  It's 100% cotton and extremely soft.

I choose not to show her the sheet, and the next day I worked on the skirt (after taking a quick waist measurement from her that morning before school).   I did have to do some Google searches to see how to cut out the waist.  I'd already had an idea after seeing many tutorials, but I wanted measurements.

I found this circle skirt tutorial on Made.  So I got my waist measurement formula from there.  Then it was time to start measuring and cutting up the sheet.  My daughter is just a few inches shorter than me so I figured the skirt length by measuring from my waist down to just below my knees. 

First I cut out the center/waist section, then measured 21" from that point all the way around the cut to create my dotted/cutting line for the length. 
See pink chalk marks.
Then took the scissors to it.  Yikes!

Ok, the scary part was out of the way.  I next serged the edge of the waist and bottom of the skirt. I really wanted to be lazy and not do this, but I figured I'd be kicking myself later if I skipped this step...even if she only wears it one time.

Since I serged the waist I was able to hem the waist with a single fold, where I could insert some elastic.  This was a bit challenging though.  The waist wasn't straight (it's curved) so folding 1" all around wasn't a clean flat fold, it tended to bunch up at places, but it's not noticeable since the skirt gathers from the elastic anyway, phew.

I also did a narrow single fold hem at the bottom of the skirt, just enough to fold the serged end in.  This was the longest part of the process....slow sewing.  At one point it seemed like I was working on this skirt forever, but it took me just over an hour to make.

And the end results?  My daughter loved it. 

It's not very 1950's-ish (I don't recall Sandy, from Grease, wearing Converse), but my daughter was happy with it, and that is all that matters.

Oh and what great timing, that I hadn't planned on.  It's Skirt Week (AKA Skirt Month) over at CrafterHours so I'm gonna go ahead and enter this skirt for SNG's.  Maybe I'll get off my bottom and attempt some skirts for myself.  I desperately need some new items added to my wardrobe.


  1. She is very cute in her circle skirt, and she looks very happy! Nice work, Momma!