Sewing Sunday – Safari Skirt

3 Jun

As some of you may know, I enjoy a trip to the local (well, 50km away) Charity Shops, I think they´re known as Thrift Stores in the US. There are several reasons for this. I´m not a sylph-like babe but I´m not a pensioner yet. Many clothes made here in Spain for the more…shall we say…curvaceous woman, are designed with a 90 year old widow in mind, so I don´t tend to even find many new clothes which I´d actually want to wear.

Secondly, I love to sew and enjoy the challenge of refashioning a well made garment into something for myself and knowing that rather than ending up in a landfill somewhere, it´s enjoying a second life.

Finally, the charity shops are there to provide much needed help to those in need. The two shops in the little town I go to support different causes. One (CUDECA) is a Cancer Hospice for the terminally ill which makes no charges at all to anyone living in Andalucía who needs to spend their last days in such a facility.  The second, (APARIV) rehomes stray dogs, of which there are a huge amount. The second charity also ensures the dogs are fit, well and (very importantly) sterilised or neutered, before they go off to their new homes around Europe.

So…here´s a typical refashion for me. I find a lovely dress which is way too tight across the chest, but fits me from the waist or hips down. I couldn´t get it onto my mannequin Marilyn, as she is set up to be roughly my shape (poor thing), but you get the idea. Do make sure to wash the garment first (apart from the fact that it will need a good wash, you want to make sure it doesn´t shrink after you have altered it). I loved this fabric as, apart from being in my favourite orange, the print made me think of safaris (a dream of mine)!

I started by measuring where I wanted the hem of the skirt to be on me.  I then pinned the outer fabric and inner lining all the way round just above my natural waistline and then cut the dress just above the pins.

After tacking the fabric and lining together (you could also machine this) I turned the fabric in to create a new waistband leaving enough space to thread ribbon or elastic through. I´ll show you another day how I do a similar refashion but with a zip. I sewed by hand (because I enjoy it) but this could easily be done with a machine.

Finally I threaded some ribbon through (I have since bought some matching ribbon, but it ties and hangs on the inside anyway).

The finished skirt, which will be enjoying the summer with me up the mountain!

This is a great technique to use on any skirts you have hanging, forgotten, in your wardrobe because they are a bit tight at the waist. As long as you don´t mind losing a little length, you can cut them down from the waist and – voilá – you have a wider waistband which you can then refashion as above and either insert elastic (or ribbon) or move the zip down.

And don´t worry, the top half will be refashioned into a new top for one of my more petite friends.


49 Responses to “Sewing Sunday – Safari Skirt”

  1. kalamitykelli June 3, 2012 at 01:20 #

    Not a sewer at all so the instructions were lost on me – but the before and after? Fabulous!!

    • DianeT June 3, 2012 at 01:50 #

      Beautiful, Tanya. I do the same sort of thing (Charity shops) and for the same reasons. Except my sizing is the other way around. Biiiig hips and a smaller bust; but still on the very generous side.
      I love the challenge of refashioning garments, And I love finding colours, patterns and materials that are different to what everybody else is wearing new to that season.

      • Chica Andaluza June 3, 2012 at 09:36 #

        It´s true – it would be super unusual to come across anyone wearing the same thing after it´s been refashioned!

    • Chica Andaluza June 3, 2012 at 09:35 #

      Ah, thanks! I wore it last night to a local fiesta and had lots of compliments!

  2. Mad Dog June 3, 2012 at 02:31 #

    Nice work and you picked a great colour/patterned dress now skirt 😉

    • Chica Andaluza June 3, 2012 at 09:36 #

      Thanks Mad Dog – not your style though I´m guessing?!

      • Mad Dog June 3, 2012 at 11:05 #

        It just wouldn’t suit me 😉

  3. ceciliag June 3, 2012 at 04:29 #

    you are so clever and i love the colours too.. i have had wonderful ideas about redesigning garments in the past but they always fail, i am a terrible sewer. i really do envy you this talent.

    • Chica Andaluza June 3, 2012 at 09:37 #

      Well, I´m probably not the most expert (I am actually definitely not the most expert) and I certainly have more time to play around with these things than you do!

  4. Hotly Spiced June 3, 2012 at 05:59 #

    What clever work. My mother was good at sewing and she used to take apart her old dresses and maternity clothes and make clothes for her five daughters. Our generation has become so wasteful. I love what you are doing and I’d do it to but I don’t have the talent. You have a great gift and I’m sure you’ll be dazzling in your new skirt xx

    • Chica Andaluza June 3, 2012 at 09:38 #

      Thank you for your lovely words! You´re right, it did used to be so much more typical to take clothes apart and re use them…”waste not, want not” as my granny used to say!

  5. Sawsan@ Chef in disguise June 3, 2012 at 06:40 #

    beautiful print and a wonderful summery skirt Tanya

  6. TheDorsetFinca June 3, 2012 at 08:09 #

    I am in awe, again, of your talents! What a fab skirt and on the way, you have supported two great charities! x

    • Chica Andaluza June 3, 2012 at 09:42 #

      Thank you….blush, blush! It´s a fun way to spend time rummaging around for bargains and then another day playing around with the garments and deciding how they can be used.

  7. Jane's sew & tell June 3, 2012 at 09:29 #

    You asked clever! The skirt looks lovely, I particularly like the fabric

    • Chica Andaluza June 3, 2012 at 09:45 #

      Thank you – I think I went for this dress as, although I knew it wouldn´t fit me as a dress, I loved the fabric so much and wanted to do something with it!

  8. idiosyncratic eye June 3, 2012 at 09:59 #

    I’ve never seen a charity shop in Spain before but then I was a little disappointed to note that those websites were in English after all. I am very envious of your sewing skills, you make it seem so easy! 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza June 3, 2012 at 17:51 #

      Yes, most charities are run by expats still. I think over time it will change…slowly, slowly.

  9. thecompletecookbook June 3, 2012 at 13:33 #

    You are so clever! I love that you purchase garments at thrift stores, especially when they support such wonderful causes!
    Come stay with me and I will take you on a mini safari – we have the National Addo Elephant Park 3km away from our front door! It would be fantastic!
    🙂 Mandy xo

    • Chica Andaluza June 3, 2012 at 17:48 #

      Now that´s the sort of thing I´d be doing in my dream…watching elephants! I´ll bring the gin and the lemons and my safari skirt 😉

  10. ChgoJohn June 3, 2012 at 14:01 #

    Another job well-done, Tanya. Love the colors. I, too, frequent thrift shops that benefit worthwhile causes. I’ve even bought a few plates, used them in a post or two, and then donated them back again. Well, if I don’t break ’em. 😦

    • Chica Andaluza June 3, 2012 at 17:49 #

      What a great idea about the plates. I shall have to start looking out for them…we´ll be in the UK later in the summer and they have so many more of these shops, so will be bargain hunting!

  11. gardenfreshtomatoes June 3, 2012 at 16:38 #

    That’s fabulous…LOVE the fabric!
    I know exactly what you mean about finding clothes that fit – do all French women, no matter their hip, waist and bust, have sticks for arms? 😉

    • Chica Andaluza June 3, 2012 at 17:50 #

      Hee hee! How I would love to be waif like, but I´m not so I work around the issues with a needle, thread and scissors 😉

  12. Karen June 3, 2012 at 22:46 #

    You have the best luck finding such great patterned fabrics. A lovely skirt that I know you will enjoy wearing.

    • Chica Andaluza June 4, 2012 at 09:53 #

      Thanks Karen – I wore it to a fiesta the other night and had a twirl around the dancefloor in it!

  13. narf77 June 3, 2012 at 23:03 #

    I LOVE thrift shops and now we get the triple whammy of saving money, doing good for the community AND living a more sustainable and simple life in the process whenever we decide to spend our hard earned readies in a thrift/op shop. Here in Tasmania we have some great op shops. We often have bargain days where you can put all you can fit into a shopping bag for $2 and thats when I check out fabric rather than cut. What a great repurpose of a dress you did! Wish I could sew…might have to learn if that is an example of what you can do when you sew…its lovely! Well done on your sewing ability and your support for the thrift shop (and your local community). Just discovered your blog last night when hunting for a recipe. SOOOO glad I did 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza June 4, 2012 at 09:44 #

      Hi there and thanks so much for your lovely comment. I think a lot of people agree with our sentiments about charity shops and recyclying/refashioning! Thanks too for all the “likes” on posts, am so pleased you are enjoying my blog 🙂

      • narf77 June 5, 2012 at 06:16 #

        Loving it actually :). I think you are living every woman in the western worlds dream… I love your ethos and will be looking out for each new post from now on. I love reading about sunny places while its blowing a gale outside and pelting down raining… something about the internal “vision” of it that makes my early morning tea and rss feed (low fat of course 😉 ) so much more satisfying 🙂

  14. bitsandbreadcrumbs June 4, 2012 at 04:15 #

    Of course I love the colors of the fabric and what a great skirt that made. You are so talented, Tanya!

  15. Alli June 4, 2012 at 14:09 #

    Gorgeous fabric! Nice to be able to recycle something so pretty.

    • Chica Andaluza June 4, 2012 at 14:45 #

      Thanks Alli, I was really pleased with this skirt and I know I´ll get lots of wear out of it over the summer.

  16. Promenade Claire June 4, 2012 at 16:07 #

    so clever! Or should that be sew clever…….sorry i couldn’t help myself!
    That is such a great practical idea and the print is fabulous, so you will just have to go on that safari one day, and sip your sun downers watching the elephants at the waterhole, whilst wearing your safari skirt

    • Chica Andaluza June 4, 2012 at 20:46 #

      Hee hee! Now the picture you paint of my safari with the sundowners and the elephants matches mine entirely….one day I´ll do it, I know I will!

  17. niasunset June 4, 2012 at 19:20 #

    Dear Chica you are so creative and did amazing job. I loved it. Thank you, love, nia

  18. PendleStitches June 6, 2012 at 23:05 #

    A beautiful skirt. What lovely fabric. Sadly our local charity shops tend to cater to the little old ladies. Thankfully we have a rather lovely fabric shop in town and a great fabric market stall about 8 miles away. Phew!

    • Chica Andaluza June 7, 2012 at 14:48 #

      You lucky, lucky thing! My nearest fabric shop is in Malaga city and is sooooo expensive so I try to stock up (luggage allowance permitting) when I am in the UK. The charity shops vary, you just have to keep going back and hoping for a little gem to turn up (like this one) 😉

      • PendleStitches June 7, 2012 at 15:34 #

        I am lucky with fabric shops. They don’t have enormous stock levels but I can usually find something I like.

  19. Karista June 13, 2012 at 04:00 #

    I so admire your talents! My sewing abilities are severely limited. I always wanted to be able to make my own clothes but sadly due to a sewing project gone wrong in high school, I thought I’d better hang up my needle and thread. Beautiful work Chica!

    • Chica Andaluza June 13, 2012 at 08:41 #

      Funnily enough I hated both cookery and sewing classes at school and although I took up cooking as soon as I left home, I only really came back to sewing in the last 2 or 3 years!

  20. spree June 15, 2012 at 21:05 #

    Love the fabric and totally love too the idea of showing a bit more leg as the waistline widens! 🙂 And I adore the idea of repurposing that helps worthy causes! Beautiful all the way around!

    • Chica Andaluza June 16, 2012 at 00:02 #

      Thanks Spree, I am having great fun wearing this one. Am in London this week looking after best buddy who is recuperating from an op, and I have tonight turned the top half into a blouse for her – so it was completely refashioned!

  21. fati's recipes June 17, 2012 at 04:30 #

    You’re so clever! So talented! ❤

  22. Rak Sepatu Gantung August 8, 2016 at 02:37 #

    what a wonderfull pattern, really love it!


  1. Sewing Sunday – Summer Skirt « Chica Andaluza - June 24, 2012

    […] my Safari Skirt? When I bought it, I also came across another one, in a pretty pale blue pattern.  This was more […]

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