Piracy and Pirate Skirt Re-Fashion

I’m sure you know by now that Wikipedia (and other websites) have gone on a 24-hour blackout to protest the SOPA and PIPA legislation being debated in Congress right now.  In fact, the only page Wikipedia is showing is a description of the legislation, why they don’t like it, and links to related news stories.

I don’t know how to address movie and music piracy, but these laws don’t look like the best way.  Devoted pirates are unlikely to be checked by the contents of the legislation.  Instead, SOPA and PIPA lay the groundwork for wider, legal internet censorship.  In this time we live in of systemic corruption, revolution, social change and Occupiers, I don’t really trust a government to regulate the free speech and free information we all enjoy right here on the internets.  What do you think? (I always welcome opinions; let’s please be respectful.)

Rather than join the blackout (I’m too lazy to figure out how), I thought I’d share some information of my own and show you how I resurrected a half-dead pencil skirt.

This skirt comes from Plasticland.  Once again you, my style-enablers, encouraged me to chase a whim and make something fun.  (Note the anchor embroidery.)

This skirt is made of organic cotton from one of those useful little 1960’s “instant skirt” patterns.  I love it, but this fabric softens with age.  Once it started softening, it didn’t look quite “smart” anymore, but was too restrictive for me to cycle into my casual-wear.  So I stuck it in a drawer.

Today, I pulled it out from hiding and drew a few chalk lines until I found a pleasing curve, then cut it.  I overlocked/serged the raw edge and removed the faux-pocket flaps:

I acquired this very pretty, flowy poly chiffon from a friend’s de-stash.  I cut it along the bias, using the pattern in the fabric as a guide.  I cut it roughly 5″ wide, and joined the strips to measure roughly 5X the hem of my skirt.  Then I made a rolled hem on my machine.  As happens, it skipped in a few places so I went back over the skipped spots with a neat hand buttonhole stitch.

I turned up the differential feed on my serger to help gather the ruffle.  This works best on light fabrics and four threads and usually gives something of a mini-pleated effect.  Mine was sissy-gathering because I used just 3 threads.  I divided the hem of the skirt and the edge of the ruffle into quarters and pinned them together.  Then I drew up the needle thread to gather it further.  I stitched, serged the seam allowance together and pressed toward the skirt.

At that point, I decided the skirt was too long.  I wanted a longer skirt than Plasticland’s, but not as long as this skirt came out.  No way would I unpick and re-sew the ruffle, so I stitched a pleat in the body of the skirt as I’ve seen on late 40’s dresses.

Unfortunately, the cool pleat doesn’t show up in my quickie “in-progress” photos.   I’ll take some lovely pictures once I embroider the skirt and finish the sailor top.  What do we think of these whales from Oh, Fransson!?


In other news, remember the 50’s housewife micro-houndstooth shirt I started last September?  I finished it for Sew Weekly’s “Buttoned Up” challenge.  Have a look.

Edited to add:  WordPress users, you can opt to “protest SOPA PIPA” under your “settings,” which is interesting.  That’s the ribbon in the corner of the screen, which takes you to a form to write to your member of congress and to more information about the legislation.


  1. My husband, who works for a non-profit organization that lobbies for consumer protection and against the entertainment industry (MPAA, Telephone/Cable companies) says the blackout won’t accomplish anything. If you truly want to do something about SOPA and PIPA, the best thing to do is to pick up the phone and call your (USA) congresspeople and senators. Better yet, put pen to paper and send them a real, actual paper letter. This is the only way that your elected officials keep track of things like this.

  2. Ooooh! This looks promising! Elizabeth’s buttons are way cute, too :-) That’s an old post, though. Did you remember it, or were you googling whale buttons?

    • I was doing a google search for “whale embroidery” and it came up. :) I figured a whale would make a nice nautical motif, nothing against anchors.

  3. That whale! Too cute!
    I’m loving this skirt- it looks like a whole lot of crazy fun! Well done :D
    I can’t wait to get to a stage in my sewing where I can work without a pattern. It’s going to be good times and maybe involve some energy providing cake to get me through. Good times!

    • Well, most of the time it’s advisable to do refashions (and regular sewing) with patterns. The end result is cleaner and more consistent that way. But hacking the bottom off a skirt and sticking a ruffle on isn’t too hard. ;)

  4. I’m impressed with the skirt so far. I can’t wait to see the actual details (naughty you teasing us!).

    I can’t figure out how to add the Stop Censorship banner on my blog. Maybe because I’m outside the US? (Still have my vote though!). But wait, so are you…

    And I disagree that the blackout won’t do anything – it’s doing what it is supposed to, raising awareness so that we take the next step!

  5. As I understand it, under the terms of SOPA, your insertion of that photo of the skirt from Plasticland is a violation of their copyright unless you obtained written permission from them to reproduce it here. Linking to the photo, so that your readers have to click through to the Plasticland website to view it, is not. It’s a badly written, over-reaching piece of legislation. (I’m not suggesting you should change it as I see this as fair use and am not by any means a copyright lawyer, anyway- just bringing it up as an illustration of how this act could easily turn a great deal of internet users into criminals.)
    Your version of that skirt is wonderful. I like it far better than the original, and the little whales would be cute on it. Would you make similar buttons for your blouse? I could see that working with your sense of whimsy.

    • Yep. You’re exactly exactly right.

      Thank you! I’m not sure about the whale buttons, I’d have to see if they “worked into” any of my upcoming projects… Maybe, I like to create “Thematic harmony” in my wardrobe…

      I do have the blouse I’m wearing above… Very work appropriate- it’s Liberty cotton with a scrimshaw print… And a few other vaguely seafaring type clothes… Though I’m definitely a land-lubber (for now).

  6. Pingback: Actually Finished Object: Waltzing Matilda Skirt « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

Is it kind, useful or interesting? Great!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s