11.18.2014

sew lovely: I made a skirt from a tablecloth!

I developed an interest in sewing at a very young age.  My mother taught me how to sew and I took numerous sewing classes through our homeschool group.  I would sew clothes for myself, my dolls, and ventured into curtains, pillowcases, bags, and blankets as I got older.  I am very grateful my love of sewing has stayed with me into adulthood.  It's coming in very handy.  :)

In the months since Noah and I got married I've actually gained weight for the first time in I don't know how long.  I'm a lot happier and healthier than I was before, but sadly this also means I've outgrown some of my beloved clothing items.  I can no longer fit into my two favorite skirts from LOFT and this is what instigated one of my latest sewing projects.

Buying fabric from legit fabric stores is so expensive!  I remember the good old days when I could buy fabric for as little as $1 a yard.  But now you usually have to pay well over $3 a yard to get something even halfway decent.  Thrift stores have become my new fabric stores.  Blankets, sheets, curtains, cloth napkins, and even over-sized clothing can be transformed into whatever sewing project you desire.  I've managed to pick up these fabric materials for as little as $2 a piece/set.  You won't usually find yards and yards of fabric available, so making huge flowing curtains or a ball gown is out of the question.  But shirts, skirts, simple curtains, and even dresses are all possible with these thrifty finds.  When buying fabric from thrift stores I find it's easier to buy a fabric you like, maybe because it's in a favorite color or has a unique texture, and then think of something to make with it rather than doing it other way around.  I think it's a lot harder to find a specific kind of fabric for a project you've already dreamed up because then you're stuck in that box of expectation and the fabric you're dreaming of might not even exist at a price point you can afford.


To fill the skirt shaped hole in my heart I decided to make a swishy circle skirt out of a green tablecloth I bought for $2.  I used these two patterns as guidelines and set to work.  [StyleList] [Cotton and Curls]  The tablecloth was just big enough for the two half circle pieces I needed and there was even a little extra left on the sides which I added to the bottom of the skirt when it turned out a little shorter than I expected.  To mark the half circles I pinned one end of a piece of yarn to the middle of where the flat side of the half circle would be and put a knot in the yarn for my desired length.  I pulled the yarn tight and moved the end of it around in a half circle on the fabric and marked every so often where the knot fell on the fabric.  I used the waist equation from StyleList but I must have measured wrong or something because I ended up taking it in a couple inches so the waist of the skirt would sit in the right place on my waist.  Since I didn't want to use elastic or put in any gathers I needed the waist to be an exact size.  I did a zigzag stitch over all of the raw edges (so they won't fray over time) before folding them over for the seams and hems.  The black ribbon at the waist came from a beloved red dress that finally became too tight to wear comfortably.  The ribbon already had a tiny hem on the long edges so I just folded it in half long ways and sewed it over the top of the waist to finish it off nicely.  The side zipper came from a too-small pair of dress pants.  I finished off the zipper opening with a hook-and-eye closure.  Now I have a new skirt for only $2 and a couple of bits from some old clothes!

I really, really, really like my skirt!  :)  The color is great (I'm a huge fan of the color green) and I love how swishy and fancy it feels.  I am definitely going to make another one the next time I come across some skirt-appropriate fabric.  :)