March 28, 2011

DIY Dose: Can A Leopard Change it's Spots? I Sure Tried To!

I am still working my way way through the "fix it" bag of clothing that I started after my closet clean-out.  In this bag there are a few items that I made in high school when I was attending a fashion design vocational program.  Some of these items are really hideous or outdated, but I held on to them for sentimental reasons. The piece I picked for todays' DIY had a number of virtues that I felt far outweighed it's negatives.

Asymmetrical Dress in all it's leopard-y glory.

Okay withhold judgement on my taste while I explain a couple of things.  One - I made it in the 90's when the minimalist styles of Donna Karen and Calvin Klein were riding high. Two- the fabric choices were limited to what was on hand in the fabric supply room, and while I certainly would not have picked leopard print I needed something that had the right weight for the pattern.  The weight of the fabric is lovely, lightweight rayon/poly blend.  The top of the dress doesn't fit anymore, but the ankle length of the dress leaves lots of fabric to work with. I decided to make both layers into a skirt that would be reversible.

Step 1.  I measured from my waist to where I wanted the skirt to hit, in this case my ankle, I added an inch for the waistband (32").  Using that, I measured from the hem of the dress to where I wanted the waist to be.  I placed pins so I could see where I would need to cut. I did this step for both pieces, in the process I accidently cut the black layer too short, whoops, but I figured out how to work with it and even made it look intentional on the finished product.

Step 2.  I pinned both layers together along the top half of the skirt with the right sides together, seams facing out.      
Step 3.  I took the pinned waist to the sewing machine and stitched 1/2" all the way around.  I trimmed any stray threads and flipped the pieces so the right sides were now facing out. I pressed along the seam and fold the waistband so the black and leopard fabrics were even.  

Step 4.  With the wrong sides now together I stitched 1/2" around the top of the waistband leaving a 2 inch opening to thread the elastic through.  This created the casing for the elastic waist.

Step 5.  I measured the elastic waistband by bringing it around my waist where I wanted the skirt to sit and then added one inch (Try not to stretch the elastic as you measure).  
Step 6.  I added a safety pin to one end of the elastic band to make threading it through the waistband easier. 

Step 7.  I threaded the elastic through the waistband of the skirt, evening out the gathers in the fabric as I worked it through.  

Step 8.  I pinned both ends of the elastic and tried the skirt on to see if I need to make the waist tighter or looser.  In this case I wanted the skirt to sit at my waist so I trimmed an inch off the elastic.  After I pinned the elastic with 1 inch overlapping, then I stitched over the ends to join the waistband.  Once that was done I laid the waistband flat with the right side facing out and stitched over the 2 inch opening that was left to put in the waistband.

The finished product is below, I ended up leaving the black layer shorter since I liked how it looked with the little bit of leopard peeking out.   The skirt is much more wardrobe friendly than the asymmetrical dress it started out as.  So what do you think did making it a skirt make it more wearable?  What do you think of the print, too much?

Business on the one side...
Party on the other!

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