Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Made by a Fabricista: A Convertible Skirt

Have you ever heard of a convertible skirt? It's a skirt that doubles as a strapless dress. The waistband is like a yoga pants waistband that folds over as a skirt, and then you unfold it and pull it up higher if you want to wear it as a strapless dress!

I've been wanting to try one for a while, and when I saw this gorgeous rayon knit at Fabric Mart last month, I decided it would be perfect for this project.  Here is it is as the dress on my dress form:



And here it is as a skirt on me!



The pattern is New Look 6379. It is a super easy pattern with just two pieces for the skirt- the waistband and the skirt itself. You can make the skirt straight or with the handkerchief hem, and I decided to try the handkerchief hem to have fun with the stripe of the knit. The rayon knit is very stretchy, so I did need to cut a couple sizes smaller than normal.



There is elastic in the waist, near the bottom where the skirt attaches to the waistband. This helps to secure it as a skirt, but does nothing to secure it as the dress bodice! I'm pretty sure that if I wore this as a dress, I would be constantly worried that it would be falling down. So, if you try this pattern as a dress, I'd recommend sticking with a fabric that has a high lycra content, and great bounceback- something like a swimwear or active wear fabric might be a better choice!

The hem looks complicated, but it really is all just straight lines that when hanging down, form this unusual hemline.  Here you can see a little more of what the skirt piece shape is:

But left to hang loose, it looks like this from the side:



I knew that I wanted to wear this with a black tank top, and found this pretty pattern in my Burda magazine from July of 2007. If you have this issue, check it out! It's a fun tank with a twist. I made it using a jet black rayon jersey from Fabric Mart also. I also made a white tank version, but it looked a little too pajama like, and I decided that I liked the black version much better.



The construction is very clever. The front has very long straps that you knot and then attach to the back.  You cut a second front piece that ends just below the bust, and this serves as a facing for the strap, neckline and armhole area of the front. Really, really fun to sew!



I did not hem the skirt.  With knits that don't ravel, hemming is completely optional. I think that the raw edge is a more modern finish, and goes well with the abstract art fabric design.  You can kind of see the stripe more clearly in the sitting pose here. 




Have you tried making a convertible skirt pattern? Although I probably won't be wearing this as the dress, I really do like it as a skirt, and will be making more! It's super quick and easy, and great for a skirt with a little something different.



Happy sewing!



Ann

5 comments:

  1. Looks great! Perfect for hot summer days

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  2. Hey there! Cute skirt/dress! Suits you beautifully. Off the top of my head, I'm just wondering how complicated it might be to add a casing for some 3/8" elastic to the top edge of the "dress" to help keep it in place? If you made the elastic the same length as the hips/waist area that it folds to, and zigzag it in place all around, it shouldn't bunch up when worn as a skirt, and most women have a larger high bust measurement than their waist and hips anyway, which should give you the "oomph" you're looking for. I'll be making one soonish, and I'll be trying that (I'll also need to double the width of the waistband so that the seam actually gets to the empire line on me as a dress) as well as adding buttonholes or twill tape loops for buttons or hooks on straps that I'll need to add for stability and bra coverage when I wear it as a dress, since strapless anything for me is never a good idea.

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    1. Hi Nickie,
      Thank you for your idea. My high bust is 2" smaller than my upper hip measurement where that would hit if folded over, so I think that adding an elastic band there would not work for me personally. I do agree though that if your upper bust was larger, that would be a great idea! I like the idea of the twill tape loops for buttons too. Good luck on your version!

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  3. I don't know how I missed this fabric on the website since I look at it everyday! I would have bought some! Love the skirt/dress and the top. I'm not usually a fan of the handkerchief hem, but it is seriously stunning on this piece.

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    Replies
    1. This fabric didn't last very long at all, popular!

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