January 17, 2010

Hike Up That Skirt

My mother told me when I was younger that learning to sew would be an essential life skill. As a wife, I would be responsible for taking care of all the housework and ensuring that my husband's pants were properly hemmed. It turns out that my mothers' sewing mini-courses didn't really stick with me over time, so my skills are a little sub par. Luckily, I had a pretty strong backup by going to college, finishing grad school, and having a career.

Still, I can't deny that knowing how to sew is a useful skill. This week, I've tried to put my skills to use - not on my husband's clothes, but on my own. It is an experiment in how I can improve my current wardrobe. No, I'm not extremely petite. I'm actually 5'4", which is the height of the average American woman. Unfortunately, clothing manufacturers seem to think that we're all Glamazons with 45-in inseams.

I protest! But in the meantime, I have to make do with what I have. Short legs, meet long skirt:

I've had this skirt for a few years now, and every time I wear it, I feel like it makes me even more of a midget than I already am. My legs shrink and become stumpy, and not even the highest heels can rescue the look (as evidenced by the photo above). Short girls, you know what I mean!

As a side note, I've discovered that shopping at teen-oriented stores (like Forever 21) can actually be a better bet than the petites section at a chain store like Banana Republic because of the skirt length and variety of styles. Apparently teenagers like their skirts shorter. And their quality lower.

Anyhow, I decided to take on the gargantuan task of figuring out how to hem a circular hem. If any of you have tried this before, you know that it's not totally easy to create a circular hem that's even and attractive. So, I took advantage of the layered construction of the skirt and decided to make the part that I was hemming invisible by showing only the fluffy crepe layer  (the shiny one that's not currently at the bottom):

So, rip, rip, cut, snip, off come 6 inches of skirt! It was pretty easy to get all that fabric off because of all the seams on the back of the skirt, and there was even enough fabric to leave room for a hem that I could hide underneath the bottom layer.

Using my mom's trusty old sewing machine, I did the best I could to shore up my loose end.

I have to admit that I wasn't being that careful with the hem since I knew it would be mostly hidden, but my hem was REALLY crooked. Plus, when I got to the side seams, there was a fair bit of shortcutting required to make it all join together.

Still, I think that you can't really tell from three feet away - I can just tell that I have knees again!

So, what do you think? An improvement? Creative? Ruined? It's the right time to be thinking about performance reviews, so I'll be wearing the skirt to work next week to get some face-to-face feedback.

Materials used for this project:
  • A skirt that's too long
  • Scissors
  • Seam ripper
  • Black thread
  • A sewing machine

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