Is It Possible to Turn a Pencil Skirt into a Flared Skirt?

by Patricia
(Sacramento, CA, USA)

Full picture of the dress in question

Full picture of the dress in question

Full picture of the dress in question Close-Up of Bodice/Front Skirt Darts Side view Back view (for you to see the darts in back)

This summer I am going to be a bridesmaid in a wedding. The bride wants us to wear navy J. Crew dresses. I absolutely abhor my upper arms and thus was looking for a dress with sleeves -- unfortunately, there is only one specific bridesmaid dress that has sleeves, and I know it would look bad on me.

Hence, I've decided to try to make a navy office wear dress of theirs work. The issue: the dress has a pencil skirt, and I only look good in flared skirts. Would it be possible to:

A) Have a seamstress alter the pencil into a flare with just the fabric at hand by taking the darts out of the pencil skirt?

B) If A is impossible because there simply isn't enough material, could I buy a duplicate of the dress, rip off the skirt portion of it, and have the seamstress construct a flared skirt out of the two materials' worth of skirt? If so, would they be able to do it an a pretty, classy way that wouldn't obviously show big seams?

I know a lot of this might depend on the quality of the seamstress I go to -- trust me, I will try to go to the best seamstress I can find. I just want to know if any of this is possible from an alteration/sewing standpoint.

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Feb 03, 2015
Altering a Pencil Skirt to Be a Flared Style
by: mimijoon

Hi Patricia!

The photos of your dress are lovely. I wish I could give you a definitive answer to your very intelligent questions regarding a remodel of the dress.

The problem comes down to the amount of fabric that is available as well as the cut of the fabric.

Fabric that is cut for a certain style will often not have enough width or length on grain to cut the pieces for another style, especially if the new style will require wider pieces.

About the only way to find out if it would work would be to work closely with your favorite seamstress to give it a try. This could be an expensive proposition, but may be worth it for this special occasion.

Another possibility that occurs to me: if you could find a sleeveless dress with the flared skirt you desire, it might be more likely for a seamstress to insert sleeves.

If you could acquire a second dress of the same fabric, sleeves could be cut from the skirt, thus matching the dress you plan to wear.

I hope you can find the perfect resolution to your dilemna, and that you and the bride will both be pleased!

If anyone else has a creative solution, please comment and help Patricia out!

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