Gorgeous Smocked Skirt and Top Set Tutorial

Sewphilia Studio
by Sewphilia Studio
11 Materials
4 Hours

I’m Nigerian and from the Yoruba tribe in West Africa. I took my native traditional Iro and Buba outfit and transformed it into a simple Reformation style smock skirt and top set.

I had my outfit for a while and wanted to change into something on-trend and more modern with DIY puff sleeves, square neck, shirred bodice top and a shirred waistband skirt with a slit.

While this isn’t a true tutorial, I hope my transformation helps you change up some of the clothes sitting in your cupboard into something you’ll wear more often.

Tools and materials:

  • Fabric (here I’m using my traditional Yoruba clothes)
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Tailor’s chalk
  • Elastic thread
  • Elastic
  • Safety pin
  • Ruler
  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing machine
Cutting the sleeves

1. Cut the sleeves

I’m using the scarf and the wrapper from my traditional outfit to make the sleeves. I measured the width and the length and then cut out both sleeves from these fabric pieces.

Removing existing sleeves

I turned my old top inside out. I used the seam ripper to remove the existing sleeves, keeping the seam allowance intact.

Making the bodice

2. Make the new bodice

I took the top and laid it against me to determine where I wanted the neckline and waist. I used the measuring tape for the exact measurement.

Making the bodice

I then used the ruler to mark my measurements on the fabric.

Making the bodice

After cutting the new neckline, making this into a tube top, I reinforced the side seams by sewing them again. I secured the raw edges of the seam allowance with a zigzag stitch.

Making the bodice

I hemmed the top by folding it in twice by ½ inch. After pinning, I sewed it across.

Sewing elastic thread to bodice

I threaded my sewing machine with the elastic thread. After backstitching, I sewed the elastic thread to the bodice across the top hem.

DIY peplum top

I sewed several more rows around the center. I was very happy with the way this made a sweet little peplum.

Folding and sewing double hem

I added more shirring with the elastic thread across the bodice. Then I folded and sewed a double hem at the bottom of the peplum.

Making the sleeves

3. Make the sleeves

I took my sleeve pieces and folded the top and bottom parts to make channels for the elastic. I cut the elastics for the shoulder and cuffs.

Inserting elastic

I inserted them into the channels using a safety pin to pull them through.

Making the sleeves

After securing the elastics together, I placed the sleeve seam along the bodice seam, right sides together.

I pinned at the seams and sewed 3 inches on either side. I repeated this technique for the other sleeve.

DIY skirt

4. Make the skirt

I made the skirt off camera by sewing up the side seam, leaving a slit at the bottom. I shirred the top for an easy waistband.

Completed DIY smocked top and skirt set

Smocked skirt and top set

There you have it. I made a smocked top and skirt set from an outfit I had sitting in my cupboard for years into this on-trend smock blouse and smocked skirt.

DIY bishop sleeve top

I can wear them separately or together. I can tuck the top into the skirt to make it look like a dress. I’m thrilled with the way it came out. Please let me know in the comments what you think!

Suggested materials:
  • Fabric
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors
See all materials

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