September 2, 2010

From frumpy to flirty

Kludging goal: Make a cute skirt out of an ugly one
Kludging skill level: Some basic sewing skills required
Permanence: No going back
Starting materials:  A long elastic-waist skirt, much too big
Required tools: Seam ripper, sharp scissors, straight pins, sewing machine or needle & thread

I've seen cute short, full skirts with elastic waists everywhere this summer. It seemed like an easy thing to find at a thrift store, but I struck out. I did find this big ugly skirt, though, which got the kludging juices flowing.

Mother of the Bride meets Big Love

The overall size was much too big, but it seemed well-constructed out of a pale blue silk. It had an existing elastic waist, so I knew it would be a cinch to cinch.

I started by ripping a hole in the inside of the waistband and then cut the elastic.

These are my Don't Run With Scissors scissors.
Then I tried the skirt on and yanked the free end of the elastic through until it fit my waist.

When I was satisfied with the waist, I pinned the elastic in place and cut off the excess. I then stitched the elastic to the waistband to keep it in place.

Next came the shortening; I measured a skirt I already had that was an appropriate length, and cut the new skirt to the same length, plus 3" extra for the hem.

Next came a quick hem: I measured and marked where I wanted the hem to end up, folded the bottom edge under twice, pinned*, and sewed the whole way around. Quick and easy.

*I never do this unless I absolutely can't get away with it. The slipperiness of the silk made it impossible to just fold and sew without pinning. I huffed about it the whole 3 minutes it took me.  

Pin marks the hem length. Folding once...

...and twice.

Pinned the whole way around. Something this kludger almost never does.

A quick stitch.
Spoiler alert: I was too lazy to iron the hem flat. 

I'm very happy with the way it turned out. I've worn this skirt several times since I made it (it's a bit too short for work, so it's not as versatile as it could have been). Most times I've tucked a tank into the skirt and covered the waistband with a wide elastic belt.

So what is it you do here?

Welcome to The Style Kludge! 
Outfit results not typical.
This blog stems from my love of fashion and my unwillingness to do anything about it. Since a very young age, I have safety-pinned, packaging-taped, stapled, knotted, glued, and rubber-banded my way to a customized wardrobe. I've never had much patience for "real" sewing (I made a dress from a pattern one time, at age 12. The fabric was black with red and white dice all over it; I wore it once. My track record is not good), but I've always been creative and experimental with clothing. Even my Barbie clothes were covered in puffy paint and held together with Elmer's. It wasn't until recently that I discovered that this isn't the norm for everyone else. You mean you buy stuff off the rack? At a store? And just...wear it? When I happened across the wonderful word kludge, I knew that's the perfect way to describe what I do, and why I do it. With this blog, I hope to share some kludging techniques and learn some from my readers. Enjoy!