Let’s just jump right in shall we?
1. Dress (See Step 1)
2. Sewing machine
3. Matching thread
5. Rotary Cutter
6. Marking Chalk
7. Metal pins
8. 1 inch elastic
9. Seam Ripper
10. Iron and ironing board
11. 2 Safety Pins
1. Go get yourself a frumpy (optional, but most likely the only option), oversized dress from D.I. or a thrift store for a couple bucks. Mine was $6 (overpriced I think). You want it to be long enough to at least hit your mid calf. Also, make sure it is in a print you love…obvi.
Make sure to wash your dress before you start sewing.
2. Cut the dress at the seam where you would like it to go around your waist and discard the top part….unless you want an ugly crop top which you don’t.
3. Cut a strip of 1 inch wide elastic the length of your waist plus 2 inches.
(waist length + 2 inches= length of elastic). Can I make it more clear? I used black elastic because that is all I had, you can go for white or whatever tickles your fancy.
4. Turn your skirt inside out and iron the waist part of the skirt down 1/4″ all the way around the skirt.
It will look like this when you are done ironing…
5. Iron it down again 1 1/2″. What I do is I measure and pin sections first using all metal pins so that I can iron over the pins. If you use pins with plastic heads, it will melt when you iron over it.
6. After it is all ironed and pinned, bring the skirt to the sewing machine and sew a straight stitch close to the lower edge of the fold of the waist. Make sure you back stitch and DO NOT sew all the way around. Leave at least a 1 1/2 inch opening at the end of sewing. This is where the elastic will go in.
stop about here
7. Put a safety pin on one end of the elastic and work the elastic through the opening of the waistband of the skirt. Using the safety pin, push the elastic all the way through and around the waistband casing. Be sure to pin the other end of the elastic to the opening so that it does not go into the casing and you will have to start over again. You want both ends of the elastic to be on the open end of the waistband casing. This part can be tricky. There will be a lot of gathering because the casing is a lot longer than the elastic length. As you push the elastic through be sure to even the gathers around the elastic.
8. Once the elastic is all the way through the casing and you have both ends through the opening, take off the safety pins and use a pin to overlap the elastic over each other 1 inch. This will make the elastic 2 inches shorter which is why I had you add 2 inches to the elastic when you were cutting it. Double check and make sure the elastic did not get twisted in the casing because you will want to have that fixed before you sew the elastic together.
9. Bring the elastic to the sewing machine and sew a box with a dash through it on the overlapped part of the elastic. (I used white thread so it would show up in pictures.)
10. Push the elastic through the waistband casing and sew the opening shut.
Ta-Da! Just kidding. But you could be done if you want because you would have a pretty rad midi skirt. But keep reading if you want a high- low skirt.
11. Undo the hem of the skirt. You can do this by either cutting it off or getting a seam ripper and unpicking the hem. I chose to unpick because I wanted as much length to work with as possible. I was left with just a surged hem which is fine. It can be a raw hem too, either way works.
12. Try on the skirt and in the front center mark with marking chalk where you want the front part or the “high” part to hit on your body. The mark will be how short the skirt will be.
13. Fold the skirt in half with the front of the skirt on the right and the back of the skirt on the left. So what you are looking at in the below picture is of the SIDE of the skirt. You want to make sure the skirt is as flat as can be so make room and spread out the skirt as much as you can. Oh and for this part, make sure you are on a surface that you can use a rotary cutter, like on a mat.
14. Using a rotary cutter, start cutting at the front (right) of the skirt 1 1/4 inch below the chalk mark you made. and gradually finish cutting at the back of the skirt. You may not be able to tell from the picture but I stayed pretty horizontal at the front of the skirt and at the back. I honestly just eyeballed it. Before I started cutting I quickly used my chalk and drew a line across the skirt of where I would like to cut to get that nice gradual diagonal almost ‘S’ shape. It is really IMPORTANT that you keep the fabric FLAT where you will be cutting (The top of the skirt can be bunchy) before and during cutting or else you will cut the skirt weird. You can then discard the part of the skirt you cut off or save it in your scrap pile…whatever.
15. Turn the skirt inside out and iron up the hem 1/4 inch. After ironing all the way around, Pin up again 1 inch and iron. This part can be tricky because the hem is longer in circumference at the bottom of the skirt and becomes shorter in circumference the higher up the skirt you move. So, when you move up 1 inch on the skirt, the hem circumference is longer than the part of the skirt you are trying to pin. Does that make sense? It is like trying to pin a long piece of fabric to a shorter piece of fabric making sure it is flat all around. When you are pinning there will be a lot of pushing and stretching to make sure it is even all around and lays flat or is at least flat when you pull on it between each pin because it has to be flat when you go to sew it or else there will be bunching which you don’t want. If you are a beginner, you will get what I am talking about when you get to this step and go to pin the hem up.
16. Once the skirt is pinned and ironed all the way around, sew the hem close to the upper fold similar to step 6. But this time sew all the way around…don’t leave an opening 😉 Make sure to back stitch at the beginning and end. When you are done sewing, do a quick run through of the skirt and cut any loose threads.