Thrift stores: some people love them, others hate them. I quite like them, myself. I’ve always loved a bargain (found two pairs of jeans that actually fit for $9 yesterday!), and I like the crazy variety of clothes to look through. However, lots of people hate them because it can seem nearly impossible to find something cute that actually fits. That’s where this post comes in. If you are able to do some basic altering to make things smaller, you widen the range of clothes from the thrift store that will work for you. I found this adorable houndstooth pencil skirt but it was a little large – luckily, taking in a pencil skirt is one of the simplest alterations, and I’ll show you how to do it today.
But before I get to that I wanted to talk for just a moment about why I post photos of myself on the blog. I wonder sometimes if people think I put pictures of myself up here because I think I’m pretty hot stuff or something like that. The truth is that having someone take photos of me and then sorting through them to find a somewhat flattering on isn’t always a pleasant proposition. So why do I do it? Two reasons:
1) When I read a sewing post, I want to see the finished product on a person. It’s just not as fun to look at it on a dress form or hanger – I want to see what it looks like ON. So when I share something, like today’s quick tip on how to take in a pencil skirt, I’m gonna have a photo or two of me wearing that pencil skirt darnit (even if my pride suffers a little).
2) A few years ago one of my sons asked me how much I weigh. My first response was “no way I’m giving up that info, honey,” but I stopped myself before I said that. I thought: why shouldn’t they know how much I weigh? I want to raise boys who don’t think that girls have to be skinny to be worth something. I want to raise boys who don’t consider anything over 100 pounds to be fat. I don’t want my teenage boy to be the one who tells a girl she’d be prettier if she were skinny. I want all my kids to know that being healthy is more important than being skinny, and that being a good person is even more important. And so I told my son exactly how much I weigh, and when he said, “Wow! That’s a lot!” I explained to him that it was pretty normal for a grown-up. And the internet could use more photos of normal-sized people, right? So here I am.
And here’s the tutorial (note: this is for a pencil skirt with a zipper in the back – most are – NOT a zipper in the side seam):
Hopefully that made sense. It’s a bit hard to photograph the process, so here’s a drawing that will hopefully make things more clear:
Now, when you pull the lining up away from the skirt, it will still be attached to the zipper, so it won’t open up all the way like you see in the illustration above. But it will open up enough that you can take in the skirt and lining separately, as shown. The reason you need to open up the skirt like this and take the skirt and lining in separately is that it will keep the waistband from bunching up, giving you a professional look.
Click here to learn how to make a skirt from a sweater, and here to learn how to make a shirt smaller.
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