Don’t waist a good skirt!
(This is an “after” shot… see the below for what this skirt looked like before!)
In reaction to an ever-increasing pile of clothes waiting to be altered, I have resolved many, many times to only buy clothes that are just right for me already. That resolution goes out the window every time I find something that would be perfect if only it were “shorter/longer/smaller/bigger/patched up/insert other improvement here“, so of course
I was powerless to resist when I found this silk skirt at Vinnies recently. It was too big (size 16, probably from the ’80s, which makes it more like a size 18 (?) now. You can see it’s way too large and the wrong shape for me by the way I’m holding it up and making my not quite right face in these “before” photos) but look at that colour! Plus, the brand is Sportscraft, an iconic Australian brand which is known for its quality.
Here it is laid out flat, front and back view (the buttons are on the back) complete with wrinkles. Here’s a DIY tip: when you’re about to refashion something, it’s always a good idea to iron it first as wrinkles (or more to the point, lack of them) make a big difference to a garment’s appearance and even to how it drapes on your body.
I decided to unpick the waistband and gather the waistline of the skirt to fit me. There were darts on both the front and back of the skirt (ie between my index finger and thumb) which I unpicked to free up more material and add more volume to the gathers.
(Oh, and yes, as you’ll see on the tag, this skirt was priced at only $6!! I did not actually pay for it as it was a gift from Vinnies. Aren’t I spoilt!)
After removing most of the waistband (I just left the very end part attached to the skirt) I made gathers along the waistline to fit it to my waist measurement.
Having cut and finished off the end of the waistband to match my waist size (plus an extra 2cm or so to account for the overlap where the buttonhole goes over the button), I pinned and stitched the waistband back on, then tried the skirt on and pinned the hem to work out how long I wanted the finished skirt to be.
Once it was pinned and hanging straight, I cut off the excess and finished off the hem (as you can see, I took quite a bit off! I think I might make a little crop top kind of thing for summer with the excess).
Now the skirt looks like this – one reason I removed the darts was so I could wear it with the buttons either at the back or at the front. (Darts serve to fit a garment to the curves of the body, so if I had left them in it would have been obvious which way the skirt was meant to go).
With the buttons at the front, the skirt feels a bit more casual. The top I’m wearing is a DIY from a while ago, made from a scarf I found at an op shop (coincidentally, another Vinnies store!)
Well, I might have said it feels casual, but not quite casual enough for walking the dog. Sorry, Kelly!
Worn as it was intended (ie buttons at the back) the skirt looks somehow more dressy.
I remade this jacket ages ago but haven’t worn it much. Maybe I was subconsciously waiting for a skirt like this*? I love how bright they are together. I can’t wait for warmer weather to really step out in this colour combo!
Although my lack of willpower still worries me, I’m very happy I didn’t leave this skirt in the shop. Definitely one of my more successful examples of spotting potential!
An '80s size 16 is more likely to equate to today's size 14 or even 12; sizes tend to get bigger over time as the population ages. However, Sportscraft has always been a mature woman's brand so its sizing would be more generous than a youthful brand.
Oops, yes, Mel you're right, the sizing goes the other way! But I'll leave the copy as it is I think, so that your comment makes sense. Thanks for stopping by, I'm very honoured!!
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