Making a skirt from a drape has put me in good company!
In the classic 1935 movie “Gone With The Wind,” during the War Between the States (a.k.a. Civil War), when Scarlett O’Hara returned to her plantation house Tara to find it ravaged but still standing, she looked around, plotting her strategy to rebuild Tara and to “never be hungry again.” Spying the luxuriant green velvet drapes, she ripped one down and wrapped it around her shoulders. With a glint in her eyes as she looked in the mirror, and a scheme in her mind, she instructed, “Mammy, go up in the attic and bring down those dress patterns. You’re gonna make me a new dress!”
When I saw this drape in the bin at Goodwill Outlet, it spoke to me right away! As I wrapped it around my hips for a preview, a teen-aged girl went by, glanced back at me, and with a bit of surprise but an approving look, said, “Looks good!”
Once I got it home, I laundered it and took off the backing.
Measuring my hips, I then, measured out the same on the drape, allowing for a seam. I turned it inside out and pinned along where I thought the seam should go. It went through a few “back-n-forths”—pinning, trying it on, pinning, etc.—till it was right.
I allowed for the length of the zipper on the top of the seam near the waist, and for the slit on the bottom for walking room, and sewed up the seam in the hip area.
Keeping it inside out, I finished the edges that were not in the seam by just turning them in and sewing a hem. Now the split was completed, and the top part was ready for the zipper.
When positioning the zipper, you can tape it into place (with the garment still inside out, of course), which makes it a whole lot easier to sew: Tape the two edges together; lay the zipper—wrong side up (to match the wrong side of the fabric)—on top of the taped-together edges; and tape and pin the zipper in place. Then sew it down.
I put the zipper at the top, rather than opting for a snap or button at the top above the zipper—just to make it easier, and it does fine with just the zipper closure.
Now, for a little shaping: The original drape was already turned down, and the fold pressed, on the top (which became the waistband). So, I decided—as I’m a beginner seamstress—to use elastic rather than making darts. I used wide elastic—I think an inch wide, and sewed a casing (“tunnel”for the elastic) about 1/2 inch wider than the elastic—only on the back of the waist area. Because the zipper was in the middle of the back, I needed to sew two casings—one on each side of the zipper—reaching from the zipper on each side to the side of the skirt. I attached one end of the elastic on the outside end of the casing and stretched it through the casing to the end next to the zipper, and sewed it down there, too. Same on the other side.
And, that’s it!
Enjoy a one-of-a-kind fantabulous skirt!! 😀
Send me pix of your drape skirt! I wanna see! 🙂
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