Don’t ask me why I like going to the thrift store and spending money on things I plan to make into something else. I don’t know why. Although it might have something to do with growing up with a mother whose shopping mantra was “Never pay full price!” Which I don’t. Or at least not very often. Anyway, I do realize that buying someone else’s cast-off sweater for the express purpose of making a skirt out of it might seem a little odd to some people…or maybe most people…but for some reason that’s just what I like to do. In case any of you happen to be as nutty as I am that way, here’s a quick tutorial on making a very simple cable knit pencil skirt from a sweater.
This skirt is dead easy to put together, so even if you don’t have a strange fascination with refashioning someone else’s trash you might want to give it a try. Here are some awesomely awkward photos of me modeling said skirt. Pretty sure it would look cuter with a casual chambray button down, but I don’t have one of those, so instead you get photos with the red secretary blouse that I’ve never actually worn out of the house. Also for reasons unknown. Life is just so complicated and un-knowable today for some reason…
And yes, I’m wearing spanx, because me and stretchy pencil skirts aren’t exactly BFFs. I am against spanx on principle, because really, why should I have to wear uncomfortable stretchy underthings just to make myself look skinnier for other people? Spanx make my inner feminist shudder. They also make my muffin top a lot less muffin-y. Principles aren’t everything, right?
Anyway, maybe we should finally make our way to today’s tutorial. Here’s the sweater I started with (a thrifted men’s L or XL, I don’t remember). Bigger is better to make sure you have plenty of material to work with. Lay out the sweater, making sure the hem is straight across and even (way more straight and even than in this photo) and the sweater is smoothed out flat.
Lay a pencil skirt on top of the sweater and cut around it. Since the sweater is stretchy and the skirt I was using as reference was not, I didn’t worry about adding any seam allowance. If you’re using a tight or stretchy skirt as reference, you will want to add seam allowance.
Once you cut around the skirt you’ll have a new skirt front piece and back piece. Place them right sides together and sew the side seams. I always use my serger when I’m sewing on sweater knit, but if you don’t have a serger I’d recommend sewing the seam with a very narrow zigzag, then finishing off the seam allowances with a wider zigzag if it looks like it will unravel.
If you find that your material is stretching a whole lot as you sew, giving you a wiggy wavy seam, try changing the differential feed setting – I always increase mine on my serger when sewing sweater knits.
Once you’ve sewed the side seams try the skirt on and take it in anywhere you’d like. At that point, cut a length of 2 inch wide elastic just a bit shorter than your waist measurement. (I actually don’t measure – I prefer not to think about my waist measurement in actual numbers so I just wrap the elastic around my waist and pin it where it feels comfortable.) Sew the short ends of the elastic together.
Making sure the skirt is now right side out, slide the elastic down over the outside of the skirt, as shown below, and sew the elastic to the skirt, stretching the elastic gently if needed to fit. Be sure to use a stitch with some stretch (zig zag, serge, or double needle). Then you’ll flip the elastic up, then down inside the skirt, as shown in the photos below.
Once the elastic is inside the skirt, sew the elastic to the skirt right at the side seams, as shown by the pink dots. That will keep the elastic from flipping back up all the time. This gives you a nice concealed waistband. Finish off by pressing all your seams, using plenty of steam. Bye bye old sweater, hello new skirt.