Every year "fast fashion" shops fill their stores with sparkly, novelty pieces for a shiny, happy holiday and it completely breaks my heart! I know all of those cheap polyester dresses will get worn once or twice before they spend four centuries in a landfill.
BUT I also completely understand the desire for something playful, bright, and sparkly!
Last year I bought an ill-fitting strapless fringe dress at a thrift store because I absolutely adored the bright fringe, but the dress was atrocious! I chopped off the bodice and stitched on elastic, making a really cute skirt. Modeled below by the ever-bubbly Amber of A. Favorite letterpress greeting cards! (We paired the skirt with an equally bright & sunny Mish sweater, of course.)
In my tireless crusade to get you to "Buy Less, Choose Well, and Take Care of What You've Got," I've put together a really simple sewing tutorial so you can make your own upcycled glitzy holiday skirt!
You will need a dress, wide elastic (3/4" to 2" wide), and matching thread.
My dress is a full length strapless bridesmaid dress! Definitely too fancy to wear regularly. Remove any zippers from your dress and sew the openings closed. I stitched down my delicate pleats so I wouldn't lose them when I cut off the bodice. Then go ahead and cut off that bodice!
Since we are making a slip-on elastic waist skirt, make sure the skirt is big enough to slide past your bum before you go any further! Then measure the elastic by wrapping it around your waist and cut it 2" short. (This will make the skirt fit snugly and stay put.) Overlap the ends of the elastic and zigzag stitch to conceal the raw edges.
Divide the waistband into even quarters and mark with pins. Do the same to the skirt.
With your skirt turned inside-out, match the skirt pins and elastic pins and pin together at those points. The elastic will be smaller. That's okay. They'll match up when you hold two pins and strrrrretch the elastic!
Using a zigzag stitch close to the edge, sew the elastic to your skirt. Be sure to grab your pins and stretch the elastic while you sew! This will evenly distribute the gathers around the waist.
Flip the stitching to the inside, et voila! A perfectly fabulous, versatile skirt to wear to all of your parties!
Or abandon your leggings for once and wear your skirt with a slouchy Vanna Sweatshirt out to brunch or to run errands! Why not? Did you know that the average piece of clothing gets worn 7 times before it's thrown away? Let's get this skirt up to 30 wears, baby! The WORLD is your holiday party now!
A very brief rant about strapless dresses.
Both of my upcycled skirts were from horrible strapless dresses. A proper strapless dress has a stiff understructure similar to a corset. It is strong enough to lift the dress above the bust while effortlessly supporting the weight of the dress on the waist and hips. It is carefully tailored so that the top does not gap around the bust, but also does not squeeze the flesh. The wearer should certainly not need to dig her thumbs into her underarms and hoist the entire dress back into place! If you're contemplating a strapless dress and you see grippy elastic around the top edge, or the "stays" sewn into the bodice are floppy enough to bend, don't buy it. You would be distractedly clutching at your dress all evening. How gauche! Simply wear a dress with shoulders and be gracefully composed instead!