Get crafty in your local charity shop – here’s what I made…

simplicity skirt pattern retro dressmaking sewing diy kit charity shop

You may remember that I wrote a blog post last week about this vintage pattern by Simplicity that I found whilst rummaging in my local charity shop. I wanted to make myself a this skirt but didn’t know where to start with buying fabric – everything I’d found online was a bit pricey and rooting through the big out-of-town fabric stores was also a bit too spendy for thrifty ol’ me. So when I came across this long dress in another charity shop for only a few quid, I saw not only an item of clothing, but also a massive piece of fabric in a funky print so I snapped it up. I knew that the size and style of the dress wouldn’t suit me, but that I could make use of the gorgeous fabric with such a funky pattern and later decided that I would take the plunge with my new pattern and have a go at recreating the retro skirt design myself.

simplicity skirt pattern using charity shop dress fabric sewing construction green floral

I began by cutting open the skirt along a seam and removed the waistband before ironing it flat. Now I could see the size of my fabric and once I’d laid out the pattern on top I realised that I had plenty of fabric to complete the whole design. I was worried that there might not have been enough and I’d considered adding panels of a different fabric around the skirt, which I think would look quite funky anyway, but I’ll keep that idea for another day as I had plenty enough fabric to go round.

simplicity skirt pattern using charity shop dress fabric sewing construction

I pinned the pattern pieces to the fabric and carefully cut around them, then I followed the instructions on the pattern pack to stitch together the pieces. I decided to use concealed seams for neatness and to stop the edges of the fabric from fraying in the future. If you’ve never made a concealed seam, it is super easy and here’s a quick step-by-step to show you how – seriously, you won’t want to go back to normal seams once you’ve seen how neat it makes it and how easy it is!

simplicity skirt pattern using charity shop dress fabric sewing construction DIY tutorial concealed seam 1

1. Place the fabric with the backs together (right-side out) and pin in place. Sew along your seam within 1cm of the edge, like a very thin ‘normal’ seam.

2. Turn your stitched seam inside out to that the right-side of the fabric is on the inside. Iron the seam flat and then stitch along the edge again, this time with a hem at 1.5cm in from the edge, thereby encasing the first seam within the second. Your seam is on the inside and you should not see any of the first seam on the outside.

simplicity skirt pattern using charity shop dress fabric sewing construction DIY tutorial concealed seam 2

3. Open out your fabric and iron the seam flat to one side. Turn it right-side out and admire your very tidy seams; so neat and so simple!

I took my time making this pattern so all in all it took me about 2 hours to complete this skirt – good thing that sewing is my favourite hobby! I love how the skirt has turned out and its great to be able to wear a true vintage look after following the Simplicty pattern. And now I have a gorgeous new item of clothing that I can confidently say that I made myself – and for only a few quid. Next time you’re in your local charity shop make sure that you have a good look at their clothing, fabric and even bedding, as you might just find the ideal fabric for your next project and I’m sure you’ll be able to hunt out a vintage pattern to try out yourself! Please leave me a comment below and let me know how you get on 🙂

simplicity skirt pattern using charity shop dress fabric sewing construction finished clothing

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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