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Ideas on How to Decorate Old Skirts

Add color to a white skirt with an embroidered bottom hem.
James Woodson/Photodisc/Getty Images

Are you starting a new job or heading off to college? Give your tired old skirts a makeover for a new first-day outfit. Revamp long or short, form-fitting or flared silhouettes with different decorating ideas. Get inspired and recycle old trims -- and include appliqués, embroidery or heat seals. Just select the spot on the skirt you want to restyle, open your creativity floodgates and let your design juices breathe new life into your old skirts.


Open your craft bins and get inspired by your old or leftover trims. Stitch floral brocade taping along the bottom hem or side seams of the skirt. You can also position leftover buttons and beads in a heart pattern and hand stitch them onto the front panel or on back pockets. If you have dainty satin ribbon, stitch it along the side seam for a tuxedo-like stripe or around the skirt's waistband to add definition. And certainly don't allow leftover lace fabric to collect dust -- create a skirt ruffle and stitch it around the bottom hem. Voila! New look!


Create original appliqués with leftover fabric or cut-out old T-shirt designs. In-style trends generally include raw-edge appliqués that naturally curl or fray over time. Create the shape -- such as flowers, skulls or stars -- to fit the width and length of the selected spot on your skirt. Cut out the shape and hand stitch it to the skirt, leaving a 3/8-inch border to fray or curl. You can also add costume jewelry or beads to the appliqué fabric. Before you stitch it on, stabilize the backside with a stabilizer sheet -- sold at embroidery or sewing retailers -- to firm up fabric. Stitch old costume-jewelry pieces or beads and hand stitch onto the skirt.


Whether freehanding your embroidery designs or embroidering on a separate piece of cloth, your design ideas for your skirt are limitless. Select contrasting or novelty metallic threads to accentuate the skirt panel. Create motifs --flowers, initials, vines, stems, stars or abstract shapes -- with matching or contrasting thread rims to ensure threads don't unravel over time. Choose a decorative embroidery stitch or pattern and add it around the bottom hem. You can embroider the stitch horizontally, create a vertical stitch or floral pattern and thus accentuate the sweep-bottom hem.


Just like the appliqué, you can also create your own heat seal with double-sided, fabric adhesive sheets. Cut out the desired shape and remove the covering on one side of the sheet to iron onto the fabric's backside for your heat seal. If you are working with heat-seal rhinestones, stones or beads, apply them to your heat-seal fabric with your iron as well. If your skirt is made out of delicate textiles, cover heat seals with a protective sheet before applying them directly to the skirt as high heat settings can permanently damage your skirt. Remove the remaining adhesive sheet cover and apply your heat seal before stepping out in your restyled skirt.

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