Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Charity Shop Skirt

I didn't make this skirt, my sister found it in a charity shop a couple of weeks' ago, and we were beside ourselves when we saw it.

The reason for this was because we recently came across this photo of our Aunty Ethel (who was really our great aunty), she was wearing a skirt made from the same fabric and we both loved it.

We had to look hard, but it's definately not the same skirt.  Aunty E's has different pockets and, if you look closely, there are buttons down the front.

The lady in the shop said it had been in the shop for ages, and had even been in the window display for a while, but nobody wanted it.  Clearly it was just waiting for my sister to turn up, so she brought it home, and it is in very good condition given that it is probably from the late 1950s or 1960s. 

There was one little hole at the front which I darned, and you can see it below between Tokyo and San Francisco.  The tops of both pockets had holes, so I darned them too.  To do this, I put a little piece of black fabric underneath, and then a little bit of interfacing behind that.  Then I zig zag stitched on my machine over the top, and cut away the extra black fabric and interfacing from behind. 

A few bits of the hem had come down, so I hand-sewed them.  The photo below is a piece of the inside of the hem before I fixed it.  You can see that the hem has been double folded, but I love that the raw edge has been pressed under and sewn down too.

It was a bit grubby, so my sister hand washed it and rinsed and spun it in the washing machine, and it came out lovely!

The top of the skirt is gathered, and the waistband was absolutely tiny (24 inches!), so I unpicked it in order to put a new waistband on.  I was pretty fascinated with doing this and took some photos, as I thought others would be interested too.

Above is starting to unpick the waistband, and below is one of the two hanging loops (which I put back in again).

We thought it was hand made, but then I discovered the remains of this label beside the zip.

The gathers were basted before they were attached to the waistband, and I loved that, but it had to be unpicked too. 

I found three notches clipped into the top edge.  There's one at the centre front, and the other two are where the hanging loops are attached.

The waistband is one piece, folded over at the top.  I was planning on putting a black cotton waistband on, but when I unpicked it, I discovered another layer of waistband underneath!  There was no interfacing on it, so this must be how the waistband was stabilised.

Once all that was done, I gave it a good press, and used the notches to divide the skirt top edge into four equal parts in order to make the new gathers even.   The skirt is made from one piece of fabric, the only vertical seam is the centre back, so there are no side seams.
Here it is laid out on the floor before I gathered it, the fabric measures about 235cm/92" wide.

I was able to piece the two waistband pieces (joining at the centre front) to make a waistband that was long enough, and interfaced the whole thing.  Then I sewed the waistband on and a buttonhole and button.

And since I really didn't want to throw away the rest of the fabric from the waistband, I made a key fob with it using Sian from Kittenish Behaviour's great tutorial.

Here are some photos after I was finished.  I absolutely love the zip - that's a good, proper zip!  The original button was white, but I found this pink one in my Granny's button tin.

The pockets are gorgeous.  They are all cut in one piece, and some thought was clearly put in to cutting it out.

But the star of the show is the print.  Here are some details because it's brilliant, and I really should have taken these before I gathered the top!

And here it is once I was finished - all ready for my sister to wear.

Happy sewing!



  1. A great find of such a beautiful skirt , i personally loved Charity shops a lot when i lived in London, they are simply treasure boxes. loved the the photos during the reworking of the skirt

  2. How wonderful, a really great find and beautifully re-made...

  3. Absolutely fabulous!! And you did such a fantastic job!!

  4. Absolutely wonderful! I love how you honored your great aunt as well as the original skirt through your loving restoration. This print makes me think of Roman Holiday and the glamour of travel and how that became part of modern culture. It's just wonderful.

    I have a print from this time period as well, curtains, and now I am wondering if it should become something new...

    Thank you for sharing this! What a wonderful gift to share with your sister.

  5. What luck to spot this skirt! It was clearly meant to be!

  6. How very special. I too love finding old things to make over. I found three faux suede skirts at a ridiculously priced three dollars each and was able to make several cross body purses to sell Made a fortune back. (hee hee) enough that I could explore some more finds to redo. Just love the challenge.

  7. Fabulous print, what a lucky find!


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