Thursday, March 23, 2017

Refashion: A Few New Hems for Old Lady Skirts

This might not be the most exciting post, but I always like to show the simple fixes as well as the more complicated ones. As an avid thrifter, I come across many of what I call "old lady skirts". These skirts are the type that you take one look and know the age of its previous owner. They are from brands like Alfred Dunner and Bon Worth, among others. They usually have a high, elastic waist, and they have hems of indecisive length - are you a midi? or are you just for short people? Back in January I found these skirts for 50¢ each and saw their potential, and this time I actually got right to work at fixing them so they could be worn :)
First is this floral number. This one is elastic all the way around on the waistband, which I normally stay away from completely as it doesn't really do my shape any favors, but I could not help but be drawn to the fabric. Not only is it a pretty floral print, it's also one of the nicest feeling poly crepes I've come across. Also - this baby has pockets! I decided it was worth the 50¢ to see if I would wear it. So I put it on, pinned up the hem until I liked the length, and cut it shorter (this one was about 5.25" inches off the finished hem), pressed under 1/4", pressed under 5/8" and top stitched. I was finished in about 20 minutes :)
These photos are for documentation only - I would never wear this with a shirt tucked in, lol. Now the skirt just covers my knees - my favorite length.
And check out the pockets! How can you resist a skirt with pockets? This feature alone takes this from a pretty looking skirt to one that is functional for work (I keep keys in my pockets all the time, so it's really inconvenient to not have pockets at work).
And check out the swish factor! I really love the drape of this fabric. At the risk of being shunned for admitting that I like a polyester, poly crepe ranks up there in my favorite fabrics to wear on my bottom half. They make for such a swishy and fun skirt, but they are nice and opaque so I don't need any other layers. They pull away from the body, making them really comfy for the hot Florida weather. I just love them!
Back view - I also really appreciate that this skirt is pleated at the waistband instead of just gathered. Gathers add bulk in a way I don't love, so I stay away. These pleats lay nice and flat :)
Realistically, this is how the skirt is worn in public - with my shirt untucked to cover the elastic. It looks particularly nice with a woven fabric shirt, but the knit tee isn't bad either.
I lucked out with this project because I happened to have the perfect color periwinkle purple thread. I love that even though it's top stitched, you really wouldn't know unless you look close.
Here's where it gets a little odd (at least when you start to think about it). This skirt is Koret brand, but there is a name written very haphazardly on the tag: Conny Frost. Having had elderly family members, I know this means that this belonged to a woman named Conny Frost who luved in a nursing home of some kind. Meaning that the fact that she wore it at the end of her life, and the fact that it was at a thrift store more than likely means she is gone. I know that's often the case with most things in thrift stores, but I've never bought anything that had such a vivid reminder of where it came from. So now I call this the Conny Frost skirt.
Thank you, Conny, for you pretty skirt :) I hope it made you happy, and I will certainly enjoy wearing it as well. And I'll really enjoy those great pockets.
The second skirt is even Bon Worth brand, lol, which I usually stay away from. But this was another case of a fabric I loved so I knew it had potential. The original skirt was just a bit too long to be flattering on my legs, also the extra length seemed to peg the skirt in more which I didn't like. So again I just measured how much to cut off (4.25") and followed the same double turn and top stitch process for a skirt I can now wear everyday and feel comfy.
Again - these photos are for documentation, lol. This skirt has a slight tulip shape, which I normally don't love on me, but it's not that bad here. I love that it's a button down, and I love that it's such a great basic fabric: a charcoal gray cotton/linen blend. It's sturdy and pulls away from the body without being super stiff. Also this is another skirt with fantastic pockets - they are slanted, but they hug the body nicely and they are nice and deep so I can fit all kinds of things in them, lol.
AND here's the old lady-ness coming out, lol. This one has a gathered elastic waistband on the back, but again I will never wear it tucked in like this so now one will know. It does lay nice and smooth on the back though.
This is how it looks when worn realistically. I'm all for it :)
Here's the new hem. I made sure the new hem was just long enough without showing another button hole (which is on the inside of the hem now). Again I lucked out that I had the perfect color thread on hand, so this actually looks identical to the original hem - I made it the same depth and everything. 
And the front view with how I actually wear this. I've really worn this skirt quite a lot in the past few months. It's just such a great basic! It has all the things I want to reach for everyday, plus since it's gray it looks great with everything and matches some of my favorite shoes (which are also gray).

Sorry if this was a long post for two such simple projects, but it's always nice to be reminded that alterations don't have to be super involved to be worthwhile :) Sometimes all something needs is a simple change to make it into something fresh and new and ready to be worn and loved again.

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