When I first unwrapped my secret garment I was surprised to find a kilt! Well, a ladies kilt-style skirt to be precise, but definitely very traditional in nature. I must admit that initially I was a bit perplexed about how to approach the refashioning of this garment. This was a really good quality garment, but it’s not something I’d gravitate towards in a charity shop.
But that’s the very genius of this mystery refashioning project: challenging the participants’ creativity, which is what you have to rely on when taken out of your comfort zone!
So I ‘sat on’ the garment for a while and let my ideas stew. Upcycling a garment can mean a dramatic remake into something unexpected, or simply shortening the hem line, and everything in between. My early ideas for this skirt erred towards the more extreme end of that spectrum. I was picturing some sort of cropped jacket or cape with the pleated sections being used for the sleeve parts and the buckles reused as an asymmetric fastening. But thinking about it, I realised there possibly wouldn’t be enough fabric and I didn’t have enough time to commit to such a major overhaul. So I scaled my thoughts down somewhat and settled on attempting to creating a sexier, updated version of the original traditional kilt-skirt style.
I started by carefully unpicking and ‘harvesting’ the waistband and buckle fastenings to be used later. I have to say that this skirt was solidly made! It felt like it had been welded rather than stitched together, unpicking took several sittings. I also unpicked the darts front the flat sections and gently pressed the area flat.
Using a basic pencil skirt pattern, I cut the front piece from the flat part of the original skirt. I marked the new darts then stitched and pressed them inwards.
The pleated section of the original skirt sat around the back. The pleats had been stitched in a kind of graduation so that they created a curve at the rear, rather than using darts. I really liked this and wanted to incorporate it into my refashioned version. I cut a section from the pleated part that was a bit bigger that my back skirt pattern piece. The pleats had been edge-stitched down to just below the wearers bottom, but I decided it would be fun to edge-stitch them down further so that the pleats flared and kicked out like a fish tail when the wearer walked. I pinned the pleats down and stitched to a certain horizontal line in the check, then gave the back section a press.
Pinning the dart closed on the back skirt pattern piece, I laid this down on the pleated section and cut out the back piece of my skirt. With my front and back pieces now cut out, I overlocked all four side edges to neaten them. The front and back pieces were stitched together along the right hand side seam and the seam was pressed open.
Now was the time to reattach that previously harvested waistband. Measuring along the top edge of my pencil skirt pattern gave me the measurement I needed to cut my waistband to. The waistband had a stiff interfacing which I wanted to retain, so pinned it to the waistband to keep it in place until the final row of stitching caught it inside. I stitched the waistband along the top edge of the skirt, right sides facing.
With one half of the waistband attached, I measured the length of my zip and stitched the remaining side seam closed from the base of the zip will come to the hem. I pressed this seam open also. The zip was inserted into the opening on the left side seam trapping the waistband edges at the same time. I then ‘stitched in the ditch’ along the line where the waistband joins the upper skirt, thus trapping the remaining edge of the waistband to the skirt and the stiff interfacing inside.
I wanted to include the original buckle fastenings because they are such an integral design feature of a kilt that no kilt reworking would look right without them. I placed them over the zip which served to slightly obscure the zip fastening.
With that icing on the cake, I declared my kilt-skirt refashion complete!
Thanks so much Zoe. My favourite part has got to be that fishtail effect. Genius! Sorry for sending you something with “welded” seams! But at least you’ll never be short of a sexy little number for Burns Night or Hogmanay! Great twist on a classic garment. Yay for refashioning!
Still loads more to come this week!
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