Saturday, February 4, 2012

Upcycled Dress from a Skirt

This was another quick and easy project.  I started with an old skirt, made a few modifications, and now my daughter has a new princess dress (with sparkles, I might add).  As you can see, she is very excited :)

Here's what I used.  One old skirt (with sparkles, because all princesses need sparkles), .5" wide elastic, 1.5" wide grosgrain ribbon and matching thread.

This is what the skirt looked like before I started.  It was a Goodwill find, which cost $3.50.  Everything else I had on hand. I like to just use things I already have and see what I can come up with.

My first step was to measure around my daughter's chest just underneath her arms.  I added two inches to this measurement for ease.  My daughter's chest measurement was 21", so I wanted the final garment to be 23" around at the top.

Then I carefully remove the tag.  You see, all princesses are very sensitive and they can feel things that ordinary people just can't feel.  Think Princess and the Pea and you will get an idea of what I am working with here.

OK, back to the measurement thing.  With the skirt turned inside-out I measured across one half of the skirt, from seam to seam.  The skirt-half measured 14.5".  I subtracted this number from 23".  The difference was 8.5".  That number told me how much elastic I would need.

I cut a piece of elastic to 8.5" long.  I used a couple of zig-zag stitches back and forth across both ends of the elastic for finishing. 

The skirt I used had a zipper along the side.  I knew the zipper would make it difficult for me to sew close to the seam, so I unzipped the skirt.  I pinned the ends of the elastic to the side seams.  This will gather the side that I chose as the back of the dress.

I sewed the elastic as close to the top edge of the skirt as possible, while the skirt was still inside-out.  With the foot down, I inserted the needle and did a couple of stitches to secure the elastic in place.  Then, I stretched the elastic so that it laid flat along the edge of the skirt and sewed a zig-zag stitch all the way across.  Because of the length of the edge, I stretched the whole length out, then held the elastic in place at multiple places along this seam, gradually moving my hand down the seam while keeping it stretched out.
I made sure to stitch completely to the end of the elastic before removing the pin.  And I did a couple of stitches backwards and forwards to secure the edge.

I finished off theI bribed my princess with marshmallows (works EVERY time) to try the dress on so that I could tell where to put the grosgrain ribbon for straps.  I pinned them in place and used a fabric marker to mark the spots.  I double checked with a ruler to make sure they were evenly spaced apart.  You can barely see the blue markings in the picture above.

Before pinning the ribbon back on, I heat sealed the edges very carefully with a lighter.  I used one long piece of ribbon, rather than two short pieces.  Using the evenly spaced markings, I pinned the ribbon back in place with the edges on the inside of the dress.  After pinning the first edge of the ribbon, I folded it once and then pinned the other side down.  I did this so that it would lay flat in the back.  My princess is demonstrating the fold in this picture.

With the dress right-side out. I sewed both sides of the ribbon down.  I used a straight stitch and tried to sew as close to the top seam as possible.

I had her try the dress back on and pinned the back of the ribbon in place.  The final step was to sew the ribbon into place in the back.  I sewed directly over the seam I created when I sewed in the elastic.  I used a straight stitch.

You may be wondering why I used one long piece of ribbon instead of two.  I did that because it made it easier for me to make sure that they were at the same angle.  Also, by leaving the little bit of extra ribbon is there, I can always resize it later as she grows.

And there you have it!  Total project time in under 30 minutes (I am subtracting all the moments that involved bribery because that just wouldn't be fair!).  And, here she is enjoying her sparkly creation :)

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