Frankenfashion Skirt

My second attempt at upcycled fashion was somewhat simpler in it’s design, but came out more versatile than I expected. I’m enjoying the creative process. It’s totally okay with me if the result is not what I had in my head when I started, as often the end product is better than what was in my head! Plus it’s all a learning experience and I’m getting a lot of sewing practice.

The Pieces

Item: Black Hi-Lo Pleated Skirt

Origin: Puchased years ago on clearance at Nordstrom Rack for $5.

Problem: Never liked the fit. It was a little snug at the waist and too many pleats making it stick out at my hips. Also being a cheap item (this was purchased before I went down the ethical fashion path) the elastic never sat correctly and I was always messing with it while wearing. Although I rarely wore the skirt.

What I liked about it: I liked the shear fabric over a slinky fabric. I like the hi-lo cut. Bonus that it was $5, but I still felt like I needed to get my money’s worth out of it so I couldn’t bear myself to part with the skirt.

The Concept

upcycled fashion design sketch of skirt into shirt
Upcycled Fashion Design Sketch

My idea was to turn the skirt into a top. The idea came from a pleated black shirt I used to own. I LOVED that shirt, but wore it to death. The shirt had long since been retired. I wanted to find a way to make this skirt the new version of that shirt.

The most tedious part of my design was removing the thick elastic from the waistband. Sewn in multiple places, it took a LOT of stitch removal to execute. I wanted to save the waist fabric so was trying to avoid cutting the whole section off completely, which was totally worth the effort.

Ulimately I thought of having some draping on my back to mirror the low hemline. I used some soft black fabric leftover from my previous project‘s tank top (pro tip: always keep your scraps!) to add to the neckline. I figured I could sew it along the front and make a sort of halter, which would then allow what was formerly the waist of the skirt to drape loosely in the back.

As I mentioned, things turned out a bit differently than planned. I did sew the band of fabric on the front, but discovered that by fitting the former waistband around me I could leave the band of fabric as the draped portion. This turned out to be better fitting (Big Boob Bra Problems), more versatile and really cool in my opinion!

The Final Product

I styled my new top multiple ways. Firstly, with a long black skirt and heels as a formal option. You can see the draping effect of the back. I can also envision wearing this with dressy trousers and a blazer. Second, with shorts as a casual option. Almost looks like a sassy summer dress, but definitely needed the shorts underneath. I tried two different options with the top. First, I used a scarf pin to collect the fabric in front creating more of a halter top. Then I tried a one shoulder option. I think they both look good, and I can change the style with my mood! Overall I’m super pleased with my new, versatile, upcycled fashion top. Onto the next project!