Friday, April 3, 2020

Aqua Splash: Smart Fashion Tricks for Modest Women on a Budget

Skirt Upcycling Technique #5

How not to wave goodbye to a favourite skirt that no longer fits

So you've put on weight and your favourite ankle-length skirt no longer fits? You feel like you should give it away, but you love it soooo much. I know how you feel.

Assuming that the fabric is still in reasonable condition, this post details a way to alter it so you can continue wearing your favourite skirt.

My skirt was already lined, in a soft dobby cotton that is part of what makes it so blissful to wear. If your skirt is not lined, you can create a lining in the same shape as your skirt, which will make it super quick to create neckline and armholes. Alternatively, you can hem them or use bias binding.


Unpick any elastic or band at the skirt waist, preserving as much fabric length as you can. Press the waist seam open.

Fit Test

Check that the skirt is roomy enough for the skirt waist to fit over your shoulders. The easiest way to do this is to lay the skirt over top of a sleeveless dress or tank top that already fits you. If you want to utilize the full length of the skirt, the skirt waist seam will become your shoulder seams.

If the skirt is not wide enough, but it does fit under your arms, use the Skirt Upcycling Techniques (detailed in Boutique Narelle posts listed under the Frugalista Dressmaking tag) that turn a skirt into a yoked dress.

If it is too wide for your shoulders, you'll need to cut it to fit your shoulders and realign the side seams to fit under your arms.


Before you cut, decide if the neck opening is going to be big enough to pull over your head. If you want a closer fitting neckline, you'll need to insert a zipper at the back or front. If the skirt already has a zipper, you may need to lower it to match where your new neckline will sit. I had plenty of width so I removed the zipper entirely and stitched up the seam.


Using pins to replicate the fit of your sample dress or tank top, mark on the skirt where you want the neckline and the armholes, making sure there is sufficient seam allowance.

Cut and Sew

Cut out the shape of the neckline and armholes, extract the lining, and sew the shoulder seams on the dress and lining separately.

If you don't have a lining, bind or hem the neck and armholes, press, and you're done.
If you do have a lining, reinsert the lining (ensure right sides together) and sew around the neckline and armholes. Clip the curves and trim the seam allowance. Understitch the seams to help them sit flat. Turn the garment right side out. Finish off by pressing the seams.

Extra Fit Tip

My skirt had a lot of fullness which created a lot of bulk between the armholes at the back. I cinched this fullness by sewing D-ring loops with ribbons attached for a pretty and easy way to create shape at the waist.

Now you know a nifty trick for upcycling a secondhand skirt into a new and gorgeous dress for very little cost.

Look out for more Boutique Narelle posts detailing liberating modest fashion techniques.

Fiat lux!

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