Sometimes, I come across a dress at the thrift store that makes me ask “What the heck were they thinking?” Take for example this Jessica McClintock prom dress I scored for $10. I liked the ruched bodice by itself, and I liked the mermaid tail by itself but put together, it was an epic fail. I thought these 2 parts should be separated, and that’s exactly what I did.
Step 1: Pick apart the mermaid tail and first tier of fabric from the tail.
Step 2: Make the waist from the first tier of fabric. I assumed this tier would be a long rectangular strip of fabric but it turned out to be curved pieces that were perfect for a waist yoke. Cut 2 waist yokes – one for the front and one for the facing.
Serge the top with the wrong sides together.
Flip over the waist yoke and press. If you don’t have curved pieces, you can use a rectangular piece of fabric for your waistband. For the length, measure your waist and add a 5/8″ seam allowance on both sides. For the width, figure out how high you want the waistband, and then double it to cover both the front and back. Then add a 5/8″ seam allowance to both sides.
Step 3: Make pleats in the fabric. The bottom of the waist yoke was 30″, which meant I had to pleat the rest of the fabric to measure 30″. I made 6 pleats 5 inches apart.
Here’s a view of the pleat from the back. I pinched 8″ of fabric for a 4″ pleat.
The last pleat is really 2 half pleats with a 5/8″ seam allowance for the invisible zipper and side seam.
Step 4: Serge the waist to the skirt.
Step 5: Sew the invisible zipper. I used a wonderful tutorial from Colette Patterns with easy to follow instructions and beautiful photography. This zipper hides nicely in the pleat.
Step 6: Finish the edge of the waist facing by folding under the raw edge and whip stitching in place.
The finished skirt had a preppy vibe to it, so I paired with a white oxford.
Step 6: Finish the rest of the dress. I hemmed the dress and the lining in less than 10 minutes.
If you need help calculating the number and spacing of pleats for your waist and length of fabric, I highly recommend a tutorial from Joe and Cheryl. They have beautiful diagrams and easy formulas. Everything starts from your waistline measurement. All other measurements are based on your waistline.Follow my blog with Bloglovin