Last week on So You Think You’re Crafty I showed off my new outfit refashioned from some thrifted men’s dress clothes. Today I’ll show you how I created the pencil skirt from a pair of slacks.
Turning slacks into a skirt actually isn’t too difficult in that there aren’t many steps. However, it does require a bit of tailoring, or trying on and then taking in, etc., so it’s probably best for non-beginners. When looking for slacks to use for this project, there are a few things you need to look for:
First, you want the slacks to fit well in the waist. You don’t want to mess with the waistband at all, so make sure the pants fit well wherever you’d like to skirt to sit (up on a high waist, down lower on your hips, wherever you’d like). Next, look for flat front pants. Front pleats are generally not as flattering and they make fitting a pencil skirt difficult. Third, you want to be sure the zipper lies flat against your body – meaning that it doesn’t angle in toward the crotch or out away from your body (like in a roomier fit pant). Most flat front pants will be just fine in the zipper – it’s just something to think about.
When looking for slacks at the thrift store, start with the size that matches your women’s size – like if you are an 8, start looking at 28 size waist paints – but also look through the pants a size bigger and smaller – it’s hard to know how men’s slacks will fit, so it’s worth trying on lots of pairs to find the best one.
To begin with, try on the pants and mark a few inches below where you’d like the finished skirt to fall. Cut the bottoms of the pants off there, and then unpick the inseam of the pants so you can lay them out flat like this:
The left hand side of the photo above is the back of the pants, and the right side is the front. You’ll make your first seams down the marked dots. Try it on and see what the fit is like:
There’s a good chance you’ll have to take the skirt in a little more in the back, making a gentle curve under the bum so it will fit nicely when finished:
But don’t make it too tight at this point! We are going to take it in a little more at each side with fun side kick pleats, so bring it in just enough to give some definition.
Next you want to hem the bottom, so determine where you want you skirt to hit and pin that point. Fold the extra material under twice, so the final fold is at your pin, and sew.
Finally, we add even more shape by taking in the sides as shown below:
Stop sewing 3-5 inches above the hem and backstitch. Then you can press the kick pleats you’ve just created open, and sew four or five times just above them as shown here:
This pulls the skirt in around your knees to give a pencil shape as well as a cute little flare at the bottom that helps give you room to walk. Here’s the completed skirt and blouse.