“Make the workmanship surpass the materials.”
I absolutely love using unconventional materials in my DIY’s. To me, any and everything could be used for a wearable – and I never hesitate to question “Could I use that?” if I find a texture, shape, or pattern interesting. Anywhere, even the Home Depot, Wal-Mart, or garage sales – could offer up a potential material that could be used for a DIY. Some of my favorite past DIYs include these unconventional materials, including my DIY 80’s Acrylic Earrings from a Photo Frame, DIY Lace Maxi-Skirt from a Curtain, DIY 40’s-Style Kitty Beret from a Pirate Hat, DIY Bolo Tie Style Necklace from a Shoelace, and DIY Boho Bangles from Curtain Rings. Enter the unassuming polyester shower curtain. From a pin on Pinterest I found this gorgeous gemstone pattern (above) – and followed it to UrbanOutfitters.com where I found it was actually a shower curtain by a company called Family Jewels, a Danish interior design company. (And it’s still available for purchase!)
Family Jewels Diamond Shower Curtain, $44.99 (sale)
I loved the pattern so much I couldn’t resist the opportunity to do something amazing with it – so I snapped it up and waited impatiently for it to arrive. When I opened the package I found that it was made of a stiff, somewhat waterproof polyester, which to me felt a bit like a stiff satin or taffeta…which got me thinking ballroom skirts. Billowy, poufy, elegant – and perfect for holiday parties! So I set about making my own. Here’s how I did it:
1 shower curtain / fusible lightweight interfacing / iron + ironing board / scissors / pins / marking chalk / measuring tape / matching thread / sewing machine + needle for lightweight polyester / 9″ long invisible zipper / overlocker or serger (optional)
How To: *sorry no photos of the process/materials, since I actually made the skirt at about 1 AM in my living room!
1. Basically, I followed this tutorial here for the making of the skirt, so full credit needs to go to Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing. HOWEVER, make sure that when you cut you do it on your fabric that is folded over, so you are cutting 2 of each pattern piece and the waistband is one long length since it was cut on the fold (it escaped my notice until Part 2 of the tutorial, which was entirely my fault.) For my skirt, my measurements were: 41″ long and 32.5″ high. My waistband was 32″ long and 4.75″ high. (Both including about 0.5″ of seam allowance.) I also utilized the finished edges of the shower curtain in my cut piece so that I would have less overlocking to do.
2. I then overlocked all raw edges, except those that would be hidden inside the waistband.
3. Then, I followed Part 2 of the tutorial for the construction of the skirt. It came together quite quickly and I made it in about 2 hours the night before I had to go to the airport to go to the 3-day Lucky FABB event in October!
When I attended Lucky FABB, my DIY Ballroom Skirt from a Shower Curtain caused quite a stir, with bloggers stopping me to ask me where I got it, and Erica Domesek of P.S. I Made This even going so far as to compliment it when I asked a question to her during a panel. (!! what a moment!!)
This skirt also looks amazing when worn over a crinoline or a petticoat so that it has even more stiffness and stands away from the body more. If you are in the market for a new ballroom skirt like this one, definitely check out home decor stores now: with it being the holidays, shimmery, sequinned, sparkly shower curtains are readily available…and much, much cheaper than buying a skirt ready-made. How about you? Have you ever used unconventional materials for something that turned out much better than you hoped?
I love lurking on street-style blogs for many reasons, one of which is the MAJOR DIY inspo I can find there. Looking at the variety of other people’s outfits always gets my creativity wheels a-churning, thinking “oh, I could do this to a skirt I already have!” or “use an applique and you’d be able to make that!” etc. I find that the street-style blogs geared towards a younger audience (Lookbook.nu and Chictopia.com, for example) are such a treasure trove of inspiration for embellishment, cutting, studding, and clothing alteration that you can’t find anywhere else (and that you can easily make yourself). Given that Spring is in full swing already and skirt hemlines are rising, here is some mini-skirt inspiration sourced from Chictopia’s member style photos and shopping section:
Tibet Cross Skirt, $47
If you’re one for embroidery, you can embroider little crosses all over a chiffon skirt like in Hetterson’s Embroider a Pine Tree Dress for Frolic! Tutorial. You could also use fabric cut into cross-shapes, backed with Heat ‘n’ Bond…or even tiny cross appliques.
from user MARSELL
A DIY tutu is no problem…you just need a couple yards of tulle, a little time, and this great DIY Tulle Skirt tutorial from Cotton & Curls.
from user STYLELIMELIGHT
Looks like that white Zara wrap skort is suddenly having a moment. You could totally DIY something similar with a bit of white, stiff fabric using my DIY Simple Wrap Skirt tutorial.
Vintage 90s Corduroy Zip-Up Skirt, $30
Create a zipped-up look to any skirt by tacking a zipper down the front.
Aloha Peplum Skirt, $34
Make this yourself by using A Matter of Style’s DIY Peplum Skirt tutorial – it’s so detailed and the finished product is amazing.
from user THECOVERTBOUTIQUE
You could totally change the look of any skirt you own by throwing on a removable peplum over it…I did a tutorial for a puffy DIY Jil Sander Gathered Removable Peplum awhile back, and ...love, Maegan has a great tutorial for a flippy, soft removable peplum of leather (easily converted to use with your favorite fabric).
from user ZEANVO
I love this pretty yellow skirt with this contrasting black print! You could DIY this by hand-painting trees onto the bottom of a skirt with fabric paint…or even going the extra mile and making your own DIY Screenprinted Tree Skirt (and my tree image is available here if you’re interested).
Punching Leather Skirt in Black, $58
To DIY this takes a great deal of time and precision…but you could do it to a thrifted leather skirt, using a leather punch and Syl and Sam’s DIY Scalloped Skirt tutorial.
from user TWENTY7THINGS
Easily make a wrap-style tulip skirt from a large scarf like Lions, Tigers, and Fashion Oh My!. Perfect for a beach cover-up or a chic boho look to any outfit!
What are your favorite mini-skirt tutorials?
(from zippermanufacturers.com)…Buy a metal-coil non-separating black zipper from a sewing supply store…
for a whole lot less.
I’m onto you, Forever21! You thought if you waited a year and a half, no one would notice you’ve knocked off Alexander Wang’s skirt (shown above, from the Lucky Magazine August 2008 issue – taped into my “inspiration files”)
Well – haha! The ruse is up.
I’ve now snapped up the Tiered Skirt from one of your stores, and will be adding a zipper and black waistband shortly – to make my very own Alexander Wang Ruffled Skirt lookalike!
$495 vs. $29.79 (the zipper is $4.99)….who is the wiser now, hmmmmm?
Okay, maybe not the easiest skirt in the history of the world…but pretty darn simple nonetheless!
It took me about an hour and a half to make – tops! And it’s a simple, sweet party skirt that also works great for the everyday.
*1 yd. of medium to heavy-weight satin, sateen, satin peau, or taffeta
*7/8″ width woven no-roll elastic (length of elastic = your waist circumference – 1″)
*iron & ironing board
*sewing needle for wovens
*1 safety pin/bodkin
How To: (sorry no step-by-step photos)
(I think this size will work on Small-Medium-Large…for a Small, the skirt will be fuller and more cinched in at the waist. If you want more width to the skirt, increase the width of the panels. My waist is 27″; hips are 34.5″. Cutting directions, marker, and yield are using a 60″ wide piece of fabric.)
1. Cut two rectangles on-grain for the front and back pieces: both are 21.75″ long; the front piece is 14 3/16″ (that’s fourteen and three-sixteenths, if the way I’ve typed it is confusing). For the width of the back piece rectangle, add 1/2″ (therefore width of back piece = 14 and 11/16″).
2. Cut 2 rectangular side panels on-grain: both 21.75″ long and 11.125″ (eleven and 1/8″) wide.
3. Cut 2 pockets: both are the same width as the side panels (11 and 1/8″) and are 9″ high. (The front, back, and side panels you can all fit side-by-side on a 60″ wide piece of fabric, but the pockets can’t fit and will have to be placed above this row when cutting. So technically, when using a 60″ wide piece of fabric, you only need 30.75″, not really a whole yard. For a 45″ wide piece of fabric, you can only fit the front, back, and one side panel side-by-side; the next row up you could place the other side-panel on-grain and thereby require 43.5″ of fabric (about 1 yd. and a quarter), or, alternatively, you could place one side panel on the crossgrain and only use 11 1/8″ + 21.75″ = just about a yard total. This is what I did because I thought I had bought a piece of 60″ wide fabric but it turned out to be only 45″ wide – so I had to conserve fabric. In satin, I honestly think on-grain vs. crossgrain difference is negligible.)
4. Overlock/zigzag stitch on top and bottom edges of pockets.
FINISH TOPS OF POCKETS
5. Fold 1″ under on tops of pockets. Iron to set the crease. Stitch seam at 3/4″ down from top of crease.
SEW POCKETS TO SIDE PANELS
6. Start by placing pocket on top of side panel, right sides together. Align top of pocket about 4″ above bottom of side panel, and align pocket side edges to side panel side edges. Stitch 3/8″ below top of pocket, through both layers, from side to side.
7. Fold pocket up, taught against the seam you just sewed; iron to set the crease. Pin side edges of pocket to side edges of side panels – then staystitch the pocket to the side panels a scant 1/4″ from side edges.
ASSEMBLE THE SKIRT
8. Overlock or sew each side panel to either side of the front piece; join back piece in the same way.
HEM THE SKIRT
9. Overlock/zigzag bottom edge of skirt all the way around.
10. Turn up 3.25″ from bottom of skirt; iron to set the crease. Stitch hem at 3″ up from crease.
ADD THE WAISTBAND
11. Overlock/zigzig top edge of skirt all the way around.
12. Turn under top of skirt 1.25″ from top edge. Iron to set the crease. Stitch at 1″ from crease – leaving 2″ unsewn, to create the waistband casing.
13. Attach safety pin or bodkin onto end of elastic. Thread elastic through the waistband casing, entering and exiting through the unsewn area.
14. Overlap ends of elastic by 1/2″. Pull elastic ends out of the unsewn gap in the casing, and stitch a square shape on the top of the elastic to secure.
15. Tuck elastic back into casing area – then sew the last 2″ of the casing closed.
This skirt is super-cute and can be worn in a casual ensemble.
Or you can dress it up and pair it into a party outfit – layer over a corset, for instance, or under a sequined vest.
People will feel a strange attraction to it when you wear it.
Everyone will love it unconditionally!
Happy DIY’ing…and Happy New Year!
Tie-dyed denim is ba-a-aaack this season (sure you probably thought you’d never see the day) but it’s a blotchy, abstract dye that’s all over the runways…and all over celebs and fashionistas in the know. (And what I got knocked for in Challenge #1 in America’s Most Stylish Blogger competition. Whatever! If you haven’t noticed this trend – insert your head back in its hole in the sand.) Whether you embrace it or stay far, far away – using the crumple dye technique on your fabric is fun and virtually hassle-free (compared to some other tie-dye techniques that involve rubber-banding, stirring fabric for 15 minutes continuously etc.).
This is an image from Victoria’s Secret most recent catalog…and you can buy the sweater here but the skirt strangely seems to be unavailable. And I want that skirt.
So I used Tulip Permanent Fabric Dye and a denim miniskirt I found at the thrift store to create an abstract, funky dye-pattern.
The first step was bleaching the skirt to remove the color. This was accomplished by soaking in a hot water & bleach solution (ratio like 8:1 or something like that)…for like 8 hours. Had I used full-strength bleach (or a smaller ratio of water to bleach), the process would have been much quicker, but it also would have caused rusting on the metal embellishments on the skirt (zipper, grommets etc.), weakened the fabric fibers and seams, and even perhaps burned holes in the fabric or given the piece an orange tint. So to be safe I diluted.
Most of the color was removed by this method. Ran it through the wash cycle (with detergent) to get rid of any remaining bleach.
Now it’s time for the dye!
Following the instructions, I created a dyebath of Black fabric dye…and dipped the skirt into it. I then pulled it out quickly, crumpled it on top of a spread-out garbage bag, and spooned dye from the bath onto certain areas of the skirt. Hmm…it didn’t work so well. By giving it that initial dip in the bath, I found that the skirt soaked up a base gray color that wouldn’t show any darker black areas like I had intended. Ohwell. Frustrated, I poured some bleach (undiluted this time) back on the skirt in certain areas. After a few minutes as I watched some areas of the skirt lighten to a muddy brown, I washed the whole thing in cold water, then threw it in the wash cycle of the washing machine (sans detergent this time). And this is what I got:
Definitely not what I was going for. I then wet the skirt, crumpled it up again on another garbage bag, and spooned black dye from the dyebath onto certain areas of the skirt, crumpling as I went. I left it for a short time, covered in garbage bag, then pulled it out and ran cold water through it. Back to the washing machine (no detergent) and into the dryer, and I got this…
It’s hard to see, but the skirt is more gray-and-white-tinted than before.(Kenneth Cole new york sweater, DIY Old Navy denim mini-skirt, Sam Edelman Zoe boots, unknown puffball ring)
Somehow I never look quite the same as the Victoria’s Secret model does. Hmmm.
And EVERYONE needs a puffball ring. It’s just a Fact of Life.
The final product: the tie-dyed skirt. I definitely wanted it to be black & gray…but this stone blue/gray/little bit of brown thing is cool, too. You just never know when you’re dying denim and working with bleach!
In reality Tulip One-Step Fashion Dye would make more sense for this project, especially since you’re applying dye directly to the fabric. But I used what I had! Perhaps I’ll try another application to make it more black at some point in the future, but I’m kind of satisfied with what I have now.
Also, if you’d like some different fabric-dyeing projects to try out (just in the nick of time if you’re still stuck on ideas for a Halloween costume!) download the free Fun with Fabric Dye eBook from FaveCrafts.com…This eBook features 28 free fabric dye craft projects organized by 18 different dye techniques, with step-by-step photo instructions. Not only does the eBook include a great variety of stylish clothing craft projects for all ages, but it also features home decorating projects, accessories and holiday projects too.
From now until November 30, enter the code fave1009 in the checkout box at FaveCrafts.com and receive FREE SHIPPING on all orders of craft supplies and tools.
Definitely try your hand at the DIY tie-dye denim mini…just don’t dip the whole thing in the dye after you’ve bleached it out…crumple and spoon, my friends!
Happy DIY’ing…and Happy Halloween!