Want to learn how to make a fun summer skirt at little expense and using only basic sewing skills?
Welcome to the first of my new summer DIY series. Summertime feels like it is made for DIY, the long days, minimal responsibilities and amazing summer energy gets my creativity going. If you are looking for fun little projects to make over summer, keep an eye on Fizzle Out over the next few months.
It sure has been a while since I have spent any time on this little blog of mine. Apologies for the absence – I have been super busy finishing off the academic year, and, believe it or not, making the half way mark in my medical degree.
This idea came to me when I found a blouse with a fabulous floral pattern, in a cut that I knew I would never ever wear. I bought it for $1 from the op shop because I just couldn’t let it go, and thought I could maybe make it into a cushion.
I realised that we now have about 10 cushions on our couch (as it is the only thing that I have been really confident in sewing so far), so had a little think about what else I could make.
If you follow this tutorial, keep in mind that I am a super beginner sewer so the steps are quite vague and if you think of a way you can do things a little better, please do and let me know in the comments!
What you need:
Vintage blouse (with buttons) – Unless you are tiny, I would recommend that you ensure the blouse you buy is in a large size (or even go a large men’s shirt) as I was really pushing it to have enough material to go around my hips. If you are a beginner sewer try to choose a cotton or easy fabric to sew.
Elastic – enough to go around your waist (I would use a wider elastic if I was to make this again, probably a couple of cm wide will make the skirt sit better.
Basic sewing skills – I used a sewing machine (this would be quite hard to do by hand but not impossible)
Thread – to match the material and elastic
Ensure the blouse is sufficient width and length to be a skirt – I buttoned it up around me to check, to make sure that when I cut the shirt to remove the sleeves and collar it would still be long enough to wear on a day to day basis. If it is baggy around your waist don’t worry, the elastic will bring it in, but it will be a ‘puffy’ style skirt.
Wrap the elastic around your waist, stretch it around your waist, not so tight that it is uncomfortable but making sure there is a bit of tension on it. Pin or mark it, and then remove from your waist and sew the ends of the elastic together (use zigzag stitch).
Cut the blouse just below the arm holes straight across horizontally. If you have chosen the right blouse you will ideally be able to keep the buttons down the front and the seams down both sides, minimising the required sewing.
After all, this is meant to be a project you can do in a single summer afternoon.
I unpicked the blouse pocket but you can leave it on if you like the look of it.
Now sew the elastic on to the material:
Ensure that you fold under the raw edge of the fabric
Stretch the elastic out and pin the fabric to it – taking care to get it equal. I did it by folding the elastic in half twice, marking the 4 equal distances, and pinning it to 4 equal distances on the fabric (the two side seams, the front seam and the middle of the back panel. I then stretched the elastic out, pinning equally in between.
While you are sewing you will need to stretch the elastic, and ensure that you are sewing using an appropriate ‘stretch’ stitch (check your manual of your sewing machine – I used a zigzag for elastic).
Here is a really good tutorial for how to sew an elasticised waistband – if you are still confused check youtube for some visuals. This one is great too – I think I know what my next sewing project will be!
Depending on the finish at the bottom of the blouse, you could leave the original hem as the hem of your skirt – mine was very uneven so I cut it off and just did a standard hem (folded under twice).
If you have never done a hem before, here is a tip – iron it down first, it makes the whole process much easier and is well worth the extra effort. I also moved one of the buttons from the collar (that was cut off) down to the bottom of the skirt, to minimise the potential for accidentally flashing on a windy day! I’ll leave it up to you if you think it is necessary on your skirt
Now – your skirt is done! Try it on and see how it fits. Mine was a little puffy as I had left a little too much give for the elastic, so it needed a little waist tie – I used scraps of the material to make an approx 3cm wide band that I can tie around in a bow.
This little addition made it so cute and much more wearable, and definitely a great skirt for heading down to the beach or ducking to the shops.
What do you think? Are you going to give it a try? I would love to hear all about your favourite summertime DIY projects, below in the comments.