Friday, June 12, 2009

Who needs a pattern?? (skirt tutorial)

I have a confession to make: I don't like pinning, pressing, or patterns (the 3 P"s of garment sewing, if you will). So, you may ask, what business do I have making clothing? Great question. I have no idea.

But, I may have found a happy compromise - designing as I go. Oh, and you should be forewarned...I'm the quick and dirty sewing type and I make no apologies for it. Since my sewing/crafting is allotted in nap-time-increments, I try to get as much done as quickly as possible.

To that end, here is a rather haphazard tutorial to make a sweet little skirt, in an apron style. Enjoy and ask questions if it's wonky.

I bought the last bit of fabric on a bolt that I just couldn't resist, about 30" total (love how inexpensive it is buying that way). Not much to work with, but I loved how girly the fabric was and thought I could make a skirt to wear to a wedding or shower. Here's a closeup of the fabric...

Brought home the fabric, prewashed it, and just cut it in half to make the most of what I had. I also ironed the selvage wrong sides together to create a hem.
hint: whenever possible, I use the selvage on the edge of my project to save time hemming and edging...remember: quick & dirty

Next, I gathered the top edge (waist-to-be) of each piece to roughly half my waist measurement. You'll also notice that the design on the fabric fades to a white border at the selvage - ready made hem placement. My kind of sewing!

I placed one gathered half on my lining fabric (Kona muslin left over from a quilting project), and roughly (very roughly) traced the shape onto the lining fabric.
To make this even easier, use an outer fabric that has enough body it doesn't require lining.

Anyone who really knows what they're doing is probably cringing, but hey it worked.
I cut it out and then laid it out on another section of my lining fabric and cut out an identical piece. Here are what your pieces look like now: 2 lining pieces and 2 outer pieces.

I sewed each gathered piece to one lining piece to make sure my gathers didn't shift. After this, I folded the bottom edge of my lining 1/4" wrong sides together, and then again 1/4" and sewed them for a finished hem on the lining pieces. The picture below shows the wrong sides of my lining (on top) and outer fabric (underneath) after they have both been hemmed.

This is when each piece actually started looking like half a skirt.

Then I created a waistband. I didn't get a picture of this but it's super easy. First determine how wide you want your waistband. Double this and and a half inch. This will be the width of your cut waistband fabric. For length, add about 6 inches to your waist measurement. If you have a little too much extra, you can always trim it off later (quick & dirty...). Cut your piece of fabric for the waistband and iron it in half the long way. Then cut it in half along the width. You'll now have two pieces - one for the front of your waist and one for the back.

Now...unfold one waistband piece and align the long edge with one skirt half, right sides together, and pin in place (see picture below). Sew all 3 layers together with slightly less than a 1/4" seam allowance. Repeat for the other waistband piece.

Now, refold the first waistband piece and sew the top edge (shown sewn below). Pin through all layers of skirt outer, lining, and waistband doubled over (also shown below). Repeat for the other half of your skirt.

This is the same step as above, but shown from the inside of the skirt. Notice how I planned to have the selvage line up how it did. Quick & dirty. Quick & dirty.
And, here is one of your completed waistband pieces attached to the skirt front - looking pretty good...

Finally, I sewed the front and back together at one side. I left the other side unsewn to insert the zipper. This was the first time doing a zipper in a garment so be kind. My technique is lacking, I'm sure.

From here, I just pin-fitted it both on my dress form and on me to bring in the sides and waist to perfect the fit. It's a nice shape because it's so forgiving on lots of figures. But, I won't lie, this part takes time. After much tweeking, I can finally say I made a skirt!

The picture below was taken late at night (when all great sewing projects are completed in our house) so it's not a perfect representation, but I'm really excited to wear it out.
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  1. I love this skirt and I hope to someday be able to sew all the cool things you make. I enjoy reading your updates. -Van

  2. I love it...quick and dirty. Well, the projects don't look like they were made quickly, but with love and care. Anywho...beautiful fabric and lovely skirt. Did you take any photos of Reagan's new dress you made? I just love it and can't wait for her to wear it!

  3. Thanks Van! You will be a pro with the sewing machine in no time. I'm sure of it. :)

    And, thank you so much Allison. I did get some pictures of Reagan's dress and was going to post them today. I love that you enjoy the dress, and I can't wait to see her in it!

  4. I love the design as you go element. I did that recently with a skirt...turned out wonderfully!

  5. I am making this skirt tomorrow - I have some lovely gray floral fabric that I just had to have, and it has a coordinating cream fabric that also had to come home with me. Thank you for a great tutorial, because I love that "quick and dirty" style of crafting!

  6. Thank you so much for this! I am tall and always have trouble find skirts at a length I like. Time to try my own!

  7. Seriously, you rock. Booking marking this!


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