Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ooh those denim skirts!

What could be more fun or comfortable for Spring (I'm in TX so spring comes early), than worn in denim combined with a breezy skirt. I see so many cute skirts in the thrift stores & my closet that just don't work by themselves anymore because they are either too small in the waist, or too short. What I have found is that some old denim jeans on top fix those skirts right up! Now they're the perfect size & length for cowboy or moccasin fringe boots!

Pick our your jeans and pick out a skirt & let's begin. I found a beautiful linen Ralph Lauren printed paisley skirt at a thrift store. I think I paid about $4. I knew it would be perfect for this project.


Start by making all your markings. You need to try on your jeans & mark where you want to cut them. Then measure around your hips at that mark so you can determine the diameter across the jeans & skirt pieces you need to make cutting lines. Ok - now take your pants off & get to work :-)! To get an even cutting line, you need to measure from the waistline down to your cut mark - then use that to create cutting marks around the circumference of your jeans (you'll use the same technique on the skirt)

To mark your skirt - use the diameter of your hip measurement and add 1 " for ease. The diameter is 1/2 of the total hip measurement, so if you have 44" hips, your diameter is 22", plus 1" for ease = 23". figure out where you can get a 23" diameter on your skirt & make a small mark/tick at the side seams. Use the same measure down technique to mark the cutting line all the way around the skirt.


Cut your jeans (image #2) without cutting any of the pockets. Pull the front pockets inside out & pin them up & out of your way. Then pick the back pockets with a seam ripper & fold them up out of the way to cut. PS - use some really good sharp shears here - large sewing shears are best. Your hand muscles will thank you!


FIRST... put a new, sharp, heavy duty sewing needle in your machine -- I promise you will not regret this step. I stitched mine with regular weight, good quality thread (avoid the $.50 cheapo spools for this project). I also bought heavy weight denim thread to do my top stitching.

Decide if you want a rough denim edge, or a clean stitch line. Line up and pin your skirt to your jeans matching the side seams, center front & center back. I use a 1/2" seam allowance.  Be sure to pin your pockets out of the way for sewing (safety pins work best for this). Straight stitch all around. I like to flip my garment right side out & top-stitch the seam allowance down for added seam strength.


Dress this skirt up with some super cute tops, jewelry & boots. Don't forget to accessorize with belts or scarfs too!

I've made 3 of these so far & each one has it's own personality & lessons learned. The fancy green one decorated with doilies is my last creation. I LOVE that one!

Happy sewing! -- Jill


Amy Jo said...

My favorite is the green! So pretty with all the added details and lace!

DressUpNotDown said...

I really like how you took the time to unpick the pockets so they could extend onto the printed fabric!


Annikins said...

Love the use of the doilies. Great work

cfortin said...

Welcome to refashion co-op. Your skirts are lovely. My favorite is the green one. Looking forward to seeing more of your posts.

Cindy - EOD
Upcycled Design Lab

chrysalis101 said...

I like this look, but often opt out of skirts because I'm more comfortable in jeans/shorts. Is it possible to make this skirt, but keep the legs of the pants as cut offs or hemmed shorts underneath?

Jill B said...

Chrysalis: You could cut the jeans as cut offs & sew some ruffled fabric to the legs - maybe attach some doilies & ribbons

Jennilee said...

Is it possible to just sew some fabric on this to make a skirt? I think it'd be easier to fit me that way, as I have an odd shape. Also the skirts I do have, I'd rather keep the way they are. I do like this idea though, as I'd have skirts with actual pockets!

Jill B said...

Hi Jennilee, thanks for the question. You could certainly use fabric that you have on hand and gather it into the denim. I prefer to use pre-made skirts because they are typically cut to have flare (such as an A-line or gored skirt); if the fabric requires lining, it's usually built in; and I like to choose skirts that have features I'm too lazy to sew on my own (like tiers, gores and hem embellishments). Also I can usually buy a skirt at a thrift store for much less than I can buy fabric to make a skirt bottom! :-)
If you want to use fabric I would recommend that you lay out your fabric folded down the center front and back, and lay your pre-cut denim skirt top above (with ~2" overlap) and draw an outward angled side seam line. Measure from your denim skirt down the CF/CB fold the length you want + hem allowance. Draw a slight curved line from your fold to your side seam. Do all that twice, once for the front & once for the back - then sew up your side seams & gather it all into the bottom of the denim skirt top & hem to finish.

I wouldn't recommend attaching all straight uncut fabric unless you are going to do a lot of gathering (think broomskirt style) - you could end up with a long pencil skirt that you can't walk in! :-)