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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Turn a Pencil Skirt into a Mermaid Skirt DIY

My original plan for our Christmas Party this year was to make a dramatic mermaid skirt to wear with a slouchy t-shirt and a major blingy necklace, but I ran out of time, and decided that this particular party wasn't the best place for such an outfit.  Last week I decided I wanted to make myself the skirt anyways...just instead of making one from scratch I revamped a pencil skirt that I had thrown into my donate pile with some organza that I've had sitting in my fabric stash for years.

Materials and Supplies
-Sewing Machine
-Pencil Skirt
-Fabric for the Bottom (For sheer, Organza and Tulle work great, otherwise a Heavy Satin or Taffeta are great options) The amount depends on how much length you need to add to the skirt and how full you want the bottom.
-Thread to Match
-Pins
-Measuring Tape

Instructions

1.  If your skirt has a slit/vent pin and sew it shut.  I sewed mine shut by stitching down very close to the edge of the opening.
If your skirt doesn't taper in much at the sides, you may want to taper in the side seams a little to get more of a mermaid silhouette, just make sure you don't take it in too much, you still need to be able to walk!
2.  Measure the bottom of your skirt.  The amount of fabric you use for the width of the fabric add on will depend on how full you want the mermaid hem to be.  I made mine just over 4 times the width of the bottom of my pencil skirt.  
Meaning that if the bottom of the front of my skirt was 15" then I made the front piece of my organza around 60" wide.  I made the back piece the same width as well.

3.  Determine the length that you would like your finished skirt to be.  I made mine so that it would be extra long at the bottom so it would pool around my feet (about an extra 4").  Subtract the length of your pencil skirt from this length.  Add a bit to this measurement for a seam allowance.  
I made my mermaid hem as a bubble hem so that a) I wouldn't have to worry about hemming my skirt, and b) It would add a bit more volume to the bottom.
4.  If you are going to make your mermaid hem as a bubble hem then you will have to double your fabric length.
To summarize this, you will need two pieces of fabric about 4 times the width of the flat measurement of the bottom of your pencil skirt, and the length to be slightly over 2 times the length that you will need to make the skirt long enough.
My mermaid hem was about 26" long, so the length that I cut my fabric was 52".
You might need to use 2 pieces of fabric for the front and 2 for the back depending on how wide your fabric is.  I was lucky that mine was 70" wide.
5.  Sew the side seams of your mermaid fabric together making a very wide tube.
6.  Fold the tube in half sandwiching the seam allowances on the inside and matching up the top and bottom raw edge at the top.
7.  Gather the mermaid skirt at the top of the tube so that it will fit around the bottom of your pencil skirt.
8.  You can either pin this onto your skirt with the right sides together matching the top of the mermaid skirt with the bottom of your skirt (and then just sew it on, and flip the mermaid part down when you're done), or do it how I did.
I pinned my organza tube onto the bottom on my skirt from the inside of my skirt, lining it up so that the hem of my pencil skirt would just cover my gathering stitches on my organza.  I did it this way so that I didn't have to worry about my seam allowance showing through the sheerness of my organza.
The picture above shows how your skirt should look from the right side with the pins in before you sew the mermaid skirt to the pencil skirt.
9.  From the right side of your skirt, sew really close to the edge of your hem, being very careful that all the gathers line up in place, and that you don't catch your needle on a pin that's on the inside of the skirt.
All Done!
Now go find a party you can wear your new skirt to!!
I think this project would also work great for anyone who wants to be a Mermaid for Halloween, just make it in green!

Here are some other combo's I would love to see made!


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