DIY · Style · Thrifts

She’s Trading Her MG for a White Chrysler LeBaron

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So, confession: Since the Goodwill opening, I’ve been back 3 times. I don’t know if they’re “stacking the deck” for the first month or what, but I’ve hit thifting gold there lately. I’ve got a basket full of projects that I’m excited to tackle in the next few weeks.

Today’s project is not one of those, however. This one came from several months back – a leftover from one of my 31 Days challenges.

I was looking for a short red skirt to wear with my gray boots, but after several tries, this was all I found –

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a very large and long skirt. I didn’t really pay much attention to the length or size – I didn’t even try it on, I knew it was way too big. I was thinking I would chop the top portion of the skirt off and do my 3-inch elastic trick to make it work.

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But then last week, when I pulled it from my to-do pile, I realized it was a lovely Jones New York silk skirt with POCKETS! Well, that changed everything. I was afraid of trying to attach the elastic to silk, and I really wanted to keep those pockets in tact. I tried it on for the first time and found that it was a great maxi skirt length that just needed tweaking at the waistband. I got out my seam ripper and got to work.

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The great thing about taking apart a skirt is that you learn so much about garment construction. This is no fold over and sew job – the way I usually make skirts with hidden elastic. No, the waistband was completely separate with the tightest of stitching to attach it to the skirt – I’m talking only millimeters of allowance. I’m just not that skilled. And then the waistband had two additional rows of stitching to keep the elastic in place.

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Which meant lots and lots of seam ripping.

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And lots of red thread on my white blouse.

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You can see I’m taking the slightly-less-than-professional route and stretching the skirt around my knees in hopes pulling the elastic very tightly and making seam ripping go as quickly as possible. Which wasn’t very quick at all. Especially when you have to do the whole thing twice (more on that later).

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So after taking everything apart, I pulled out the elastic to go find another similar piece in the garage to use for the new waistband. I was actually starting to dig into the elastic stash when I realized I could just REUSE THE ELASTIC. Really?! Why was that not my first thought? Oh. my. gosh.

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So I put the elastic around my waist and pinned it to fit. This is really important, because, honestly, it DID fit when I did this. Maybe a little loosely, but it still fit.

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I used chalk to mark the the middle of the front, back, and sides of the skirt and the elastic.

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I lined up the chalk marks and pinned the elastic in place.

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I stitched the waistband pocket closed, and then I added two additional rows of stitches to keep the elastic in place, just like it was originally. (I just followed the holes that were still in the waistband – easy sewing!)

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Everything was going along swimmingly. A friend had just posted about Cake’s “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” on Facebook, so I pulled up my old “workout” playlist that has that song and was stitching along with some good memory tunes. I finished it up and tried it on. It was still WAY too big. What?! What happened? I still have no idea.

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So I took the whole thing apart AGAIN and took another 3 inches off of the waistband.

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And I repeated the whole process over. Except this time, I only did one extra row of stitching, not two. You know, just in case I needed to take it apart again.

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And now it’s done!

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This should have been a very easy project. I blame Cake for distracting me.

And, funny thing, I was at the thrift store over the weekend, and I opened my thrift wish list and saw “maxi skirt – bright color (red?)” from weeks ago. Done!

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