Spicing It Up! DIY Skirt Alteration

Sometimes, there are things in life that are pretty fantastic, but a bit of extra effort could make them even more so. That mentality can lead to furthering an education or moving to a different city…

This skirt belongs to one of the nieces & the sparkly glam is enough to make me jealous!

This skirt belongs to one of the nieces & the sparkly glam is enough to make me jealous!

Or adding fabrics. What looks remarkable in and of itself can take on a whole new level of beauty with a bit of thought or creativity. Example? This skirt. It belongs to one of the nieces, and the sparkly prettiness is enough to make me jealous that I don’t have a skirt like this one. What I do have though is material from my own clothing that zipper-made holes ruined, and the color scheme was kind of perfect to go along with the niece’s pretty, sparkly skirt.

Well, there was no sense in throwing away usable material that could be a sewing project, right? This might or might not have been my logic before diving into said project.

So, let’s break this down, shall we?

Let’s begin! Step-by-Step

The mission: Use the zippered-up material on the already wonderful and sparkly skirt.

The process: Simple, but effective!

Step 1: Cut the zippered-up material into usable pieces. To do this, I first cut away the zipper territory, then cut along the clothing’s seam. That seam was easier to follow than an imagined line, so there was less chance of me getting waaaaay off in my cutting. The results weren’t small enough to use at this point, but they were flat enough to help me gauge what I needed to do for the future.

Cut off the underlining black fabric from my ripper-ruined clothing.

Cut off the underlining black fabric from my ripper-ruined clothing.

Step 2: Cut off the underlining black fabric from my ripper-ruined clothing. This way, it was completely separate from the pattern I wanted to use, and it was handy for an underlining detail for the skirt. Win/win, right?

Step 3: Pin the underlining material to the skirt using straight pins. Luckily, it didn’t matter (since I didn’t think about it) if the line from my sewing matched to any line in the skirt because the floral pattern would cover it anyway. I just needed to make sure I stayed in the vicinity of the skirt’s already-present hem in order to not go so off-base with my sewing that the end result looked crooked.

Step 4: Hem the underlining fabric and make sure it came together when it needed to overlap at the end of its line. Again, it’s a good thing no one is supposed to see this piece of material because the section I used needed an extra piece sewn on to make it all the way around. That random addition might stick out, but who knows if I don’t tell them, right? Hey! You live and learn! I also made sure to cut away extra bits of material after I’d sewn so that there wasn’t excess falling well below the hem I’d created.

Step 5: Move on to the patterned fabric! After I looked over my options with the material I had, I decided on the piece that was at the bottom of the underlining black material so I could make use of the manufactured hem of the fabric. In addition, the material would already be set up for equal enough proportions since it began and ended in generally the same way from start to finish. All I needed to do was follow the same lines of the material to get a decent look for the skirt.

It's time to straight pin the skirt!

It’s time to straight pin the skirt!

Step 6: Once I’d selected the fabric I would use, it was time to straight pin it to the skirt! I kept it loose enough that the skirt didn’t bunch (if you pin it too tightly, you might end up with a pinched look you don’t care for) and made sure the fabric was being sewn above the underlining material. I also considered, this round, where my seam would be since A) I actually remembered, and B) it mattered since people would be able to see it. While the seam isn’t in exact line with the skirt’s side seam, at least it didn’t randomly show up in the front or something!

Almost there…

The final step of the process!

The final step of the process!

Step 7: Sew along the general area of those straight pins, and to piece together the floral fabric itself at the right moment when the sides would overlap. I did, however, have to make sure that the edges at the very bottom of that overlap would even out by adding a small hem. Since the overall hem was already there from the original clothing’s design though, that would be the final step of the process!

And, there you go! A pretty, sparkly skirt that has been upgraded into a pretty, sparkly skirt with matching material as an accessory!

What do you think?

Express Yourself

Express yourself.When shopping in a department store or online, you’re stuck with today’s fashions and color trends. If these suit your body style and personality, count yourself lucky! For the creative types among us, these can often feel confining. Sewing your own clothes and accessories is a great way to express yourself.

Fabrics Galore

Whether you like cottons, silks, man-made blends or a unique combination there’s a dizzying array of colors, prints and patterns available online and at your nearest fabric shop. If you like bright, bold designs or something more earth-toned, there’s a multitude of choices available.

Patterns and Freehand

If you’re one of those super talented folks who can create your own patterns, count yourself lucky. You’ve got an additional way to express yourself with your wardrobe. If you’re not one of those people, don’t worry about it – you can still express yourself with a pattern. There are so many patterns available, ranging from simple to complex.

Scarf Dance

Ok, you don’t really have to dance if you don’t want to, but making a scarf, or a number of them, in fabrics that compliment and enhance your existing clothes is and easy and fun way to express your personality with your wardrobe. Scarves aren’t terribly expensive to make and they’re so much fun, you may actually want to dance and spin with them. If you’re not one for scarves, the same project can also be used to make a fabulous belt.

If there’s a fabric or pattern that’s calling to you, go with it.

Go Wild

You don’t have to be a fan of animal prints or bold colors to express your wild side. Polka dots, swirls, paisley and other patterns in a variety of muted hues give your wardrobe the personality and zing it’s been lacking. They work well as scarves or other accessory pieces, or larger projects such as shirts, skirts, dresses or pants. You can even bring your style into the office by using these fabrics to create a business suit or sport jacket.

Don’t Hold Back

If there’s a fabric or pattern that’s calling to you, go with it. If it seems outside your normal style, all the better. Having one or two pieces that stand out from your usual wear means you can express your wild side when it needs to be freed without feeling pressured to show it off all the time. Days you want to stand out from the crowd, you’ll have a couple of unique pieces to show off.

Find Your Balance

We all have a wild side and a more conservative side. Create pieces that allow you to express both sides – or anything in between! If you have more conservative days than wild days (or vice versa), create the appropriate number of pieces and accessories to give you the right balance for your style and your life.

Share some of your favorite pieces – the ones that you feel express the real you.

I Didn’t Think It Would Look Like This

I Didn’t Think It Would Look Like This

Oops!We’ve all been there. You spend hours, days even, working on a sewing project. In your mind, you’ve got this image in your head of the gorgeous completed project, but when it’s finally done it doesn’t look anything like you thought it would. You thought it would be a simple one, so you didn’t bother with a muslin mock up, but it’s not at all what you expected or wanted. So now what?


If you’re like me, you spend a fair amount of time grumbling and cursing about the “messed up” project or worrying about what you’re going to wear to the event instead. This is helpful short-term. It lets off the stress and and can be cathartic, but it doesn’t really solve anything.


Once you’ve finished grumbling and worrying, try the piece on again. Take a careful look at the seams. Can you alter them to change the fit so it’ll more closely match your vision? Maybe adding some darts or a tuck at the waist would help?


Often the picture on the front of the pattern package shows people wearing shoes or jewelry. Can you add your own accessories or shoes to make the item more closely match your imagined outcome? Maybe a shawl or scarf would help?

Change it Up

Sometimes, when choosing a fabric, you might choose one that turns out not to flow the expected when it’s all sewn up. In these cases, rather than remaking the entire project, add sections of another fabric in areas that will help the flow. It’s nerve wracking to cut apart a completed project, but since you’re not going to wear it the way it is anyway you don’t have much to lose.

Embellish It

Try adding a little pizazz to change the look of your sewing project. Patches, lace work, embroidery, beading, or other fancy details can completely alter the look of your project and provide it with a touch of class or color that may help it more closely match the vision in your head.

Combine It

Depending on how different your vision is from the completed project, combining two or more of these techniques may be necessary. In most cases, though, it’s possible to save the project and make it work for you – sometimes in ways you didn’t expect.

What other techniques have you tried to make your project work?