Friday, May 1, 2020

The Three Lives of the Yellow Beach Skirt: Smart Fashion Tricks for Modest Women on a Budget

Skirt Upcycling Technique #4

There is currently no fabric shop in my city, and I'm living on a very small income. This summer my need for a modest, pretty dress led me to take apart a favourite dress and remake it...for the third time.

This crinkle cotton skirt started life 11 years ago as a delicate, half-lined beach skirt with a fold-over knit waistband. When I bought it from Ezibuy for NZ$10, I separated the skirt from the band, added a full lining of gingham, then reattached the waistband.

Oh, how I loved that skirt. But soon the stretch band lost elasticity, and I lost weight, a combination prompting me to remake the skirt into a tank dress, meaning the garment would hang from my shoulders and it wouldn't matter what fluctuations were taking place at my waist. For this I used a JayJays knit camisole with a double layer at the bust and adjustable straps.

After a few seasons of happy wearing with a blouse or tee shirt over the top, the knit fabric of the camisole was beginning to disintegrate around the top edge. To extend its life, I stitched a supportive lining (visible in the above photo) along that edge using a strip of the camisole that had been cut off when attaching the camisole to the skirt.

This 2019-2020 season as we skipped Spring and jumped straight into Summer's intense heat, I realized two things. One, I wasn't wearing that dress because the worn knit camisole now felt a little icky. Two, the summer temperatures experienced here mean I need to avoid knit fabrics if I want to stay cool.

The woven fabrics of the skirt were still in excellent condition, so once again I unpicked the knit upper portions. This time I created a fitted, zipped bodice of woven fabrics (worn below with an overblouse of burnout cotton).

The yellow striped sleeveless bodice is a delicate polycotton I had in my fabric stash. I lined it with Egyptian cotton from a bed sheet given to me by a friend whose husband wears through his side of the bed linens with unfortunate rapidity. I'm sorry she has to buy new sheets so often, but I feel very blessed that I'm on the receiving end of this luxurious, quality cotton that feels silky soft and cool against the skin.

I've learned two things from the many lives of this outfit:
  • Clothing made of quality, natural fibre woven fabrics is worth the effort to acquire because it lasts so well.
  • As long as fabric endures in good health, it holds possibilitied as wearable and a potential money saver.

If you're interested in limiting your waste footprint and reducing your financial expenditure, take a second look at the old fabrics you've been thinking are past their usefulness. Your favourites may gift you another life of wear after all.

Napier Art Deco Festival 2020

Now you know a fabulous 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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