Luxurious and shiny, velvet is definitely a perfect fabric for the holidays. But instead of paying upwards of $30 for a nice velvet skirt, why not make your own? This tutorial won’t teach you to make a circle skirt in the traditional way, but instead how to replicate the look using an outdated thrifted dress! Keep reading to find out how!
AS SEEN ON: Chictopia
These looks really inspired me to do this DIY. It’s just coincidence that all of them are in red!
-One long velvet dress
-Measuring tape or ruler
-Marking pen or chalk
-Sewing machine or basic hand-sewing skills (and supplies: needle, thread)
-Elastic (width to your preference). I wouldn’t choose anything thinner than 1", which is what I used.
Read through all the steps before getting started!
1. Cut off the very top of the dress, right under the arms/sleeves.
2. Measure the remaining tube of fabric, and take note of this measurement. Divide that number in half, and make sure that it would be an appropriate length for your skirt. If it’s too long, you’ll fix that later. If you think it’s too short, you may need to buy more fabric.
3. Measure the hem at the bottom of the dress. Add 1/4". Take note.
4. Fold the tube of fabric in half, but then slide the un-hemmed side of the tube up to allow for hemming the raw edge. (For example, if your measurement from Step #4 is 1", slide the un-hemmed side up 1" higher than the hemmed side.)
5. Mark on the fold and cut.
6. Lay out these two tubes and cut up the side seams of each—this will give you two pieces of fabric.
7. Hem the un-hemmed piece. Make sure you hem the side that you cut at the bottom, instead of the side you cut near the arms.
Fold up 1/4" and then fold up your hem, so you don’t have any raw edges. Take your time if you’re sewing with a machine as velvet can be tricky. I recommend using a longer stitch.
8. Place right side to right side and pin on the short sides. Sew. Press open the seams and serge or zigzag stitch the seam allowance if desired.
9. Asses what you’ve done so far. How does the top (un-hemmed) part of the skirt look? Is it even? If not, cut it off just enough to make it so. If you hold the skirt up to your waist, is it too long? If the answer is yes, cut it off to your liking, making sure to leave an extra 1" or whatever the width of your elastic, plus 1/2".
10. Fold under the top part of the skirt 1/4" all the way around. Then fold up a hem that is the width of your elastic plus 1/4". Sew, but be sure to leave about a 1" opening near a seam where you can insert your elastic. This part of the skirt is called the “casing.”
11. Measure your elastic to fit around your waist, or wherever you want the skirt to sit. Add about 1" and cut. Attach one end of the elastic to a safety pin, and use that to help feed it through the opening and all the way through the casing.
12. Make sure your elastic isn’t twisted anywhere, and in the opening of the casing, overlap the two ends by about 1/2". Sew in this overlapped area, going back and forth so that the elastic will stay together.
13. Try on your skirt to make sure it fits, then fold under the waistband opening as you did with the rest of the casing. Sew closed, making sure you don’t sew into the elastic.
And that’s it! You have a velvet circle skirt in about 4 hours.
A floor-length velvet dress like the one I used should be fairly easy to find. I found four of them at my local Salvation Army. Look in the gowns section, and try to go on a sale day for an even better bargain!
Wash your dress before you start DIYing!
If your dress and it has details like mine did (pockets, buttons…), you can definitely work them into your design.
If you’re using a sewing machine, go with whatever seam allowance you’re comfortable with. I used 5/8" for side seams, and sewed right along the edge of the seam for a hem.
You could just sew this skirt with about 1.5 yards of fabric….but that can get more complicated and you may just want to use a pattern. Or, if you’re feeling clever, try to adapt these instructions!
If you have any more questions, feel free to leave a comment!