UFO Showdown #February Challenge

This month’s challenge over at The Monthly Stitch was UFOs. As I didn’t actually have any (though believe me I commit a whole array of other sewing crimes), I’d been forcing myself to work through my mending pile. Boring, but useful! I was making steady progress when a much more interesting idea came to mind that was in a similar vein. This beautiful skirt (top right) was originally purchased when I was at sixth form (I’m 43 now so suffice to say a very long time ago…). It’s from one of the very first issues of The Next Directory when it was an exciting, new concept. It may have just been my perceptions at the time but the designs were more designer-y and special, with the prices to match. Even the old labels (see below) were far more luxurious. Now, it’s a fairly common place venue that I rarely step into (although they do do great children’s wear).

Quite where I was intending to wear such a dressy item is quite beyond me now! But it was the 90s when I was rarely out of my DM boots and my Dad’s old cardigans, so I presume I dressed it down ๐Ÿ˜‰ Anyhow this has resided at my parents’ house for a fair few years, before they forced me to come and claim or get rid. And it’s been lingering in my wardrobe ever since which is quite impressive in itself. I think it was the fabric that was holding me back from chucking it, or maybe just nostalgia? As it no longer fitted, being a good two inches too narrow to fasten at the waist (proof indeed that vanity sizing exists as I still wear this size or even the one below today, mmm… This feels to be more like a 6 in today’s sizing), drastic action was needed.

First off, I cut off the waistband, but managed to free the original zip and waist ties. I then cut it in half carefully in order to place and cut out my new pattern pieces (New Look K6217). Constructing the new skirt was relatively simple and sewing with this fabric (I think a single, very sheer, gauzy crepe) was just lovely. I attempted to improvise with the original lining, cutting it off below the original zip. I finished the waist with some lovely, matching brown grosgrain ribbon and was delighted with my efforts. On the hanger it looked fantastic…

But then I tried it on.. Let’s just say the fit was bad: too long, the outer skirt far too big and the lining ridiculously tight, grrr! Needless to say it sat loveless for a good week or so, before spurred on by this challenge I picked up my unpicked and set to work. To cut a very long story short I released the lining and discarded it, took the side seam in by a good inch and a half, reattached both the waistband and the ties, before finally chopping an additional nch off the length. I may well add a lining in at some point, but for now a RTW under slip will have to do.

So was it worth it? To be honest the jury’s out! While I can at least now wear it and I’m pretty pleased with the finished design, it was a LOT of effort for such a still-very-dressy skirt. Mmmm… I guess only time will tell…

24 thoughts on “UFO Showdown #February Challenge

  1. YES, it was worth it! A great reincarnation, I reckon. I agree about Next being better back then – I had the very first Next Directory until recently! Am no longer a Next size 8 though:(

  2. I have recently become serious about modifying many of my clothes. I can’t seem to find what I want in the stores anymore and I’m just not quite ready to sew my own. Decided to tackle my closet to see what I could salvage. It is kind of fun but a bit scary too!

    • Sounds like a pla ๐Ÿ™‚ I’d start with the easier things first to spur you on. I simply shortened about four RTW skirts a year or so ago, and it made such a difference and felt like I’d been on a shopping spree. I’ve got far too many dress-y dresses blocking up my wardrobe that simply never get worn. One day I must give some serious thought to turning them into much more useful tops…

    • Thank you! I think I heard it described as a ‘poor man’s M and S’ at one point, but whereas M and S have reall upped their design’ whilst maintaining the quality, Next is just a bit bland and shoddy, but I guess they have to go where the market is…
      And their children’s wear is the exception.

  3. You’ve done a great job – it’s really lovely skirt! How nice that you could reincarnate an old skirt. I have a couple of long flowing numbers that I can’t bear to part with from my purple doc Martin student days – perhaps I’ll have a go at making something out of them. The memory of clockhouse is funny – I once asked if we could go there to look for some new things and my Mum couldn’t understand why I wanted a new clock! Those were the days when my Mum bought my clothes and told me what to wear!!

  4. It was definitely worth it, you kept the great fabric and transformed into something more modern that also fits. I also have clothes that I refuse to throw away and seem to move between countries and houses haha!

  5. Your skirt looks great! I think it was well worth the trouble– it’s great that you could give it a new life. I love it with your pretty blouse and heels. You look very sharp!

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