How to Refashion a $5 Plaid Skirt into a Cute Capelet

Step by step tutorial on how to refashion a plaid skirt into a cute capelet.

The first thing I stalk at thrift stores is large skirts because they usually have beautiful patterns with enough fabric for me to play with.  This $5 plaid skirt was made of the softest wool and had a classic plaid pattern.  The princess seams gave the skirt a feminine flare at the bottom.  Don’t ask me why, but I immediately thought “capelet” when I spotted the skirt.  In this post, I’ll show you how to make a capelet from a skirt using a free capelet pattern by Thunderlily on Burda Style.  I was able to finish this project in an afternoon and wear it out to dinner.

How to refashion a capelet from a skirt. This skirt beautifully matched the plaid pattern.

Look at how perfectly the plaid is lined up.  I’ve read how tedious it can be to match the plaid, so I wanted to preserve this pattern matching in the capelet.  As I mentioned in previous posts, I’m a lazy sewer, and I try to reuse the original construction to save time.

I found a free capelet pattern by Thunderlily on Burda Style.  The original pattern had a cool collar tie and sawtooth edge along a button closure, but there wasn’t enough fabric in the skirt for these decorative touches, so I only used the lining pattern.

How to refashion a capelet from a skirt. I didn't lay the skirt flat when I cut out the skirt because I wanted to keep the flairs in the skirt.

I didn’t want to lose the flairs in the skirt, so I didn’t lay the fabric flat under the pattern.

How to refashion a plaid skirt into a capelet. I sewed the side seams and serged the bottom.

I cut out the front and back pieces, and then sewed the pieces together at the side.

To make the facing for the capelet, I cut the pieces 2 inches in from the front opening and collar.

I used the skirt lining for the capelet lining.  There weren’t any flairs in the lining, so I laid the fabric flat when I cut it out.  One thing I did add to the lining that wasn’t in the instructions was a facing along the front opening and collar.  The wool fabric has a loose weave, and I was concerned it would stretch out of shape around the collar.  To make the facing pattern, I cut out the pattern 2 inches in from the collar and front edge.  Then I cut the facing from a twill fabric reinforced with stabilizer.  I sewed the facing onto the lining, and then sewed the side seams of the lining just like the front.  If your fabric has a tighter weave, you can skip the facing.

I cut the lining shorter than the wool fabric so the capelet could swing freely.

I cut the lining shorter than the wool fabric so the capelet could swing freely.  I finished the bottom of the lining with the serger.  With right sides together, I sewed the capelet to the lining along the front opening and neckline, then I flipped it right side out.  I finished the hem of the wool fabric with bias tape.

I made a sweater clip from a pair of thrifted clip-on earrings and left over necklace chain.

This capelet was a little too snug when I tried to close it at the neck.  When left slightly open, it felt just right, but I was afraid it would slide off my shoulders.  To solve this problem, I improvised a sweater clip by hacking together a thrifted pair of earrings and leftover necklace chain from a jewelry project.  I cut the chain down to about 3 inches and attached it to holes in the back of the clip on earrings.

Sweater clip made from clip on earrings and necklace chain.

This finishing touch was thrown in at the last minute, but I love the polish it adds to the capelet.

Front view of the skirt to capelet refashion with sweater clip.

Most capelets I see in store tend to be longer, but I like the cropped look to this pattern.

Side view of skirt to capelet refashion.

Here’s a view from the side.

Back view of skirt to capelet refashion.

And here’s a view from the back.

Closeup of capelet refashion. I remade a wool plaid skirt into a cute little capelet.

The pattern is size 0 and isn’t offered in any other sizes, but this is a simple pattern that can be easily altered.  It didn’t take long to whip up this sassy little capelet as there weren’t many pieces and the sewing was straightforward.  I can see myself pairing the capelet with many outfits.  It’s an easy garment to throw on at the last minute.

with trevor

Even my son Trevor loves my capelet.

 

 

 

 

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There are 18 comments for this article
  1. kitblue at 6:12 am

    I would have NEVER thought of a capelet. I have even thought of a capelet so I didn’t know that I would like one – but I do! I don’t like capes but your capelet is sleek, handsome and business-like as well as adaptable to after-hours.
    I have searched for sweater clips for years, primarily for vests, but have had a hard time finding any. I found a cute one with tiny jewels, some missing, and I got 2 plain ones from a friend’s sister. Now that you have told me about using clip-on earrings, the sky’s the limit. Thanks so much both ideas.

  2. kitblue at 6:12 am

    I would have NEVER thought of a capelet. I have even thought of a capelet so I didn’t know that I would like one – but I do! I don’t like capes but your capelet is sleek, handsome and business-like as well as adaptable to after-hours.
    I have searched for sweater clips for years, primarily for vests, but have had a hard time finding any. I found a cute one with tiny jewels, some missing, and I got 2 plain ones from a friend’s sister. Now that you have told me about using clip-on earrings, the sky’s the limit. Thanks so much both ideas.

  3. Kimberly at 1:11 am

    I absolutely love this idea. I have a few skirts in my closet that I have been saving trying to figure out what to do with them. Now I know.

  4. Kimberly at 1:11 am

    I absolutely love this idea. I have a few skirts in my closet that I have been saving trying to figure out what to do with them. Now I know.

  5. Ree Cee at 1:49 am

    I came over from refashionista’s blog because she featured your tutorial. WOW! As I said in my comment: THIS. THIS. THIS. Simply brilliant and might be the tipping point to make me lean towards learning how to sew. Cuz I luvs me a capelet!

    I will not look at skirts the same way again. Ever.

    And to TOP IT OFF – you made a sweater clip (I started collecting them a few years ago – but they are “lost” in my hoard) from clip on earrings!!!!! I have tons of clip on earrings – some that are gaudily gorgeous – that I was going to sell but you have changed my life because now I’m going to make sweater clips. Thanks for sharing!

    • trevorlovesmommy at 5:29 am

      Thanks for your amazing comments. You should absolutely learn to sew! Think of all the refashions you can do. A simple cape would be the perfect first project. Please share your earring projects. I’d love to see them.

  6. Ree Cee at 1:49 am

    I came over from refashionista’s blog because she featured your tutorial. WOW! As I said in my comment: THIS. THIS. THIS. Simply brilliant and might be the tipping point to make me lean towards learning how to sew. Cuz I luvs me a capelet!

    I will not look at skirts the same way again. Ever.

    And to TOP IT OFF – you made a sweater clip (I started collecting them a few years ago – but they are “lost” in my hoard) from clip on earrings!!!!! I have tons of clip on earrings – some that are gaudily gorgeous – that I was going to sell but you have changed my life because now I’m going to make sweater clips. Thanks for sharing!

    • trevorlovesmommy at 5:29 am

      Thanks for your amazing comments. You should absolutely learn to sew! Think of all the refashions you can do. A simple cape would be the perfect first project. Please share your earring projects. I’d love to see them.

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