Speaking of creative modifications, this week I get to present another radical transformation. I took a large rectangular lace shawl and transformed into a skirt!
The original shawl is worked in a lace pattern and a lace weight mohair-silk yarn. The knitted fabric is quite wide and somewhat long, it also features great elasticity in all directions.
Picking a yarn to match for the modifications on this piece was not as challenging as in other pieces. The original yarn used is variegated in shades of orange, brown, pink and blue and that meant that I could potentially try to match any of these colors. I was lucky to easily find a good match in the leftovers pile: a sport weight cotton-silk yarn in a light blue color.
Given the large size of the original shawl, I figured that I could use the piece as fabric and construct a garment out of it (without doing any cutting). To brainstorm ideas, I consulted my book selection for this project. I found a great idea in Norah Gaughan’s Knit Fold Pleat Repeat book. In one of the projects presented in this book, there is a design called Tilt. In it, Norah is making use of a large rectangular knitted piece and puts it together to create an asymmetric skirt.
I found this to be a great idea to try with the shawl at hand. Of course, the dimensions of the shawl I had were much different than the ones used in Tilt, but this did not mean that the same idea cannot be applied.
I started by placing the shawl flat on the floor, and then folding it in half. Then I proceeded with sewing the opening width-wise with simple single crochet stitches (right sides facing together). Then I went over the corner, and started to sew the edge also length-wise, but only about halfway through. The remaining opening on this side was then used as the waistband opening.
I worked the waistband opening by first picking up stitches along the knitted edge with single crochet for a couple of rounds and then transitioned into a knitted 2×2 ribbing. Here I shaped the waistband in a similar fashion as described in Tilt, with short rows. When the waistband piece was finished, I folded the ribbing edge over and sewed it in place, while at the same time inserting an elastic waistband.
Lastly, and in order to create a nice finished look, I added a decorative crochet lace grid border at the bottom edge of the skirt. This border provides stability to the bottom edge and adds enough weight to assist the drape and movement of the whole skirt.
The result of all of this work is an airy, soft and super light skirt. The whole piece only weights 120gr! The drape that is created by the asymmetry of the design is wonderful when moving around in the skirt. This is really hard to capture in photographs, but believe me it feels amazing on!
When I tried it on to check the fit and overall construction, I discovered that for my body type the piece actually looks better on me as a strapless dress instead. That’s why in the pictures I have included both configurations.
Needless to say, I am very happy with the result and it was really fun to work on this. It would be great to test other configurations with rectangles in other dimensions (ratio of length and width). Let’s see what will fall on my lap in the future.
And don’t forget, you can make the Mohair Lace Skirt yours.