Welcome to my new blog series Tutorial Thursdays! Every week I will be posting a new tutorial, it might be sewing, hair, makeup whatever I feel like but I will show you how to do something!
I’m starting off with this four part series on Repurposing my Pinup Girl Clothing Skirt. Over the next four weeks I will show you how I turned the Deadly Dames Kinky Box Skirt in Fetish Print into a pencil skirt and top, how exciting is that! This tutorial will work with any Kinky Box or Jenny skirt from Pinup Girl Clothing, but will also work with any slight-stretch fabric.
By the way sometimes I sew using inches and sometimes I use centimetres. For this tutorial I will be using inches, but feel free to convert all the measurements into whichever form suits you best.
What you will need for Part 1:
- A skirt or fabric
- A long ruler (1m/yard)
- Fabric scissors
- An unpicker or small embroidery scissors
- A tape measure
- A setsquare
- A french curve (optional)
The starting skirt!
The skirt was actually meant to have a rather large waistband but I found it uncomfortable so I made it narrower by just stitching the top of the waistband to the extra fabric on the inside waistband.
Here’s how the waistband is meant to look, all unpicked.
First off we need to unpick the stitching around the waistband. Unpick the line of stitching that attaches the waistband to the zip (where my nail is pointing) and also unpick the bottom line of stitching which attaches the waistband.
Here’s the waistband all opened up and I took out the zip completely as well. As you can see one side of the waistband is fused with an interfacing which prevents it from stretching.
Next is to remove the line of stitching which was anchoring the waistband to the main of the skirt. Here you can see the waistband laid out.
The pleats are stitching down separately so the next step is to unpick this.
This is the skirt with no pleats in it at all!
The last thing to do before the fabric is already is to unpick the side seams. The side which had the zip in will only need the row of straight sewing removed, but on the opposite side seam the straight sewing and the overlocking need to be unpicked. If you look online you can find easy ways to unpick overlocking, simply google ‘easy way to unpick overlocking’. Also the straight stitch is actually a chain stitch which is very simple to do and I also recommend googling.
And here we have the flat fabric! It’s interesting to see the way this skirt is cut, as it would have assumed it to be straight rather than in a curved shape. At this point it’s a good idea to iron it, so that it will be all nice and flat for working on the skirt. This is the end of the disassembly!
The Pencil Skirt Pattern
You can easily bypass most of this section if you already have a pencil skirt pattern which will fit on this fabric. I will be showing you how to draft up the pencil skirt pattern onto the actual fabric anyway.
This skirt will have 2 pattern pieces, a front and a back. Because I do not have a lot of fabric to work with this skirt will have a side zip. This skirt will have no kickpleat or slit, but feel free to add one if you like. I’ve made sure to use a hem circumference that I find comfortable and that doesn’t take away from the pencil skirt shape.
Next up you’ll need to find the grainline. This fabric is a stretch sateen and will only stretch one way. If you enlarge the pictures above you can see the straight lines of where the threads run, I’ve lined my ruler up against them. This is the straight grain which runs down the length of fabric.
I made these small cuts so that I can tear the fabric down the grain, which will give me a nice straight line to work from. This cut is in the centre of the waistline, you can see better in the next picture where this is.
As you can see it’s given us the grain which means we can work on the pattern from this. It stretches in the opposite direction to this tear.
First off I measured the fabric to see if my measurements would fit. I am making this skirt to a 27” waist and 42” hips.
With the hem unpicked the fabric measures 22” which means if I use 1/2” seam allowances it will just fit! The best thing to do is to buy a skirt with the largest size you can so you can have extra fabric. I am using a size small and would say you cannot have hips larger than 42” with this amount of fabric.
Next use your setsquare against the straight grain to get the cross grain, do this at the point you measured your hip width at. This should be 1/2 of your total hip measurement. Use your long ruler to extend the line of your setsquare and use chalk to draw along this line.
Next half your hipline (1/4 full hip measurement) and make a mark. At this halfway point use your setsquare and ruler again to draw a straight line at a right angle to the hipline. This creates the centre line.
Next measure up 9” from the hipline along the centre line and make a mark. From this get your tape measure and measure out 1/4 of your waist measurement + seam allowance. It’s best to do the waist measurement first, but due to the small amount of fabric here I had to do it in reverse. Square off this waistline and make sure to add a seam allowance on top.
Unfortunately I don’t have enough fabric to do darts, or have a back centre zip. Both of these would be ideal.
Next is the hem. I chose a 25” skirt length as this hits just below my knee. Measure down from the waistline and square off.
A 36 inch hem circumference is enough for me to walk around in without getting too uncomfortable, and without turning it into a hobble skirt. This means I square out from the centre line 9 and a half inches to give me my hem (including seam allowance). Also add the bottom hem allowance.
Next is marking the side seams. Start by drawing a straight line from your hem to your hipline and from your hipline to your waistline. Then curve these lines slightly, either by hand or by using a french curve.
I’ve cut the side seam and you can see the shape of my skirt. I used the original hem as the curve from my waist to hip.
To the edge of your waistline add a slight upwards curve. This helps the skirt waist to remain level as the skirt fits over your hips.
Cut out half the skirt and then fold it over at your centre line. This saves time and means you only have to do a little pattern drafting, and it will of course be symmetrical. Then cut out the other half.
There’s your full skirt pattern! (I wasn’t paying attention so the pattern is upside down.) Next go ahead and sqaure of the other side of the skirt fabric, place this piece down, making sure it matches up with the grain.
Woohoo, both skirt pieces are done! I’m using the already fused half of the waistband as my waistband as I find the width and size good. If you want/need to cut a different waistband to fit then just use some excess fabric. I recommend 4”-5” wide as that will have a 1.5”-2” finished width on the garment. Cut the length to be the same as your waist measurement. You might need to make it from 2 pieces.
I hope you enjoyed my first Tutorial Thursday and the first in my 4 part skirt repurposing series. I might break it up halfway through with an eyeliner tutorial as I’ve had a few requests on Instagram to do one.