How to alter a favourite skirt that has become tight to fit you perfectly.
Your skirt is too tight on the hips but the waist is baggy…or you look like you are wearing panniers on your hips but the waist is crucifying your tummy!
Sounds familiar…oooooh and how to fix it?
If you are cutting your skirt from a commercial pattern and a bit unsure of how it is going to fit or drape, it’s better to cut a toile out of calico, or similar inexpensive fabric first. Yes, it takes a bit of extra time but it’s 100% stress proof because you know what the problems are before you cut into your beautiful, and probably expensive fabric. It is also much better to cut your skirt a bit bigger because you can always take it in but it is a little tricky to make it bigger. Follow the 3 steps below to find out how, if you have a skirt that is too tight.
Before you cut your toile out, ALWAYS wash your fabric first, or dry clean, if it will be a garment that requires it, then steam your fabric heavily. That way all the shrinkage has been eliminated and you won’t be surprised by your new knee length dress or skirt up around your thighs, the waist crucifying your diaphragm or wondering how you put on weight during the 4 hours it took to make your garment.
Waist Too Tight
Both of these methods depend on how much bigger your waist is.
If your skirt is too tight on the waist and there is some extra length on the skirt that you won’t miss then you can use that to make the waist bigger…The extra fabric can be cut from the hem or unpick the waistband or facing, press the seams flat then cut the waist lower into the main part of the skirt. The darts will have to be lengthed because you are cutting into the dart lengths and they may poke out.
If you want to keep the existing waistband it will be a bit short so you will have to add a piece which will show a join but that can be hidden if you wear your top over it. If your skirt originally had a facing you can still use that but you’ll have to add a bit extra for the sides, it doesn’t matter about the joins because they will be hidden inside. Or you can cut another from a plain piece of fabric, it will be hidden inside.
Hips Too Big
Put your skirt on inside out and pin the sideseams in, still allowing for a bit of ease as you sit down. Have a look at this photo of a calico skirt toile pinned in.
A Flattering Silhouette
A really lovely way to enhance and create a flattering silhouette on a straight skirt is to tighten the hem sideseams, no matter if you are a curvy lady, even better! If it is a woven fabric the centre back seam must have a slit to sit up to just above the knee otherwise you will not be able to stride out or walk up stairs. There was a reason the marvelous Marilyn Monroe walked as she did…
Another great trick is to tighten the centre back seam at the hem gently curving up and out towards the cheeks on the behind creating quite a fabulous silhouette.
But please take note; when you go to sit down in tight skirts or pants, ALWAYS pull up from just above the knees to relax the tension from the behind to the knees. This way you will save your sideseams from ripping eventually and creating bagginess around your behind and knees in pants. Have a look at this short excerpt video I have taken from my Skillshare class about this.
I hope these tips and photos help you create a perfectly fitting skirt. If you would like to know how to draft a skirt to fit you so that every pattern you create from anything you dream of, have a look at my class on Skillshare. You can actually view any of the amazing teachers, including my class, for 1 month for absolutely free and learn from an amazing collection of creative activities.
I would love to hear from you if you have any questions or suggestions…and if you do join my Skillshare class, please, please post your photos in the community so we can see your wonderful creative efforts.