Because evidently blogging about garment sewing adventures means suspending all pride in order to help readers understand what you are doing and why... here's a photo of me in the jumper. We'll call this BEFORE.
So I put it in the closet. I recently decided to transform this into an elastic-waist skirt that retains the original hemline. I am using the finished curved neckline as the opening part of pockets that I am adding to the skirt.
An even hemline is one that is the same distance from the floor all the way around, when wearing the shoes that will be worn with that garment. Hemlines on skirts or dresses on some women are uneven. Here are a few reasons:
- I might have more or less (ahem) "soft tissue" in certain areas (tummy, high hip, bottom) than the designer or pattern maker allowed for.
- My waist might be tilted; that is, it might be lower in the front than in the back or it might be higher in front than in the back. Or one side and the other.
- My posture might be different from the ideal, and it could be different front to back and/or side to side.
For this remake, I used the following:A skirt that is too long (a jumper, actually)
A yardstick and a thick rubber band
Elastic (1-inch wide) that I sewed into a loop so that it is snug around my waist (a piece of elastic a few inches shorter than your waistline and a safety pin to hold it in place would work just as well)
Shoes that I would wear with the skirt
A mirror that's either long enough or angled enough that you can view your waist down to the floor
A sliver of soap for marking the fabric
Usual sewing supplies (machine, thread, etc., and 3/4-inch wide elastic)
Note: See photos at end of lists.
Part 1: Establish the actual waistline:
- Decide on the finished length from the floor, wearing the appropriate shoes and the too-long skirt. Pull the elastic loop on over the skirt (or length of elastic around your waist and pin it so that it's snug). Fiddle with the elastic until it is at your own waistline all the way around.
- Distribute the skirt fabric evenly around, paying careful attention to making sure that the skirt's side seams are at your side seams.
- Pull the skirt fabric up and down above the elastic until you find the length that works for you. Mine is 14 inches from the floor.
- Wrap the thick rubber band snugly around the ruler, placing the bottom of the rubber band even with your finished length.
- Place the ruler in front of you, with it touching both the floor and the skirt fabric, so that the rubber band mark is at your desired length from the floor.
- Pull the fabric up and down above the elastic, keeping the side seams straight, until the skirt is even all the way around. Photo shows bunched up fabric above elastic.
- With your sliver of soap (or other preferred marker; I like to use white slivers of soap because they come right out with steam from my iron), mark the bottom of the elastic all around. Don't worry if you miss a few spots because of fabric folds.
- Remove the elastic and the skirt. With the soap sliver, connect any missing portions and even out any irregularities. Do not expect a line that is parallel to the hemline.
|Ruler with thick rubber band marker|
|Determining my waistline for this skirt; see that bunched-up fabric over on the right just above the elastic?|
|Arrows point to unevenness in front. Upper soap lines are explained in Part 2.|
|Back is almost even...|
|Unevenness shows more when looking at it from the side (front is at the right).|
- You can add a zipper and darts to the skirt and make a separate waistband and attach it.
- You can make a casing and insert the elastic through it. This is what I am doing with this skirt.
Part 2: Prepare to finish the skirt top:
- Select the elastic for your skirt. I suggest 3/4-inch to 1-1/2 inch wide elastic. The more uneven your waist, the better to use a narrower elastic. I am using 3/4-inch wide non-roll elastic.
- Add a few inches to the top of the marked waist for the casing, which must be enough to go around the elastic twice plus a bit extra. Caution: Math ahead! (but only a little)
Width of elastic x 2 + thickness of elastic x 2 + extra for finishing the raw edge and also to enable you to work the elastic through the casing. Mine:
a. Width of elastic: 3/4 inch x 2 = 1-1/2 inches
b. Thickness of elastic: 1/16 inch x 2 = 1/8 inch
c. Extra for finishing raw edge = 1/4 inch
d. Ease in working elastic through casing = 1/4 inch
e. Total: 2-1/8 inches, rounded up to nearest 1/4 inch = 2-1/4 inches
- Mark the skirt 2-1/4 inches (or YOUR calculation result) above the marked waist, and cut all around.
Part 3: Adjustments before finishing the waist:
- Try the skirt on again, with the elastic loop over it. In addition to making a few minor adjustments in length, I decided that my skirt was too full, so I resewed the side seams.
- I made two patch pockets, using the finished neckline curve for the slip-your-hands-in portion. I planned to sew one raw edge into the side seam. Unfortunately, I forgot that I reshaped the side seams so that they were no longer straight. I set the pockets aside while I continued with the skirt.
- The slit at the bottom of the side seams, which was originally about 10 inches long, was too long after I shortened the skirt. So I reworked the side seams (again), especially the bottom portion of the side seams so that the new slits were a more proportional length, now ending at the top of the pintucks.
- Pockets: I turned under and pressed the raw edges of the pockets. Denim is thick. I took the pockets to the basement (concrete floor) and hammered the corners of the folded pockets to flatten them. I then topstitched each pocket close to the folded raw edges, then steam-pressed them to remove the rippled corners. I then pinned the pockets onto the skirt front parallel to each other and a bit in from the side seams. I stitched them on.
|Arrows point to slip-your-hands-in portion of pockets|
|Cut in half; center edges will become outside edges.|
|Arrows point to slip-your-hands-in portion; outer edges are now at edges of photo.|
|Raw edge folded under and pressed.|
|When top edge is folded down, the thickness of denim becomes apparent.|
|Topstitch close to the folded edges.|
|Ripples (caused by bias)...|
|...taken care of with steam, heat, and pressure.|
|Pockets pinned to skirt front|
|Stitch pockets, again stitching close to the edge.|
Part 4: Finish the waist:
- Serge (or press under 1/4 inch) the top raw edge.
- Fold over the waist the width of the elastic plus 1/4 to 1/2 inch, and press.
- Stitch from the right side, close to the finished edge, leaving an opening approximately 4 inches long for the casing.
- Trim the corners of the elastic, attach a safety pin, and insert the elastic through the casing.
- Try the skirt on again. Adjust the elastic until it is comfortable. Pin the elastic. Adjust the skirt, making sure that the skirt's side seams are at your side seams. Place clips or pins at the side seams.
- Pull the elastic out at least a few inches. Trim the end and stitch the ends of the elastic together. Stitch the opening closed.
- To keep the elastic distributed as desired, stitch in the ditch at the side seams.
|Serge the top raw edge.|
|Serged top edge|
|Fold over and press. Note the curve (because of my unevenness).|
|Stitch from the right side.|
|Elastic and pin.|
|It doesn't matter (to me) that the thread color doesn't match the elastic color.|
|Stitch in the ditch to keep elastic distributed as desired.|
I have a couple of questions for you, if you don't mind:
- Please give me some styling advice as to what kind of silhouette would be best for me to wear with this skirt. I traded in my actual waistline for menopause some time ago.
- What do you think of the length? This is the length that I feel most comfortable with, but I don't know whether it's the most flattering length. The camera is at eye level.
- I feel like this tutorial is really really really long, but I am at a loss as to what to omit. Suggestions welcome. Criticisms welcome, too, as long as they are sandwiched in kindness.
Do you like the photos centered? Left-aligned? Some other way?
Special thanks to Bunny who suggested PhotoScape as a good photo editing software.
I need a nap!
Blessings and peace...