Before my dad moved earlier this month, my sisters and I helped him pack up certain parts of the house. All three of us went through Mom’s closet together, tossing some clothes into the “donate” pile and setting aside certain items that sparked a memory for each of us. Mainly, we each kept a dress Mom wore to each of our weddings. Mom wore a nice skirt and crinkly blue shirt when I married Charlie. I donated the shirt but kept the skirt, knowing I could cut off the waist area and keep the original hem of the skirt.
I really didn’t face too many obstacles after trying on the skirt, marking the new waist, and cutting off the top part. I decided to try the bunchy method (my technical term) by using a sewing needle and making big straight stitches around the top of the skirt. Once the top was loosely stitched, I tugged at the long ends of the thread to make fabric bunch up. When I was satisfied with the gathers and checked the bunchy waist matched the width of my elastic band, I pinned the elastic to the skirt.
I learned two lessons when refashioning Gadsby September (skirt nickname). One, I absolutely hate hate hate hate hate this new elastic I picked out during a recent trip to the fabric store. Let me clarify that last statement: I hate the elastic when using it as a waistband. The elastic is fine when running it through a casing. Two, using 1-inch elastic as a waistband DOES NOT look good. I didn’t like the way the elastic looked on a previous skirt (Ellenbee August), and I don’t know why I thought this elastic would be different.
The overall process didn’t take me long, and I really liked using the bunch waist method and want to use it again soon. For some reason, I just couldn’t get the method to work on my sewing machine. I set the dial to the longest stitch and loosened the tension part, but I just ran into so many issues. Sometimes the thread underneath just bunched up, creating a big fat tangled mess. Even if I made my way around the skirt, the thread wasn’t loose enough to gather the fabric when I gently tugged at the thread ends.
After numerous attempts and adjustments to the stitch dial and tension wheel, I just gave up. And I am completely OK with being a quitter because hand stitching was so much quicker and easier. I really wish I had thought about that in the first place. Anyway, because I really really really didn’t like the 1-inch white elastic waistband on the skirt, I decided to replace it with a 2-inch black elastic band. If I had 2-inch white elastic, I would’ve started with that in the first place, but saving myself time and money, I just used what I had.
I didn’t even bother cutting off or taking the thread ripper to the stupid white elastic band. I simply pinned the 2-inch black elastic over the white elastic and sewed away. Despite the waistband being black, I absolutely love love love the end result. The skirt fits like a glove, and I love twirling around in it. It’s so pretty. So, what did I learn? Per my personal preference, I should use wider elastic if I’m not hiding it in a casing. And I really don’t like working with specific white elastic because it made me curse — a lot.