Remember these? They seemed like such a great idea twenty-five years ago, didn't they? I remember dying to have a Jessica McClintock dress just like this when I was a tween. I found this hot little number in my mom's costume stash (she's a dance teacher) the other day and got a big kick out of it. It belonged to one of my super-stylish aunties back in the day, so I tried it on...you know...to see if I am as skinny as they were. I mean, just for kicks (sheepish grin).
It was more horrendous on my body than I anticipated it would be. How was this bag of a dress ever stylish? As I ripped it off myself as quickly as I could, I noticed the cool pleated lace and thought "I MUST make this into a cute, pseudo-vintage skirt!". I say "pseudo" because I refuse to believe that I'm old enough to have belongings from my childhood be classified as vintage, but who am I kidding? I'm AM getting old. I bundled it up and thought about my refashioning procedures as I drove home. Project!
First, I removed the skirt from the bodice with a seam ripper. That was easy. Then, I tried it on and determined that I needed to remove four pleats to make it fit me well. I also needed to remove three inches from the top to make it the right length for me.
I cut the top three inches off first, and then made a huge mistake. I cut the pleats from the back of the skirt. This means I had to completely remove the lining to realign the slit from the side to the back so it would line up with the zipper. Boo. I should have just put in a side zipper and called it good, but no. I like to make things difficult! I'm cool like that.
I cut all the way up the inside fold of one pleat.
Then I counted over four pleats and cut all the way up on the inside fold so that when sewn together, my two cuts would make a complete pleat. That sounds funny.
When I serged the seam, I left about eight inches open for the zipper. Next, I picked out eight inches of the lining seam, lined up the edges with the lace layer, and basted them together. This kept the pleats nice and crisp.
I used the satin from the original dress' waist detail to make my waistband (another reason the side zipper would've been way easier. Grr). I folded it in half and ironed it down.
I didn't line up the edges perfectly because I wanted to be sure to catch the back when I top stitched (just like bias tape). Then I trimmed off a few inches so that it would fit my waist better.
Somehow, I put in an ivory invisible zipper. Zippers and I don't get along, so I always wing it--especially when there is lining involved. It turned out alright, so I added my waistband.
I just sandwiched the skirt layers between the satin, making sure the longer half of the satin was on the back.
Then I top stitched around the whole thing. Here's a handy tip: I didn't sew from end to end. I left a few inches at each end to enclose the top of the zipper.
I turned the ends of the waistband inside out, sewed it shut, and turned it back to the right side. Then, I stuffed the top ends of my zipper inside and finished top stitching the band to the skirt.
Last, I added a hook and bar to the waistband to close everything up nicely and voila! A totally rad, but classically appealing skirt.
I think I'll put it on with some scrunchy socks and patent pumps and jam around my house to my favorite Tiffany song. It could've been so beautiful...