Posted in My Makes

Quick Fix for a Frumpy Skirt

A few weeks ago now, on my Very Vintage Day with my friend Esther, I bought this calf-length navy pleated skirt for £2.50:

Almost as pretty as my face

As you can see, I look like an English teacher from the 30s. This skirt needed a speedy update. I measured from my waist down to the length I wanted the skirt to be (about 50cm long, hitting my leg just above the knee), then added 2cm for a double hem. I placed pins at this measurement on every second pleat, then drew a line through them all with my dressmaker’s chalk:

Then the scary part! I took my fabric scissors and made the big chop all the way round the skirt:

Ahh, much better

Then all I had to do was press under a double hem, and stitch all the way round. Easy, right?

Well, it would have been, had my machine not decided to jam three times in quick succession when the hem was about three-quarters finished. She happily sewed nearly the whole hem, without hitch, and then suddenly decided to throw a tantrum. Typical. I think I shall have to take her in for a service.

I knew that I wanted to wear the skirt for dinner with some family friends that evening, so I sat down in front of Catching Fire, and diligently sewed the remaining quarter of the hem by hand. Two hours and ten minutes later, with the final credits rolling, the hem was just about finished! I pressed the skirt – very tricky with so many pleats to deal with – and quickly threw it on in time for dinner. Here’s the result:

Apologies for the dodgy photography, but I promise this is the same skirt

I’m chuffed with this outfit. The skirt was £2.50, and I bought the mint green lacy blouse at a vintage market for £2. The silver belt buckle used to belong to my grandma when she was a nurse – all nurses were required to buy their own silver belt clasp – but she gave it to me a couple of years ago. I spent 50p on new black elastic to fit my waist. So the grand total for the clothing in this outfit is £5! The pink brogues are from Dune; originally £60 but I picked them up for £30 in the sale. A decent price for beautiful, good quality shoes!

The skirt is officially the first updated item of clothing in my year-long project, which I have christened Out with the New. Hopefully I’ll be giving many more charity shop purchases a new lease of life in the coming months!



Hello! I'm Hannah and I'm a Classics undergrad at Cambridge. I spend most of the time which I should be spending on my degree crocheting and sewing instead.

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