Cute crafts, nerdy crafts, frilly crafts, girly crafts, guy-friendly crafts, ALL THE CRAFTS!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How to Re-size a Circle Skirt

First off, I'm sure there are a million and one ways to do this better than I did it.  I am NOT a seamstress, as will be immediately obvious in case you didn't already know from previous posts.  What little I know is self-taught or from watching other people.  I currently only sew by hand, though I do hope to have a machine in the future!

Either way, I had success with this and it is holding together quite well, so I figured it may be useful.  If I can do this with my very limited sewing skills, then anyone can!  This is a great way to be able to snag those skirts you see that are just a size or two too small as long as you can stand to sacrifice a few inches in the length.

First, you'll need a circle skirt or any other type that flares out immediately from the waist, that flares out wide enough to accommodate you around the widest part of your hips, sine we're using elastic and you want it to go over.  I found this one at a thrift store for a dollar and knew I just had to have it, but it was just baaarely too small.  This must have been made for one tall chick.  I have a 37" inseam and this baby struck me almost at the ankles.  I wanted it mid-calf, so I could definitely sacrifice a bit of length to make it fit!  I love this skirt because usually when you see poodle skirts they are that heavy, godawful, scratch, felt crap.  This is cotton and the applique is some sort of cute, wool-type stuff.

What you'll need to get started are a sewing needle, pins, thread, scissors, and some elastic, cut to fit your waist or hips or wherever you want the skirt to hang from.  To do this, just wrap it around the chosen area at the tightness you feel comfortable with, then cut it to that size, plus maybe 1/2 inch to allow for the fabric gathered around it.

The next step is to cut off the portion of the skirt that is too small.  You may have to hold it up to yourself and stretch at it to see the actual fabric size if it gathers under the elastic like mine does.  If you're not sure, then cut off just the elastic band, then keep trying it on until it goes over your hips with an inch or two to spare to allow for the folding around the elastic and stretching and such.

I eyeballed it and cut about 2 inches below the elastic and mine came out way too big and my first reaction was "oh shit" because I figured I'd fucked the whole project off.  I decided to keep going with it and I'm glad I did. Since the elastic fit and the skirt part was so big, it is all gather-y and swishy.  Keep in mind, also, the more you have to squish the fabric up onto the elastic, the more ruffly and wavy your skirt will be.

Once you've cut that all off, flip it inside-out and thread your needle.  I used white because I didn't have light pink and the way I stitched it, you can't see the stitches from the outside anyway.

Then, take your elastic, put it in a circle, and stitch it together.  I wasn't sure how to do this, so I just stitched it until I was sure it would hold, then I stitched it some more.  When I was happy it was sufficiently reinforced, I stitched it yet more for good measure.  I'm sure there is a much easier way to do this, but this is how I did it.  It worked fine and took me about an hour for the whole skirt, breaks not included.

Next, I rolled the fabric around the elastic twice, then began stitching the roll closed on the inside, being careful not to pierce through the elastic.  I do not own an iron, so the pins turned out to be useless.  I tried pinning it anyway, but due to the way a circle skirt is...well...a circle, I couldn't get everything to gather right with no iron, (not that I'd know how to do it WITH an iron), so I just decided to do the whole fold-hold-sew method and luckily it worked out beautifully.  If it isn't even at the bottom, you can't tell, so for a dollar skirt and a dollar for the elastic...I'm happy.

I kept at it, trying to keep my stitches very tiny on the outside and showing most of my shoddy craftsmanship on the inside, as you can see here.  :)

This, by the way, is what usually happens when I try to sew or do any large craft project that involves the floor, the sofa, and either fabric or paper:

Nope.  not moving.


Still nope.

Every time I'd try to move the fabric to get to another part, she'd put her ears back in irritation and refuse to move, so I'd end up dragging her with it and if she started to slide off the fabric, she would scoot back onto it to make sure she continued to annoy me.  Anyway, continue stitching all the way around.  As you get farther down, you'll have to squish the fabric up and move it up the elastic .  I found it was easier to keep all the fabric squished up as much as possible and just move it around the elastic evenly at the end when I got ready to stitch up the last part.

After sewing for what felt like forever, I reached the ribbon.  It was held on by just a few stitches and some sort of long-dried-up fabric glue, so I just re-stitched it where it was coming up.  On the top where I ran the elastic, I just pulled the end I'd snipped back a little, clipped the stitch you see above to give me room, then did the fold-and-roll continue thing and once I was done, I just looped that little end over the roll, stitched it down on the inside, and didn't even have any excess!

Done!  It now hits mid-calf, which is exactly where I want it, only now it fits!

You can't even see my stitches from the outside, I'm pretty happy with it!

Close-up of the poodle because I love it...




  1. Super cute skirt! And gotta love your furry little helper =)

    1. Funny how helpers turn out to be hindrances so often....