Monday, 5 March 2012

Apparently, embarrassment breeds creativity...

On my way home today, I visited a local charity shop to check out its wares. Usually a good place for inspiration (and a cheap place to find materials). I quickly found a few of dresses to try on and headed into the small changing cubicle to the side of the till. The one I had been most drawn to was a white and green number with a full twirly skirt and, not one to be deterred completely by it being labelled a tad too small, I tried it on.

After several minutes of swearing and tugging, I managed to get it over my shoulders. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that although the top was far too small, that the skirt part fit perfectly, but nonetheless it was a whole dress not a skirt. I was about to disguard it and leave empty-handed when fate decided to meddle...

Getting the dress back over my head proved more difficult, even, than getting it on and, perhaps inevitably, I heard a tiny, but very definite, ripping sound. I stood completely still in the changing room wondering what to do and hoping against hope that the women behind the desk in the shop hadn't heard it. In that moment out of embarrassment was born inspiration: if I cut the skirt part off the top part and moved the zip from the top to the bottom, it could be a skirt and, more importantly, I wouldn't have to explain the rip to the volunteers. I had been in the changing room for a pretty long time by now so took a deep breath and pulled, no longer worried about ripping: I had a plan. When I had got it over my head, I bought the dress and hurried home to put the plan into action.

The dress (well the top of it...) scissors poised!      
First I pinned the lining to the outer fabric and cut across the waistline of the dress. I then cut the zip out of the top half with a couple of centimetres of fabric either side of it (important later...).

Next I pinned the top edge of the skirt into a more finished hem-edge by rolling it over. On the side of the skirt, I undid one seam (on both the outer layer and the lining) so that I could put the zip in. Now, I've always been told that putting in zips is REALLY TRICKY (N.B Capitals to suggest gravitas and the sheer number of times I've been told this) but the way I've done it, it was incredibly easy. The spare bits of fabric either side of the zip itself helped immensely (see, told you they would be important!) because I could just pin the opened seam edges to the zip edges and machine-sew up the sides: what could be simpler? I'm fully willing to admit that it might be much harder on a garment that you've fully made yourself but I'm still going to bask in the glory of my fully-functioning and evenly spaced zip!

Once the zip was pinned in, I went around the hem of the top edge and crossed my fingers. At this point, I was still kind of expecting it not to work: it would fall down or be banana shaped and not skirt shaped anymore or just not fit and I'd have to go back to the drawing board and add a panel or something.

Happily, it has worked perfectly! Now an embarrassing incident has yielded a lovely summery skirt (and a blog post!) and it only took about an hour altogether. Now to think of something to do with the top half... 

Voila, the finished skirt!

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