Monday, June 10, 2013

Rainbow Polka Dot skirt- a refashion with tutorial (sort-of)

I love polka dots, and I love my new skirt!

Rainbow polka dot skirt from button up shirt refashion
 A little back story:
Sometimes I am struck with inspiration when I see something on TV. Case in point: I was watching New Girl a couple of years ago and Zoey was wearing this:

Sorry, I don't know where I found this :( It's been on my computer for 2 years, so...
 Of course, when I was watching it looked more like polka dots and less like partially bitten cookies but I didn't care! (Also I'm pretty sure hers were shorts too... weird.) There was my inspiration and it stuck with me for a long time. That's when I went thrift-shopping with one of my good friends and I found this:

Women's large rainbow polka-dot button-up for all of $3?! Score!

Was this a match made in heaven? Was the universe trying to give me a sign that I need to make this skirt?

Well, yes, but for some reason I was too chicken to try and start it right then and there.
And you know what?
I'm glad I waited!
Because it never would have turned out as well back then.

Rainbow Polka Dot skirt from button-up shirt refashion

Rainbow Polka Dot skirt from button-up shirt refashion
For semi-tutorial, keep reading!

So here are all the deets about my process through making this skirt, and you can follow along too if you need any help with making one for yourself!

Cut out collar and kind of cut out extra material across to the shoulder seams.
Cut off the buttons to save for another project. (because, buttons.)
Then I folded in the sleeves to make the pockets, and sewed across the bottom of the sleeves. (see picture)

Rainbow Polka Dot skirt from button-up shirt refashion
Sleeve/pocket placement and lining viewed from the side

I pinned down the sleeve lines on the right side of the skirt so that while I was working it wouldn't get all messed up. I also tacked down the top with a couple of stitches when I was happy with the placement.

Rainbow Polka Dot skirt from button-up shirt refashion
Side view of the pocket
So after doing that, I laid it all out flat and trimmed off more around the (previously) shoulder area and also straightened out the bottom edge to make a long rectangle piece of fabric.

Rainbow Polka Dot skirt from button-up shirt refashion
Here it is laid out before sewing up the back. Sorry it's a phone pic, I didn't think ahead

Then I cut off a band of fabric thick enough to make the casing for the elastic plus seam allowance from the bottom of the rectangle.

The next step was to sew the skirt part together up the back, and then hem the bottom of the skirt.

I got out the shirt that I would be using for the lining. It was thrifted too, but I'm sorry I don't have a picture of that. It was basically black polyester from the 80's complete with shoulder pads. So I compared the skirt piece to my "lining" shirt, and cut it below the arm holes because that was the perfect length for my skirt.(Shorter than the polka dot layer.)

The skirt piece ended up being a little bit wider than the lining, so I sewed a basting stitch to the front panel and cinched it up a bit till they matched. Then I sewed a basting stitch to both of them so they wouldn't get messed up while I prepared the waistband

Rainbow Polka Dot skirt from button-up shirt refashion
 I made sure the waistband was the same size as the top of the skirt, then sewed it together to form a circle. I then sewed that circle to the skirt(s) and folded it over, tucking some of it under and sewed it down to form the casing for the elastic. This way, the top edge of the skirts are hidden under the waistband. While sewing on the waistband I left some space to insert the elastic and then did so. I'm sorry if that part was very confusing. Think of it like putting bias tape over the end of it. I don't know how else to explain it at this time.

Then I was done! I just trimmed off the loose threads and made sure no basting stitches were showing on the outside.

Rainbow Polka Dot skirt from button-up shirt refashion

Let me tell you why I am so proud of this skirt:
this is probably some of my best sewing work since I made that mermaid dress for the marine's daughter. One of my friends even said she would have thought I bought it. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside :)

I actually made this several days ago, but am just now getting around to posting since styling and taking pictures was a pain. (Even then I ended up taking the lazy road, lol) Turns out I don't have to leave the house to take pictures, but I really would prefer it. Too bad the Marine doesn't :P

Anyway, thanks for reading/stopping by!
Let me know if for some reason this tutorial/thing was helpful to you at all!


  1. Love the skirt! My mother was always great with redoing second hand store finds too. She taught me how to sew, but I am no where near as talented as she was :) The skirt looks great on you, very cute!

  2. I love the skirt and the fact im not the only one who borrows style ideas from tv. i did the same with a necklace from a tv show and had a friend help make it. love being able to recreate things! stopped by from the walkabout.

  3. You are seriously amazing! I LOVE that transformation. You have such a great eye for these things. And, I totally want Jess' closet from New Girl. Also, you're a no reply blogger which is why I haven't been able to reply to your comments via email. :(


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