Gloomy Skirt Minus 6″ = Gorgeous Skirt

Another skirt from a thrift store. This one was a bit expensive (for a thrift store anyway) at 14.99, but you can’t go wrong with a nice black skirt. It’s got a a crochet like top layer that is so pretty, and adds a lot of depth to the plain black:

When I bought it I thought it was a good length, sitting just over my knees. However, ever time I tried it on I couldn’t escape the  feeling that it looked more funeral-y than flirty.

Once again I broke out my scissors to do some reworking. As you can see in the picture above the crochet pattern changes about 6 inches from the bottom. I decided to try to chop off the bottom and give the skirt a new hem.

When I cut off the bottom I was left with the edge shown below. The right half has been trimmed, leaving just the loose threads.

The loose ends were actually loose, and had to be sewn down by hand.

Here is the edge, once all the modifications were done. It worked out better than I could have hoped, the edge has a pretty scallop and the length is just right.

I also had to bring up the underskirt, which was a simple enough hem. I just cut off all the extra fabric, ironed a double folded to encase the raw edge and sewed it up.

Just Another…

Skirt 6

Here are the before shots of one of my recent thrift store find, a long floral skirt:


I liked the pattern:

and the price, but it looks way too much like a middle-aged woman’s church skirt. So I decided to make a new hem for it. I knew I wanted it to be at least knee-length so I chopped off about 10 inches and started from there.

After trying on, pinning, and adjusting and trying on and pinning and adjusting some more I landed on a length of 23 inches, or just above my knee. So I trimmed the extra fabric to just an inch:

I ironed the hem, and then tried the skirt on one more time before sewing (no one likes to rip out stitches!). I used some light blue thread I had on hand, and it matches really well. It’s actually the spool of thread that my Mom bought to hem my prom gown, I haven’t had occasion to use it again until now. Just goes to show you that it’s a mistake to throw out craft products.

I had to remove a button at the bottom to sew the new hem. The buttonhole is still there, but not very noticeably.

 I love this skirt, I’ve already worn it several times. It’s super light and airy, but it’s tight enough the wind can’t give passersby a show (always something to worry about when the winds kicks up.) Here is a lame after shot, you can see in the background how messy the room got as I worked, in the before’s it pretty clean!

I enjoy sewing new garments, but nothing beats the minimal effort you can put into switch up an almost perfect used find. If you don’t sew or don’t sew well, little projects like these are a great way to polish your skills without having to use a pattern or other scary sewing implements!

A New Skirt and Bag, Lovely Fabric, and More Jars

Hounds 4

I found this lovely fabric at a thrift store a week or so ago. It’s amazingly soft, luscious wool in a classic houndstooth pattern. It was only $2.99, and I really want to turn it into a scarf, a pencil skirt, a blazer, and a sweater dress… unfortunately I will only have enough for one of those things. It’s marked 100% Italian virgin wool. Virgin wool, is just wool that has never been used before. Most wool products nowadays are “virgin” but back during WWII much of the wool being produced was earmarked for the war effort. So manufactures turned to unraveling old wool products and turning them into something new. Now wool production is inexpensive, so it’s rare to see something marked “virgin wool” since it’s all virgin wool. (Source) It does sound impressive though.

Moving on, I also bought this skirt:

Yes, I know at first glance it’s pretty lame. I loved the pattern though, and I have some alterations in mind. I think shorter it will be lovely, and less middle-aged woman’s church skirt. I like the idea of a button up skirt, very cute… maybe I should switch out the buttons? It was only 2 bucks, so I could really tear it up to use as rags and still come out on top.

I didn’t buy these jars at a thrift store, a family member gave them to me.I, like the rest of internet (at least the women anyway) are pretty obsessed with these babies. I’ve written about them before, here.

The one on the right is made by the Hazel-Atlas Glass Company, which is the same company that produced the depression glass I have. Check out my post about depression glass here. I have done anything with these jars yet, I feel the same way about them as I do about a perfectly white sheet of drawing paper. I could create something with them, but on the other hand I could just sit and stare at their great potential. Here are some other people’s aqua canning jar projects (click the image to go to its origin site):


I would love to find some that still had the zinc lids. I don’t think that is likely at thrift stores, but I can’t spend $10 bucks a jar on Etsy or eBay.

Lastly in my recent thrifting, this little, kinda beat up purse:

I have big plans for this $3 mini messenger bag. I will undoubtably be posting all about it in a few days, until then check out these other leather bag redo’s (click on the image to go to its origin site):

Ballet Inspired Tulle Skirt

Tulle Skirt

I have seen ton’s of pretty tulle skirts around lately, here are some examples:


From left to right (click on the picture for origin site): 1.’s Brocade and Tulle Party Frock 2. Fashion is Spinach’s vintage tulle skirt 3. Urban Outfitters’ Pins and Needles Tulle Skirt

For my skirt I used a 1 1/2 yards of cream-colored lining fabric, 5 yards of white nylon tulle, and 1 yard of 2 inch black elastic. As you can see in the picture below I also bought 2 yards of darker beige tulle which I didn’t end up using.

The first thing I did was to make the lining of the skirt. If you wanted to add layer after layer of tulle until the skirt is opaque or wear a slip with the skirt you could skip this step. I reused this pattern, New Look 6004, which I already had and liked, which is a super simple pull on gathered skirt with elastic waistband. I used the skirt panel piece but not the other pieces and created this:

A basic lining skirt un-hemmed on the top and bottom, around 12 inches greater than my waist measurement. You could also draft your own pattern for a lining skirt like on this post on, she also has links on that page to her tutorial on making a tulle skirt.

For my tulle overlay I took all 5 yards of my white tulle and wrapped it over and over in intervals roughly the width of the bottom of my lining skirt. I then sewed a gathering stitch around the top of the tulle. To sew a gathering stitch use the longest stitch setting, and don’t back-stitch or tie off the ends. You can then pull the thread ends  and slid the fabric along to gather it. I gathered the tulle to the width of the top of my lining skirt and pinned:

As you can see I didn’t trim my tulle, it’s still as long as it was originally. The next step is  to sew the two fabric’s together:

To measure for my waistband, I generally hold the elastic tight to my waist, the way I want the skirt to fit and add about an inch for a seam. To sew the elastic use a tight zig-zag stitch:

The best way I know to attach a waistband to fabric is to mark off the center front, center back and both sides on the elastic and the skirt:


Start by pinning the center back elastic to the center back of the skirt and as you stitch, stretch the elastic out so the next pin on the waistband meets the next mark on the skirt. Don’t forget to use a zig-zag stitch so the elastic can still stretch!

Here is my skirt with waistband attached:

I left the lining skirt un-hemmed because I thought I would add lace trim to it, but after seeing it plain I liked it more and hemmed it. I also left the tulle un-trimmed for the same reason and at this point trimmed it to about 1 1/2 inches below the lining. If you attempted this it would be easier to hem the lining before adding the tulle overlay, and trim the tulle before gathering it.

Another thing to keep in mind with this method is that you will have a vertical edge of tulle that is only attached at the waistband where you started wrapping the yards of fabric and where you ended. You can’t really see this edge when wearing the skirt since the tulle sticks together but if it bothers you can stitch the errant edge to the layer below it.

I love how it turned out, but it’s a little more puffy than I wanted. I think that was a problem with the tulle I used. I used the softest tulle I could find, but I think it was still a bit too stiff for the look I was going for. Perhaps with some laundering/steaming I could relax it a bit.



Special thanks to my parent’s for the Joann gift card that financed this project and for the beautiful nail polish I am wearing in the above pictures, also thanks to my husband for taking pictures of me in my finished skirt.

Simple Fix for a Too Tight Skirt

Denim Skirt Finish 1


I picked up this dark denim skirt second-hand two days ago. It’s from Ann Taylor and I got it for $3.99. I never try stuff on at thrift stores, I generally hold it to my body and guess if it will fit or not… this time I got it wrong, but just barely. When I tried it on at home it was about an inch from being wearable and about two inches from being comfortable.

First I looked at the side seams, since they were only half-inch and serged, it would be impossible to let it out two inches. I considered adding fabric to one of the sides instead of the front but again I didn’t want to mess with the original seams. Below is how I altered the skirt to fit me, you can follow the same directions for any woven skirt with a zipper. Keep in mind the added fabric will alter fit of the whole skirt instead of just the waist like in a traditional alteration. You should also keep in mind that all fabrics and embellishments you use should have similar laundering requirements.

My extra fabric was some beige colored soft cotton that I bought second-hand: So first thing I did was decide how much fabric to add, I measured the circumference of my natural waist and the skirt. My measurement was around an 1 inch larger, so I decided to add an inch to get the skirt to my waist size and another 1 1/2 for comfort. The piece of fabric to be added also needs a seam allowance, I used a half-inch on each side. The length of the extra fabric should be the same as the skirt with a half-inch seam allowance on either end. For me the new panel was 3 1/2 inches by 19 inches. Below is the panel marked out in disappearing ink:

Next I hemmed the two smaller sides, and finished the raw edge with pinking shears. If you want you could also serge or double fold the edge to prevent the raw edge from fraying.

To determine where to cut the skirt I measured center front and center bottom and marked them with pins, then I sliced the skirt open along that line:

The next step is to pin the extra fabric right sides together to one of the skirts raw edges like so:

Stitch along the pins, back-stitching on each end to hold the thread in place. When one side is done press the seam, then repeat the process on the other side. Once the panel is attached press the seams. Like I said about the top and bottom hemming, you will need to either serge or double over the hem or use pinking shears like I did to prevent fraying:

Here is the skirt after pressing:

If you used an opaque or patterned fabric then your skirt would be finished here, my panel was a bit see thru and quite plain. I added some lace that I purchased back at the beginning of the summer (original post here). If you would like to attach similar lace, pin to the panel of fabric and hand-stitch along the straight edge.


I finish attaching my lace by tacked down the free hanging edge every few inches and binding the top and bottom edge with thread. Here is the result:

My too tight denim skirt now fits very nicely, and it looks awfully cute as well. It’s a little short to wear in winter but maybe with some leggings it would be okay. Good luck trying your own skirt alterations!

Wardrobe Revamp: Too Short Skirt Fix

Grey Skirt 2

In this edition of Wardrobe Revamp I have this lovely little skirt:

I really like the feel of the fabric, the deep side pockets, the detailing on the front and the super comfy elastic back… What I don’t like is that when worn on the true waist like in this picture I couldn’t bend over at all, not even a little without giving passers-by a peep show. Unfortunately I bought it before thoroughly evaluating the fit. I intended to return it but a few days turned into a few weeks and eventually the date to return had passed and I was the proud own of a skirt that I couldn’t wear. Yay!

So I decided to buy some coordinating fabric, and splice it in. The plan was to cut the skirt about 3 inches up from the hemline, attach 6 inches or so of the new fabric and then sew the old fabric on to the bottom. Which would have looked awesome, however I didn’t think that idea through. To simplify the problem think about a flare skirt that is 5 inches at waistband and “flares” out to 10 inches at the hem. If you take fabric at the middle of this hypothetical skirt, then try to attach it at the bottom you will be short several inches. D’oh.

I ended up just sewing on the new fabric (gray poplin) and giving a decorative topstitch hem.

I don’t think it has the same style as the original but I still like the result. For anyone who wants to add some length to a flared skirt my method was: lay the skirt flat on top of your fabric, take a ruler and lay it on the outside edge of the skirt so you can mark the correct angle of flare onto to new fabric. Mark the angle on the fabric for both sides and then use the skirt hem as a guide for the hem curve.

Wardrobe Revamp: Old Skirt Re-Redo

Seam Close

I can’t remember exactly where or when I got this skirt because its been that long. I don’t have a picture of it in its original state, the hemline fell awkwardly around mid-shin. This is a picture of it after my hem alteration from several years ago.

I wasn’t good at sewing when I decided to alter it, and it shows. I had cut the detailing on the front in half and the sheer nylon edge to the lining got messed up so that there was a two-inch gap on both sides. However I loved the fit and feel so I wore this thing all the time. The the other day I noticed the nylon edge had gotten damaged.

I decided the best thing to do was replace the edging with some lace (I was never crazy about the nylon, it was static-y.) The only lace I had on hand was this stuff that I bought at the thrift store the other day. It’s hard to tell from the picture but it’s “antique white” in color, and holding it up to the skirt I realized I had a problem. Years ago this skirt was cream-colored, now it’s more like a faded dingy white. Unfortunately the selection of faded dingy white lace at Joanns is minimal… The only options I saw where 1. leave it plain 2. dye the skirt or 3. contrasting not matching lace. Without edging it looked too plain and dyeing could result in an even harder to match color so I went with a contracting trim.

I really liked this crocheted black stuff at the store, it made me think of flappers. However it was 17.99 a yard, so this pre-gathered black lace for 2.99 a yard won. It was insanely difficult to pin this stuff level to my skirt thanks to my first uneven hem and equally uneven lining job.

For the lace seam I used a new technique (for me) I got from this fascinating book Couture Sewing Techniques, Revised and Updated by Claire Shaeffer. It’s about 15 bucks on Amazon, or free if you check it out from the library like I did. It’s full of hand sewing tips, and amazing vintage couture dresses. My seam isn’t exactly perfect or invisible but I am far happier with it then the other attempts I have made with joining lace.

Overall I am very happy with my fixed skirt. I think I will be wearing it for years to come.