CSI sewingSkirt Reconstruction
Bonjour et Bel Bonjou’! French and creole style!
We all have in our wardrobe a favourite garment we wear over and over because the fit is right, the fabric feels good and we love it so much.
For me it is a skirt. I bought it on the high street 5 years ago and I was wearing it at every opportunities.
But there is a “but”….it was black…..practical may be, but not fun,
I bought it before I started sewing but i always knew I would do a “Melania Trump” at some point: Copy it and have it forever, in all my favourite colours! I finally found the time to do it last month.
Knowing I probably wouldn’t wear the original again, I teared it apart and turned it into a pattern. I was very lucky that it was a straight pencil skirt with panels. Facilement easy!
This is not a tutorial as such but will hopefully inspire you to give it a go.
- A seam ripper (ever noticed how they magically disappear? Worse than a biro!)
- A tailor chalk (for other fabrics a thick marker pen is great)
- A tracing wheel
- An iron
- A camera
Step 1 – Unpicking
- I unpicked all the pieces, marked them all: Back, Front, Front yoke, pockets etc
- I took photos of what seemed complex for me to reproduce
- I removed loose and excess threads and ironed where needed
- Also marked the darts, pleats, etc. Unless you iron it like crazy, they will stay for years to come (mine has with other garments in the past)
- The right and left sides were exactly the same so I could keep only one side and discard the rest. I made sure I marked how many pieces I needed for the complete garment i.e Pockets cut x2
Step 2 – The new chosen fabric
- I went for a purple cotton satin. My favourite colour, my favourite fabric. It wasn’t exactly the same type of fabric as the original but I knew it would work
- Such a project should be done with a fabric with the same behavior as the original. It is best to guarantee the same fit
Don’t forget, if you need fabric advice I am available to take you fabric shopping!
Step 3 – Cutting
- Placed my deconstructed skirt (now my pattern pieces) onto my new fabric
- With basic knowledge, I know when it is cut in the fold or bias or grain line
- If you ever attempt this, BE CAREFUL here. If it was the perfect size cut as it is (you already have the seam allowances). Remember how you have cut it as you will need to sew your seams accordingly.
- I wouldn’t recommend a beginner this sort of project if it needs size alterations.
- Also be careful if your original garment has got a stretch that the new fabric doesn’t have or vice versa. You won’t have the same fit (see point above: Fabric, choose the same type.)
- I marked everything I could, darts and all with the wheel tracer or chalk
Step 3 – Sewing tIme!
- I played it by ear for my reconstruction and with experience it turned out easy. For the less experienced, any photos you took or notes you made will help
- I referred to the original as much as I could. The marks, folds, dents etc are precious clues to the reconstruction. It can take CSI proportion.
Et voila! My purple copy…
Je l’aime!! It fits like a glove.
I teamed it here with my first ever me-made blouse.
The hummingbird fabric was a bargain at Upton Park market at £2 a meter.
The pattern used is probably considered vintage now. It was a late 80’s Burda (#2561) my mum has kept and passed onto me.
Very easy for a beginner.
It is not the first time I have used this method and once the beloved garment is mastered there is room for creativity by:
- Altering the length of the skirt or it’s width to create pleats
- If it’s a top remove the sleeves to create a different look.
- If it’s a dress turn it into a skirt and top combo
- Add trims like bias binding, piping, ribbons
The possibilities are endless.
My first attempt was a dress which I have turned on its head by now and is my go-to pattern when I need something quickly.
Looking after my new patterns: I carefully stored them. Rolled up, not folded because I don’t want to add more creases to the originals. Flat would be good if i had the space.
Et Voila!! I have the satisfaction to know that I will be, for the rest of my life, wearing my favourite skirt, in my favourite fabrics!
Do you think you’ll give it a go?
Photos by Erlandas M.