Thursday, 31 July 2014

DIY: Floral button up skirt

It's been hot in the UK, let me tell you! Up to about 32 degrees C (90 F). It doesn't sound all that much if you are based on a different latitude, but around here, that's hot. And for a girl who grew up in a Nordic country, it's close to melting point. Some cool wardrobe pieces are most essential.

Despite this heat, yours truly acquired a cold. A bad one. Might have been the flu even. I was knocked off my feet for about 4 days, barely able to walk downstairs, yet unable to sleep. So what does one do? Well, there was a lot of whining and self-pity. There was also a lot of cuddling up next to the MacBook and watching movies. There might have been a few too many 1950s movies....

So by the time I emerged from this rather unpleasant vacuum of sickness none of my wardrobe would do. I wanted highwaisted ankle length full skirts, fitted bustier silk evening dresses, tailored blouses and pearls. In other words, Grace Kelly's wardrobe. I even played with the idea of cutting and bleaching my hair.

In the end I came to my senses, realised it's 2014 and that I can't really pull off that kind of elegance. But, it left a little idea...

For a button up skirt that works as a bathing suit cover-up. See instructions below.

There are quite a few steps, but don't let it put you off. This skirt is suuuupereasy. I made it in 2.5 h, and that's with writing instructions, photographing and Skyping my parents.


  • A dress or skirt a couple of sizes too large (mine is a UK 18, Europe 46, US 14 - the lady at the charity shop check out gave me an interesting look when I appeared with that)
  • Measuring tape
  • Buttons - how many depends on how long you want the skirt, maybe about 5 for a knee length skirt.
  • The usual suspects: scissors, pins, marker, sewing machine

  • Cut off the waistband if working with a skirt. If you have a dress, cut off the bodice.
    Give it a good iron to get out any creases.
  • Measure from your waist to where on the leg you want the skirt to finish. This is your skirt length.
    Measure it out from the hem of your skirt, mark and cut.
    Save the cut off bit, this will become the waistband.
  • Mark out the middle of your skirt and cut a straight line (through the top layer only).
  • On each side, measure 3 cm/1.2 inches from the raw edge.
    Fold in once and press with the iron.
    Fold in another time. Sew in place.
  • Measure your waist and ruffle the skirt so the top is that length when the two front edges are overlapped.
  • Now waistband. From the cut off bit in step 3, measure out a rectangle that is
    length: waist measurement + 6 cm/2.4 inches
    height: 12 cm/4.7 inches

    Zig zag all the way around the rectangle.
  • On each long side, fold in 2 cm/0.8 inches and press.
    On each short side, fold in 3 cm/1.2 inches, press and sew in place.
    Then fold the rectangle in half lengthwise.
  • Now marry your lovely waistband with your ruffled skirt.
    Open the waistband. Put the skirt on top up to the folding line. Then fold the waistband over and pin in place.
  • Now sew. Depending on how ruffled your skirt is you might end up with quite a lot of bulk in the waistband. I had this. I just sewed several lines spaced about 1 cm. It gave the waistband a quilted look but also pressed down the bulk. Go over it with the iron to give a neat finish.

  • Finish by making buttonholes (if you have not done this before, most sewing machine manuals actually have good instructions. Otherwise, Youtube, my friends.) and handsewing on buttons. I spaced them about 8 cm/3.1 inches apart. Since the skirt is loose fitting, there are no gap issues.
Last year I made a pastel blue skirt with pockets from a dress with a beautiful natural scalloped hem. I have worn it so much that it's now starting to look rather ready for retirement in the to-make-a-quilt-from-one-day pile.

I wish I could say I'm was off for a swim in Cannes, or even on the English riviera, but this gone weekend, dipping my toes in a lake, then heading to the outdoor pool had to do.


Post a Comment