Make a Chicwish

Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou FrouSkirt: Remixed from Chicwish

Cardigan (Eugenie Cashmere, no longer available): Similar Here

Shoes: Naturalizer

I love the print on this “Neon Lights” midi skirt from Chicwish. It reminds me of streetlights on rainy nights, and confetti, and has such glorious rich colours. I fell hard for it when I saw it for the first time but was destined to be disappointed, because the largest size (the XXXL) was still too small for my waist. But it kept popping up on my Pinterest feed again and again with all of its rainy-nightness, and confettishness, and glorious rich colours, so when I discovered it had been reduced to just $48 (with free shipping) I couldn’t resist, and I decided to take the plunge and buy it.

I’m so glad I did, because there was more the enough material in the pleats to remix it (or “fat hack” as gorgeous Amy from Willow Curves calls it).

When it arrived I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the fabric, if not the quality of the workmanship. The fabric’s a lovely heavy satin, which gives the colours a wonderful glow. The image is printed on to the fabric, but both side seams showed a wonky strip of plain white a centimetre or two wide, which would have really annoyed me if I hadn’t been going to unpick the whole thing anyway. The skirt had pockets (which I couldn’t be bothered to retain), and a petticoat-lining that gave great volume, but was vaguely… I don’t know… plasticky? It rustled like a cheap sleeping bag if you even looked at it sideways. I discarded the petticoat immediately, and to be honest if you’ve got hips you don’t need it; the fabric is heavy enough to give it a bit of fouff.

┬áSo, no step-by-step tutorial, because the whole thing was a disaster of trial and error as I tried to decide between waistband-vs-elastic/pleats-vs-gathers/box pleats-vs-knife pleats, etc etc. And because I’m an idiot, I trialled-and-errored with the actual skirt, rather than starting with a toile, and close-up you can see where I’ve had to unpick and re-sew half a dozen times in the fabric, sigh.

Frocks and Frou FrouThe skirt originally came with a multitude of open pleats, but eventually I decided it would be more flattering on my shape to have a flat front, then six sewn knife-pleats towards the sides. It meant that there was less volume to the skirt, and the pleats would follow the curve of my hips rather than flowing out straight from the waist. Again, you can see from the photo below that the printed fabric has given a little where the pleats were sewn, but I might just go over the seams with a blue fabric pen, and I think it’ll be virtually indiscernible.

Frocks and Frou FrouThe waistband is made from excess fabric that I took from the sides of the skirt. I did the same thing in this DIY pleated skirt tutorial. It’s easy as pie, and honestly if I’d spent less time faffing about being indecisive and trying to make calculations about pleat quantity and size the rest of the project would have been too.

Chicwish does some lovely skirts, with fabrics I’ve never seen on offer elsewhere. Now that I’ve done this one I’m more confident about remixing others if I see another piece I fall in love with (like the Sing a Love Song skirt, ahem)

Chicwish skirtSo here’s the before and after and don’t think I’m being arrogant, but I think I like mine better!

Remix: Sohomode Dress to Skirt

Frocks and Frou Frou - Remix SkirtFrocks and Frou Frou - Remix Skirt Frocks and Frou Frou - Remix SkirtTop: Princess Highway

Skirt: Remixed from Sohomode Teadress

Cardigan: Woolovers

Shoes: Softwalk via Shoebuy

Thank you to everyone who took the time to comment on my last post. I’m going to be dreadfully lazy and not reply individually the way I usually try to, but I really appreciate the support. I’m a glass-half-full kind of person, so now the shock’s wearing off I’m trying to really focus on the positive and look at this as an opportunity, rather than a set-back.

One of the “positives” is that it’s given me a bit of free time to catch up on some of the jobs and projects I’ve had sitting around the house, and this remixed dress/skirt is one of them.

I had this lovely tea dress made for me last year by Louise at Sohomode, and when I sent her my measurements I was probably the slimmest I’d been for a very long time. Now that I’m happy – and eating! – again a lot of my clothes aren’t fitting as comfortably as they used to, and this dress was one of them.

I wasn’t prepared to give it up, so I decided to do another remix similar to my old Gorman dress-to-skirt remix, with the shortcut being that Louise’s tea-dresses come ready-made with a belt that could easily be re-purposed as a waistband.

So, the project is basically exactly the same as what I did last time, but here’s a tutorial anyway!

Step 1: I unpicked the waistband of the skirt from the bodice, and cut the zipper – a little higher, so that I can insert it into the new waistband. If you’re going to do this project yourself – and I can’t emphasize this enough – don’t forget to have the zipper foot down and the zip open when you cut the zipper. Otherwise you’ll be left with an unzippabable zipper, and will either have to try and wrangle the foot back onto the teeth, or start from scratch with a new zip.

sohomode remix 1Step 2: So I needed a little bit more room in the waist, which meant that I had to alter the beautiful belt that all of Louise’s dresses come with. I took a snip of extra fabric from the bodice to add an inch or so to the ends of the belt.Sohomode remix 2Step 3: I made a little rectangular tube of fabric, sewed it right rides together to the end of the belt, flipped it outside in and finished the edges, and voila! New waistband!

Sohomode remix 3Step 4: First things first I finished off the top edge of the skirt with a zigzag seam to prevent it from fraying, then basted two rows of wide stitching that will help me make the gathers. Then I pinned the skirt to my new waistband right-sides together at the front centre, side seams, with the ends of the waistband slightly overlapping the loose ends of the zipper.

Sohomode remix 4Step 5: To create the gathers I carefully pulled the top threads from the two lines of basting, and eased the gathers around the circumference of the skirt until skirt waist and waistband matched up in lengthSohomode remix 5Step 6: After I felt like the gathering around the waistband was even I pinned, and pinned, and pinned some more until the waistband was securely pinned to the skirt, then I sewed the two together, wrapping the extra length of waistband around the top of the zipper. Then I flipped the waistband up, pressed the gathered skirt flat, and finished the waistband off with another straight seam.Sohomode remix 6And the result is a new skirt, which I think looks particularly good with a stripey tee-shirt.

Frocks and Frou Frou…and goes even better with this lovely brooch that one of my wonderful former sales team members gave me as a going-away gift. I think that’s one of the things that I’m finding the hardest about what happened; having to say goodbye (at least within a professional context) to some of my favourite people.

Frocks and Frou Frou