Tuesday 8 September 2020

Before & After: From 80's Pencil Skirt Summer Suit to Shorts & Open Top Set

Dear readers, I am JUST. A. LITTLE. EXCITED about this one. I got this vintage summer suit from a secondhand store in Finland, purely based on the delicious colour, didn't even try it on. My initial plan was to somehow transform it into a dress, but on closer inspection I realized there was no good way to make that work. Until one night lying in bed it hit me - I can turn the skirt into shorts!! Anyone that's been here for a while knows I love myself a matching set. Oh and did I mention this suit is SILK. And came with a matching belt. 🤩

I've been wanting to share this project for a few weeks, but had to sit on my hands since it fit perfectly with the Week 2 theme of our #sewsustainablefabric IG challenge - Use what you have. So if you have a pencil skirt you're not wearing, or next time at a secondhand store spot an amazing one.. maybe shorts are in the cards.

Tutorials take a lot of time & effort to create, and I choose to make mine available for free. If you enjoy this guide, you can support me with a donation that feels right for you, here.

Here's what I started with:

The skirt already had a feature I was determined on keeping - the zipper. It was a back zipper, but I figured I could use it as a front fly. And boy did it work out.

I. The first thing I did was to chop the whole skirt across (I cut it at 24 cm down from the waist).
II. Then I strategized for a while on how to cut the short legs out of the part of the skirt I just chopped off, and cut away, starting with the front pieces:
III. To get ready to attach the leg pieces, I opened up the ex-skirt side seams & now center seam (the seam just below the zipper) a bit..
.. And then pinned the leg piece right sides facing, and sewed in place.
IV. Repeated for the other side and I had this:
V. To finish the front, last bit was the crotch seam. Folded the front right sides facing, and sewed along the curve. It was a bit tricky to get all the way in to connect the stitch with the below-zip center seam...
.. But I got there, finished that bit by continuing the top stitch that was there originally.
VI. Moving onto the back. First cut my leg pieces again:
VII. And then I needed to do something to adjust the waist which was a few cm too big for me. If the skirt's waist was the right size, I could've just skipped this part and gone straight to attaching legs, as I did with the front. But I had to open up the center back seam, get into the waistband, where to my delight I discovered an elastic! That made it super easy to adjust the waist. 
VIII. So I added the leg pieces..
IX. .. And took the elastic in the waistband in a bit.. Then re-did the center back seam, closed up the waist band. Last two steps were to sew the side seams, and hem the shorts!
X. For hemming I did the usual double fold.
And TA-DA!! Back zipper successfully converted to front fly and skirt to shorts!
XI. The top was a much simpler transformation. All I did was to remove the buttons & take in the sides to make the fit a bit more fresh. I didn't even add new buttons since I dind't have any that I liked, and to be honest I may not add buttons at all since I'll always wear this open.
For the sleeves, I liked the pleats at the shoulders so I kept those, but chopped them a bit shorter and got rid of the box pleat.
Selfdrafting and making from scratch will always be my #1 love, but vintage flipping can be so much fun!!



  1. This refashion came out great and looks fantastic on you!
    Thanks for posting the details and pictures of the process.
    :-) Chris

  2. I think you have a great eye & are very talented. Love the outfit!

  3. You did such a great job! So cute.

  4. Gorgeous!! I love it! Now I wish I could sew. :(

  5. What a great makeover - you are so talented!

  6. Love the idea of using the zip in the back of the skirt for the front fly! When I saw the beginning of the fly I was thinking...how did she do the zipper? Keeping it simple where you can is always best.

  7. What am amazing seamstress you are! Very creative as well.

  8. Very clever! Looks great on you too.

  9. Your redò is wonderful. I am looking forward to more of your creations.


I would love to hear what you think and learn about your DIY adventures! If you use one of my tutorials, tag me on social @contour_affair, I'd love to see!


Contour Affair Copyright © 2011 -- Template created by O Pregador -- Powered by Blogger