Like always, it’s been a while. I’m not sure why I’m so completely horrible at blogging in a timely manner, but I am. So here is a quick life update…I have a new job since last time I posted. I now work as a dance teacher at a middle school. It’s actually quite awesome. A dream really. I started in January, so I have experienced half a year of school and summer break. I’ve been at some training this week, I head back to school next week for teacher workdays, and then kids come the week after. I’m so excited that I’ve even created a new item for my wardrobe. My colors are green and white (and navy kinda-sorta as an accent I think). I need school spirit! Right? I should totally own a million green and white things before the end of this year. I think that’s how it works.
This upcycle project began with this green men’s shirt. I believe it was about $2 at Value Village. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it when I got it, but it was my new colors and obviously I need it if I’m going to own a million green and white things by the end of the year. Are there any other teachers out there who feel like they have betrayed their high school roots when they are now a part of a rival family? I felt a little awkward the first time I put on the green. Sorry red and black. I’ve moved on.
First thing’s first. I busted out the seam ripper and scissors and start removing the pieces. I always take off the collar and the pocket first. And depending on the project, I remove the sleeves and some of the buttons. Here you can see my stash of goodies I extracted. I tried to keep them as in tact as I could because I often use them later. (I always keep the collars, but never know what to do with them. If you need any collars or have any ideas for me let me know.)
I then cut the shirt along the back seam that runs horizontal near the top of the shirt. I do this first because of the pleat in the back of the shirt. It saves fabric if you cut close to the seam or even seam rip. Cutting takes less time and I was lazy for this project so that’s what I did.
Next I flipped this shirt over and cut off the top of the shirt to match the cut line in the back. I typically would cut under the arm holes, but I was a little nervous this skirt would be too short. Since I want to wear it to school, I decided to try something a little bit different than I’ve done previously. This meant it would have less “scrunch” at the top, but I was willing to risk it.
After I evened out my cut lines to make sure they match in the front and back I flipped the “skirt” inside out and smoothed out all the wrinkles. I used a straight edge to draw what would be the new side seam of the skirt. I used a pencil to draw a diagonal line from right inside of the indentions from the sleeve holes to the bottom corner as close to the edge as I could get. I wanted to keep as much fullness as I could. I pinned along this line, sewed the new seam, and trimmed the excess. I finished the seam by using a zig-zag stitch over the edge. (Somewhere in this process, I cut the skirt straight down the back. I can’t exactly remember what step that was, but I will install a zipper so I just cut all the way down.)
The next thing I did would be totally optional for someone else wanting to make a similar skirt. I love the look of a button down skirt but am always nervous when I wear one because it seems too easy for a “costume malfunction” to happen. I won’t actually need the buttons on this skirt since I’m installing a zipper on the back. I sewed along the edge of the buttons to insure that the skirt would stay closed all day long. No peeping in between the button holes and no accidental un-buttoning can happen now.
Then it was time to create a waist band. (I’ll explain what I did the best I can, but I forgot to take pictures during this step. Oops.) For this step I needed some of the scraps I originally cut off in the first step. This is why I so delicately removed the pieces. I used the sleeves for the waist band. To create the waist band for this skirt I measured my waist and decided I would need 3 pieces of fabric. One piece would be across the front and it needed to be solid so I wouldn’t have a seam on the front of my waist band. The other two pieces would be for the back and would meet in the middle at the zipper. I divided my waist measurement in half and added about an inch to that measurement. I cut a piece that length and a width of about 5 inches. I did the same for the back but added a little more than an inch and cut it in half. So then I had 3 pieces of fabric that were all 5 inches wide and together in length equaled just a little over my waist measurement. I sewed them together to make one long piece, ironed out the seams, folded the waits band in half long ways (like a hotdog), and ironed once more to get a crease for the top of the waist band.
I decided to use iron on interfacing for this project. I cut a piece of interfacing that was slightly shorter than the length of my waist band and 2 inches wide. I then ironed the interfacing into place by lining it up with the crease that is the top of the waist band. There was now room to stitch along the bottom of the waist band under the interfacing and there was also a little excess fabric on both ends of the waist band.
At this point I was so close to getting to see what the skirt was going to look like. I ran a single wide stitch across the top of the skirt. This is what I used to create the ruffle.
To create a ruffle you take one piece of thread from this long stitch seam and hold it tight while you scrunch the fabric together. It’s almost like you hold the thread and slide the fabric down the other piece of thread until the scrunch or ruffle looks how you want it or until it becomes the correct width. This is difficult to explain in words, but I’m sure there are videos of this on youtube as well.
Then I placed the waist band against the skirt so both raw edges were pointing to the top. The outside of the skirt and the outside of the waist band should be facing each other when you are sewing them together. I pinned the 2 pieces together and sewed all the way across. I tried to get my seam as close as I could to the bottom edge of the interfacing so that my whole waist band had structure to it, not just part of it. I originally cut my waist band wide enough so that I had about a half of inch of fabric to work with. This was actually quite a bit of fabric and I end up cutting it off after the seam was finished. After the skirt and waist band were attached to each other, I trimmed the excess fabric and finish the seam with a zig-zag stitch to close the raw edge.
The next few steps don’t have pictures, but are pretty self explanatory. I installed an invisible zipper. I won’t lie. I don’t really know how to do this. I kind of half heartedly followed the directions on the zipper pack and kind of made up my own thing too. I won’t show a close up picture because it really doesn’t look that great (haha). After the zipper was installed I tried it on for fit. I needed to even out the hem on the bottom of the skirt. I cut straight across and just hemmed. Most men’s shirts are curved along the bottom. Sometimes this makes a cute hemline, but this time I wanted it straight.
Now I was down to the last couple steps. I re-attached the pocket in a new place. This is why I took it off ever so delicately. (It wasn’t that delicate. I basically ripped the seams out, but the pocket was still in one piece and that was the goal.) I also added 2 buttons. One button was for the button hole on the pocket. The other button is a fake out button. I added it on the bottom of the skirt to make it appear as if the button holes go all the way down the front. If you look close you, you can see it isn’t the same as the rest, but from a distance it looks just fine!
Here is the finished product and of course me being a goober like always. I really do like this skirt a lot and think I’ll get a lot of use out of it. I’ve been debating the length on it, but I do think its a good length for a teacher. I’m pretty sure I’ll pair this outfit with a jean jacket. I do have an awfully adorable green cactus pin on the jacket and it would be pretty stinking cute if I say so myself.
I know this is going to be a great school year and I can’t wait to meet my students so very very soon! If nothing else, at least I’ll look cute on the first day. Right? Let’s go green!!!