Sizing Up-White Denim Pencil Skirt

While I’m not exactly emotionally attached to most of my clothing, because it is in such good shape and well-made, I hate to get rid of it when it no longer fits.That’s what happened with this (rather wrinkly) denim skirt.

I had purchased this white denim pencil skirt from J-Crew somewhere between 2012-2013. I love a good pencil skirt and use to wear them religiously. I believe this skirt was on pretty severe clearance and I purchased the only size left, a 29. It was some special designer skirt and one of the best quality denim items I’ve ever purchased.

Now, while a 29 is usually a completely wearable size for my waist, I often must wear a 30 or 31 to allow for extra fabric for my hips in a pencil skirt. This causes the waist to fall down or droop significantly. I choose between a good fitting waist and super duper tight hips; or a baggy waist and good fitting hips. So I let go of wearing pencil skirts a few years ago (minus a couple of super stretchy exceptions I can wear for brief periods of time).

But I had this idea to “size up” pencil skirts and wanted to use some of my most beloved (and now rarely worn) skirts to see if I could “create” the perfect sized skirt. I would do this by inserting triangle panels into the side seams to add an inch or two to the hip area, while leaving the waist untouched.

Here was my first attempt.

For the triangle panel fabric, I began by cutting a long strip out of this leather maxi skirt by Wilson’s Leather. This was a thrift store purchase back in 2014 and cost me about $5. It’s beautiful leather, but way to long and tight for me to comfortably wear. This leather has no give at all. (Yet, I still purchased it…how can you not buy a $5 leather maxi skirt? Please tell me)!

Then I opened two seams along the strip to make two pieces of leather for my panels.

Also to prep, I used my seam ripper to open the side panels of the denim skirt. I was quite concerned my wimpy seam ripper wouldn’t hold up the quality of the seaming on this skirt, but after some finagling, I was able to make a clean part in the skirt.

I only ripped the seam up to the bottom of the pockets, because I didn’t want to make the waist of the skirt any larger. The pockets were reinforced along the side seam, so that seemed that a good stopping point to keep the integrity of the stitching.

I turned the skirt inside out and pinned one side of the leather to the denim skirt so it wouldn’t move while I was sewing. Did I mention I’m sewing by hand? I’m sewing by hand, no machine here at the homestead.

Now, it was my intention to sew the new seams along the panel in either a black or red thread, for a cute contrasting effect. But after some debating, I remembered that I am not patient enough to make each stitch even and the uneven stitching would really bother me. I think I’ll save that kind of extra touch for when I’ve had more practice. So I went with white thread to “hide” the stitching.

I used a modified triangle hem stitch. The modification was to make little slant stitches. Are you suppose to do that? I have no idea, I liked the look of making little staggered lines and figured the inconsistencies would be easier to hide that way.

And although I was originally going to use the smooth side of the leather, I really liked having the suede and seaming exposed on the panel, so I turned the leather panels around when sewing.

Leather is tough to sew. I not only had to use a thimble to push my needle through, I also managed to completely snap a needle in half. I also stuck myself with the needle and bled a good bit, accidentally sewed the skirt closed on the bottom for a few stitches and knotted up my thread at least five times.

It only took me about five hours to complete the skirt! Hahaha! But I was absolutely not going to give up!

Despite my seams being a bit uneven, and one of my panels being slightly larger (guess my pinning must’ve moved?), it turned out quite nice for my first big project.

It fits on my waist and around my hips and is still mostly the shape of a pencil skirt.

A win-win.

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