How to Make a Regular Skirt Into a Pencil Skirt

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The pencil skirt is a classic, tailored skirt with a shape that skims the body closely and shows off your curves or, if you lack curves, gives an allusion of them. Purchasing pencil skirts can be expensive, however. Fortunately, it is not too difficult to upcycle skirts you have or purchase at inexpensive secondhand shops into pencil skirts. No matter what the shape of the existing skirt, you can update it and give it a pencil skirt silhouette in just a few simple steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Skirt that zips down the center back
  • Tissue paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Place the tissue paper on a hard floor surface and lay down on it so that your rear is centered in the middle of the tissue paper piece and your waist is even with the top edge. Wear a bathing suit or other closely fitted garment and have a friend trace the outline of your body from your waist down to the bottom of the tissue paper. Have your friend trace each side of your body. This tracing will act as your pattern.

  • Add 2 inches to the right side of the right-side line you drew. Use the ruler to measure 2 inches to the right of this line down the entire length of the line. Repeat on the left side. Cut the pattern out on the newest lines you just drew.

  • Turn your skirt inside-out. Place it on a flat surface and line up the waistband so both sides meet. Spread the bottom of the skirt out so that any pleats or gathers are as fully extended as you can make them and the fabric is as taught as possible.

  • Place the pattern piece on top of the skirt. Match the waist area of the pattern with the waistband of the skirt. Center the pattern so it lies directly down the center of the skirt. There will most likely be a fair amount of fabric from the skirt that extends beyond the edges of the pattern. Pin the pattern piece into place.

  • Try on the skirt inside out, with the pins in place to ensure it fits before you cut and sew it. Look at your reflection in a full-length mirror and assess the fit of the skirt. It should gently skim over your body without puckering or gapping. If it is too tight, adjust the pins while the skirt is still on your body so that it fits properly. Make sure the both sides skim your body the same way. Remove the skirt.

  • Cut the skirt along the pinned areas, removing each pin right before you cut through that section. Remove the excess fabric you cut off. Pin the raw edges along each side.

  • Sew each of your edges with a ½-inch seam. Use a straight stitch to secure the seam. Remove the pins and cut off any excess threads. Turn your skirt right side out and try on.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always use a skirt that has a zipper or closure in the back so you don't have to adjust when you cut off the sides.

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  • Photo Credit sewing image by Lisa Eastman from Fotolia.com
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