Upcycle a Vintage Vera Sheet Set to a Cute Skirt

It was the strangest sound.

I noticed it as soon as I woke up that morning. Not that I recognized it right away. All I comprehended was the feeling it gave me. So relaxed, calm and serene but not sure why. I went about my usual routine, wondering what was different this particular morning, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

And then, at around mile five of my fifteen mile drive to work, through the rural Grande Ronde Valley, it dawned on me.  Why the change? Why so relaxed? It was a slow realization, not like the kind that hits you square in the face, but it was that slightly green winter wheat field on the left side of the highway that made me start to understand the sound.

We’d gotten so used to it. It had become a constant. Running from the house to the car. Fighting it as I drove across the marsh each day. The high pitched moan coming through the ill fitting windows of my classroom. Everything so hectic, so frantic, and so exhausting. It was almost deafening when it quit. But it actually took me awhile to realize what it was.

Finally, after weeks, it had stopped.

The gale force wind was gone.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! What a relief!

But, do you know what the best thing about that is?

It means, spring really IS right around the corner.

You see, Eastern Oregon has this wonderful way of giving you a glimpse into the warmer months ahead, just when you need it most. It’s perfect. Like it knows you need a break. Like it’s trying to say, you CAN do it, you CAN make it through this.

I love the weather here. Exactly three months of each season. To me, its just right. It would be hard for me to live in a place where one or more of the seasons were missing because I enjoy each one.

That means less than a month of winter left. Sooooooo, I thought it would be fun to have a pre-season spring refashion today. Something to give you a reassuring glimpse into the warmer months ahead.

Check out this thrift store sheet and pillowcase that I’ve had for over a year. When I pulled it out and unfolded it, I got a big surprise. I didn’t notice the signature when I snagged it during one of the two dollar bag sales.

Vintage Vera Sheet Set Upcycled to a Skirt

YAY! Can you believe it???!!!?

A vintage Vera sheet set!


Vera Neumann was an American artist whose built an empire in the fifties, sixties and seventies putting her colorful graphic designs on linens and scarves. Her work was even loved by the likes of Marilyn Monroe and John Lennon. There are many sites out there dedicated to this talented woman but here is a good link if you’d like to learn more about her work.

I wanted to try out the floral and stripe trend. This sheet and shirt wiggled their way out of my stash and volunteered to be made into a skirt and top.

Vintage Vera Sheet Set Upcycled to a Skirt

Last weekend, I made my custom skirt pattern. I really do feel like I could take over the world now, just like Corienne Leigh said I would in her Craftovision tutorial “How to Draft a Custom Skirt Pattern” on You Tube. She walks you through the whole process from drafting the pattern to finishing up with a zipper, blind hem and waistband. I highly recommend her series if you’d like to give sewing without commercial patterns a try. The only thing I did differently from her tutorial is add a lining by cutting out the same front and back pieces and sewing it in with the zipper and the waistband.

And since Spring really IS just right around the corner, I’m now ready for it with my new custom Vera floral skirt!!!

Vintage Vera Sheet Set Upcycled to a Skirt

If it’s cold where you are, I hope this warms you up a bit and gives you a reassuring glimpse into the warmer months ahead.

You might also enjoy:

Easy DIY Refashion Tutorials 3

About The Renegade Seamstress

I'm a busy wife, mom, grandma, and teacher who loves to create. I've joined the refashion scene and I 'd like to share and connect with all those talented and creative people out there doing similar things.
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71 Responses to Upcycle a Vintage Vera Sheet Set to a Cute Skirt

  1. GRL says:

    Great skirt, Beth!
    I am so with you. We still have snow but I expect to see spring’s first robin any day now~

  2. cathy diacetis says:

    Cute skirt! Date: Sat, 9 Feb 2013 15:31:35 +0000 To: cadiacetis@hotmail.com

  3. mamacormier says:

    I was just thinking about you and how we haven’t heard from you in a couple of weeks. Great skirt. I recently bought a very expensive designer skirt directly from the designer and I was thinking how much fun it would be to come up with my own designs and create my own patterns. The skirt is very unusual and will probably never go out of style because it’s so quirky but I love it.

    • If you like to sew, I highly recommend the tutorial I used to create my own skirt pattern. It’s so comfy and fits my curvy self perfectly. You really could make these from almost anything; old sheets, thrifted out dated skirts, tablecloths, fabric, whatever!! The possibilities are endless. So nice to hear from you!!!

  4. vintagefrenchchic says:

    Love it! I didn’t know Vera made sheets. I always see vintage Vera scarves everywhere but never sheets. I like it as a skirt.

    • Yes, the sheets were manufactured by Burlington. Her designs were on tablecloths, sheets, scarves, napkins and I think some dishes, too. Her designs were even specifically made for some clothing. It’s a very interesting story of an American designer. I have a few of her scarves that I wear occasionally. I love her graphic designs! Enjoy your weekend!

  5. Kathlene says:

    I really love this beautiful refashion skirt! I’ve been hording vintage pillowcases and fabrics, things I thought I might never use, but this really inspires me! Thank you for a such a fun blog. I enjoy it very much!

  6. Mindi says:

    I am from Eastern Oregon, Pendleton. I know exactly what you are talking about. Thanks for the sewing inspirations. They are always amazing! Now, to find the time to play on my sewing machine. Keep up what you do!

  7. Cul de Sac says:

    It’s beautiful Beth! On so well looking on you! High five for the score 😉 i must go and look that serie up now!

  8. learnignnewtricks says:

    This skirt is the best one you have worn/made thus far. It nicely enhances your figure, and doesn’t add any extra width to your body. You look amazing in this beautiful skirt. I only wish you had shown more pictures of it from different angles. Not to mention the absolutely gorgeous pattern!

    • Thank you so much, I wish I had more pictures, too, but the day we took the pictures was dark and freezing. Not many pictures turned out. Maybe tomorrow will be sunny and we can take some better photos.

  9. Great skirt and love how you styled it.

  10. mari says:

    Beth, love your little essays on the world according to Beth…..and love the vera skirt. Very smart and stylish. I miss you. And yes, your valley is lovely and spring is right around the corner my friend.

    • Hey, Mari, my friend! I guess this is my own little world, isn’t it? We missed you at the beach par-tay! But thanks for letting Mark dance with me! I bet you’re getting your new yard ready for your magic landscaping touch. We’re going to have to plan a Walla Walla winery tour this summer so we can come visit you! I’ll be up for some asparagus and strawberries for sure.
      Love you!

  11. CherryPix says:

    Just gorgeous! Love Vera …in a Marimekko kind of way :-). Loved your observations about the wind…

  12. Mother Deer says:

    Very nice use of color and pattern… A+++

  13. Just lovely Beth! I was glad you posted Corienne’s tutorial. She makes it look so simple. Definitely on my list of things to try. Your skirt looks great, and I like the itms you paired it with.

    • Now that I have the pattern, it’ll be easy to make a skirt from anything. I’m even going to try to make a dress using the skirt for the bottom and trying to draft my own bodice for the top. I never had much luck with commercial patterns fitting very well so this has been a real revelation for me.
      Thanks for all of your nice encouragement!

  14. modflowers says:

    Ooh, that was well timed! I have been making a skirt and thinking it would be great to be able to draft my own patterns. I will be checking out that tutorial! And your Vera skirt looks great. I hope you managed to incorporate the Vera signature somewhere!

    • Oh, yes, the signature is on the bottom near the hem. The day of my photo shoot was so cold and dark, not very many of the pictures turned out and no time to retake them. But maybe it’ll be a sunny day tomorrow and I’ll get some better photos.
      Have fun with the custom pattern, its the best one I’ve found.

  15. Susan Fisher says:

    I love the skirt and thank you for the link to the tutorial. I am getting the sewing machine out for the first time in years, to begin making and clothes for myself and my family. We are avid thrift shoppers and your blog has inspired me to try re-purposing our purchases, rather than wearing them unaltered. Our weather here is mid-summer, 100′ F t temps and horrible blasting winds most days, with devastating bushfires. I live in New South Wales, Australia.

    • Hi Susan,
      Its so nice to hear from you. I’d love to see some of your repurposed thrift store purchases. Just a word of warning though: Once you start to do this, it’s kind of hard to stop. 😉
      Hope you can find a place to cool off and sip a nice iced drink.
      Happy sewing!

  16. I love the new skirt! So stylish and on trend for 2013.

  17. Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  18. Anonymous says:

    I love Vera, and your skirt. I’m hoarding a Vera tablecloth.

  19. NanaDoll says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! Gorgeous!

  20. Just Gorgeous! so amazing I had to pin it AND share on my FB page!

  21. Jo H. says:

    Your skirt is beautiful! And thanks for the link; it was nice to have the background on that lovely fabric.

    • Thank you, Jo! I’m always amazed when I find something “Vera” at the thrift store. I still have lots of fabric left, not sure what I’m going to make with it. Any suggestions?

      • Jo H. says:

        That’s a tough one … if it were me, I would hesitate to make something for my home because it would feel weird to have clothing and curtains (for example) in the same material. If that doesn’t bother you, I’m picturing some nice placemats or table topper from that sheet. If I were to make another article of clothing, I’d probably try a fitted vest. I also like your idea of a dress using a bodice with the skirt – much the same look, I’m picturing, as the skirt with a vest. You have such a lovely feminine figure, everything looks very nice on you! (In fact, you have been an inspiration to me not just in refashioning, but in deciding to try harder to lose some weight so I can feel better in my refashioned clothes :))

  22. Your careful positioning of the print really paid off–lovely!

    • Thanks for noticing the print position. I did work hard to put it in the right place. The Vera signature actually showed on the other side, but the photos didn’t turn out and no time to reshoot. Happy sewing!

  23. That looks amazing! And now you’re getting into serious sewing with drafting, lining, and zippers but still thrifting and repurposing something unique and unexpected.

    • Thank you, and yes, this was “serious sewing” for me. With this skirt, I actually accomplished what I set out to do a year ago- Learn to draft my own pattern to fit my exact measurements. I get so frustrated with Ready to Wear clothes because none of it ever fits correctly. So this was a real revelation for me. For my next trick, I’m going to try to draft a dress pattern, using this skirt pattern for the bottom and perhaps refashioning something for the bodice. SO MUCH FUN!!!
      Thanks for your comments!

  24. Amy Jo says:

    That vintage sheet is A-MAZING! Great find, and even better refashion. I am usually drawn to lighter patterns of vintage sheets, but I’m happy to see that I love the colors in this just as much! I’ll keep my eye out for different color combos. I think the darker brown background lends itself it becoming a clothing item better than the lighter patterns. I love that you are continuing to refine your sewing skills!

  25. lynnmarieh says:

    Yes, lovely skirt. As I was paging thru the spring fashion issue of Harper’s Bazzar I couldn’t help but notice page 182 item #1 looked familiar to me. Nice work!

  26. Brigitte says:

    Bonjour de France,
    Je viens de voir votre blog et je le trouve merveilleux de créativité. Je suis une passionnée du recyclage aussi. Je vous embrasse.
    Hello of France,
    I have just seen your blog and I find it wonderful of creativity. I am an enthusiast of the recycling also. I kiss you.

    • Bienvenue Brigitte! Je pense que c’est tellement merveilleux que le blogging relie les gens de partout dans le monde. Je vais juste au-dessus pour voir votre blog maintenant. Heureux de recyclage!

  27. Lori says:

    When I see a vintage Vera I always think of my mom (and my childhood). She’s gone and I’ve held on to my vintage Vera pink and aqua floral tablecloth forever; never to rarely use it but, I loaned it to my neighbor for a baby shower that I was not able to attend because the colors fit her theme. Her grand kids did a ‘coloring’ project at that table and used permanent markers! I am not mad, I loaned it and happy children being creative is a good thing. Maybe this was all meant to be so should I turn it into a skirt!?

    • I say, YES, make it into skirt. What a great way to honor your mom. Especially if it means you’ll use it and have it out verses a stained tablecloth that sits in the closet. Every time you wear it, it’ll bring back good memories and people will definitely ask you about it. You’ll have a chance to share your good memories with others, too. Go for it and I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE to see it when you’re finished!
      Happy sewing!

  28. Melissa says:

    Just found this and now I want to go sheet thrifting. Maybe it will make spring come my way at last. Although we are expecting six to eight inches of snow tonight in northern MN.

  29. Carina says:

    Hola! Te juro que tengo la misma sabana!!! Jajaja.
    Besos! Hermoso tu trabajo!

  30. Melissa S. says:

    I am in love with your work… I need to find you, give you my measurements and some old clothes with nice prints so that you can make me a tailored wardrobe, lol. Amazing stuff! I have been wanting to learn how to sew for a long time now – you have pushed my to ask santa for a new sewing machine this christmas 😉 – Thanks for posting all the transformations, they are fun to look at, Im happy I found your link on pinterest.

    • Hi Melissa!
      Wow, thanks for the encouragement! So excited you’re going to start sewing. It’s such a fun hobby and now, with all the on-line sewing communities, it’s even more fun to share it with other people who enjoy the same things.
      Keep me posted on your sewing adventures!!

  31. Geraldine says:

    Did you plan the placement of the ‘bouquet’ on the left side of the skirt? Perfect placement!

  32. Just saw your Vera skirt on Pinterest and love it. I collect Vera Scarfs.

  33. jean kapulski says:

    Ok, so I’m a few years late.Just come saw your post &had to laugh.VERA was my aunt, my mothers sister.Now we can find a use for the closets full of her stuff we have been saving all these years.Thanks……Jean

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