Changing Your Clothes

Shopping, Sewing, Upcycling, Repairing: Make the most of your clothes!

Makeover Monday: Lining up!


You know how sometimes, even when something doesn’t need to be changed, you feel like changing it anyway? (I’m convinced this is the explanation for my lipgloss collection.) Well, I was in that kind of mood coming into today’s Makeover Monday; I only had to choose a suitable victim garment on which to experiment.

Enter the grey knit skirt.

I’ve had this skirt for at least 8 years, probably longer; I got it from Anthropologie, and it’s a triumph of featherweight 100% merino wool sweater-knit, with a pure silk lining, in my favorite shades of grey: charcoal and silver.

Grey knit skirt, before

Grey knit skirt, before. Nothing wrong with it, I love the style, I just suddenly want to change the lining, which, as you can see, peeks through the drop-stitch panels.

Here’s a closer look at some of the details:

Grey skirt details

Grey skirt details. The top photo shows the pull-on waistband (with invisible elastic at the very top), and the silk lining showing through the drop-stitch panels. In the bottom photo, you can see the beautifully-finished lining with its French seams and enclosed hem.

I know, I know, why can’t I just leave it alone? There’s nothing at all wrong with it, it still fits me, so what’s the problem?

That’s just it— I want it to be a little more exciting. Yes, the silver lining (ooh, I just got that!) makes the skirt quite versatile, vis-a-vis creating outfits, but as I said, I’m just in the mood for change today. So the first thing I need to do is remove the original lining. This turned out to be simpler than usual, because it was hand-stitched to the knit waistband, so it was a matter of just snipping a few threads:

Removing the lining

Removing the lining. At top, you can see the hand-stitching that secures the original lining to the inside of the waistband; note also how the lining is eased into the knit waistband, to accommodate stretching when pulling on the skirt. The bottom photo shows removal of this hand-stitching in progress.

And here’s the lining after its removal from the skirt. Sensing the onset of separation anxiety, I hastened to reassure the lining that it could serve an entirely new purpose: living a leisurely new life as a template for the new lining!

Original silk lining

Original silk lining, after removal from skirt. Note the slightly A-line shape, the French seams, and narrow (double fold) finish at the top, as well as at the hem. Also, the length is about 2/3 of the total skirt length, with the lining hem hitting just at the top of the wide band at the bottom of the knit skirt; this is relevant to the quantity of fabric I’ll need for the new lining.

Now it’s time to think about the new lining. Since it does show through, I want to use a fabric that will make some sort of statement (as long as that statement is not, “I wish I was inside a coat instead of this see-through skirt”). Perhaps a contrast color? Fine, but which color? I do want to think about versatility; if I line this skirt in, say, fuchsia, won’t that limit the things I can wear with it? Hmm. So something fairly neutral, but, somewhat paradoxically, exciting. I headed to my fabric stash for inspiration, and found…

… this!

Gold sequinned fabric

Gold sequinned fabric. Could this be my new lining?

I’m liking this possibility; I’ve always loved the combination of gold and grey/silver, and having just a hint of sequins underneath the wool skirt should tone down the glitz nicely.

Trying the sequins

Trying the sequins. At top, by placing the sequinned fabric inside the skirt, I can get an accurate idea of how the 2 fabrics interact. The photo below, shows a close-up view of the sequins under the drop-stitch panel.

But just to be sure, let’s run this option through…

Lindy’s Fabric Eligibility Checklist:

  • Quantity: I have 1 yard of this fabric (44″ wide), which is exactly what I need for my new lining.
  • Color: Gold (like all metallics) functions as a neutral color. Perfect.
  • Compatibility: The skirt, being merino wool, needs to be dry-cleaned or hand-washed; I tend to think the chemicals used in dry-cleaning are not good for sequins, but both the skirt and sequins can be hand-washed.
  • Suitability: On many sequinned fabrics, the sequins are slightly cup-shaped, meaning that underneath the skirt, the wool could catch on them; however, this particular fabric’s sequins are convex, creating a smooth surface. (I did test this by running the sequinned fabric repeatedly under the skirt, particularly the drop-stitch panels, but there was absolutely no snagging.) And since the original silk lining, like the sequins, is not a stretch fabric (unlike the skirt), I assume the sequins will function as well as the silk; when I cut it, I’ll allow larger seam allowances to accommodate the sequins.

Hurrah! My gold sequinned fabric passes all these tests! (Plus I just really, really like it.)

Next, I cut out my new lining (using the original one as a pattern by laying it on the sequins and cutting around it, adding seam allowances), then stitched the sides with French seams (like the original lining), which encloses in the seam allowance any sequins that might stick me in the leg:

French seam

French seam. You can see how this seam finish completely encloses the sequins, which is important because since the sequins will face outwards, this seam will be against my skin, so it needs to be comfortable.

Tip: A French seam is usually made by sewing the same seam twice. The first seam is sewn with the wrong sides together, with a seam allowance that’s less than the total seam allowance. The seam allowance is trimmed, then turned to the other side (right sides together), and the second seam is sewn, enclosing the first seam. Click here for a great tutorial from Craftsy on sewing this classic (and high-class) seam finish.

To create a smooth hem finish, I cut the new lining so that the selvages could be turned up into a hem; this is a simple way to reduce bulk (important when you’re working with sequins), as well as to prevent sequins from rubbing on skin (or, heaven forfend, snagging or running your hosiery).

Forming hem using selvage

Forming hem using selvage. Like the French seams, this eliminates the discomfort of sequins against skin. And it also lightens the workload, since there’s no tedious removal of cut sequins to take care of.

Aside: Is “selvage” or “selvedge” the correct term? Or are they both correct? Now that I think about it, considering that what it refers to is actually on the edges of fabric, perhaps “selvedge” is more accurate; does anyone know? End of aside.

Now I just have to think about how to finish the top edge; this is the part that will be hand-sewn onto the waistband. I had thought about using single-fold bias tape, which is a great option, but I didn’t have any on hand in an appropriate color. Hmm, I think I might just repurpose the top of the original lining! I already know it fits, it’s the right color, it’s already finished, I’ll just have to attach it to the new lining, thus:

"New" waistband

“New” waistband. I cut the top off the original lining, adding 3/4″ as seam allowance. I first sewed the band to the top of the sequinned part (a normal seam), then turned under the extra grey seam allowance, folded it down over the exposed edge of the sequinned fabric, and stitched again. (The 2 rows of zigzag stitching are mine; the straight stitching is on the original lining. I used zigzag to allow just a little more give in the waistband.)

A funny thing happened on my way to attaching the new lining to my skirt… I had an idea! (But then, why should today be different?)

What if I made this lining detachable?

After taking another look at the skirt sans lining, I thought how well it might work as an overskirt. Picture it over a ’50s-style sheath dress, for example, or perhaps capri-length leggings, or your favorite Little Black Dress! (That reminds me… I don’t own an LBD at this moment. Must remedy.) But meanwhile, what should I do with my new sequinned lining?

Most improbably, the answer turned out to be Velcro®! If I want to wear the skirt as an overskirt, I don’t want the rough part of the Velcro to snag whatever I wear under the skirt, so I decided to put the soft part of the Velcro® on the skirt, in four places: on each side, center front, and center back. Here’s what it looks like on both parts:

Attaching Velcro®

Attaching Velcro® to skirt and lining. The soft half (loop) is sewn to the inside of the skirt waistband (top photo); the hook part is sewn to the outside of the lining waistband.

And here’s my newly-lined skirt/overskirt, all parts attached and ready to wear!

Grey skirt, after!

Grey skirt, after its lining makeover! (Would that make it a make-under, I wonder?) Even though there was nothing really wrong with the before version, I think this is so much more fun, especially when I think about the possibility of a whole wardrobe of different linings that could be used with this skirt!

By the way, the reason I’m posting this a day late (sorry!) is because I decided to wear this skirt with its sparkly new lining to Monday’s last 2 milongas of Portland TangoFest, which has been going on since last Wednesday. After this rigorous test-wearing, I can happily report that, because the lining is slim-fitting under the almost-circular skirt, it stayed put while dancing (a practical consideration that shouldn’t be overlooked). I had also had a slight concern that the wool would become too warm, but that didn’t happen.

So even though this pretty skirt didn’t actually need a makeover, a lot of good things came out of this project: I used up a piece of sequinned fabric that’s been in my stash for {blush} years, I had the idea to use the de-lined skirt as an overskirt, and possibly make multiple detachable linings for use with it, and perhaps most importantly, I’m now making the most out of my grey skirt!

Makeover Mondays happen on the second Monday of every month (well, unless I’m out dancing). Join me next time, and as always, I welcome your makeover project suggestions and/or guest post ideas, which you can simply e-mail to me!

Author: Colormusing

I'm a writer, color palette creator, and designer of fashion, lingerie, graphics, knitwear patterns, and yarn.

3 thoughts on “Makeover Monday: Lining up!

  1. This is amazing! How do you do it? I didn’t know you could get sequins that didn’t snag. Meaning, I have a lovely blouse with sequins, but if I don’t hang it next to something that won’t snag, it will snag my other clothes. Just beautiful!

    • I know what you mean— I wouldn’t have believed it was possible. But in looking through my collection of fabric pieces, I’m surprised to find more than one with non-snaggy sequins. I must say that these tend to be the higher-end fabrics; look for the ones that have a sort of “liquid” look to them, and/or those with tiny sequins.

      Starting quite a while back, every time I would travel, I’d find the best fabric shop in town and pick out one special piece, limiting myself to a single yard/meter; this has resulted in a diverse collection of really beautiful fabrics that I’m now working into various projects. It’s amazing what can be done with such a small quantity, but with these special fabrics, a little goes a long way.

  2. Wow – this is lovely, and yes, who knew sequins don’t have to be “snaggy”!

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