Friday, May 4, 2012

Everyday Skirt Part 2: Sewing the Skirt

A fun, full summer skirt.. for parties or parks... work or rec.. or just to keep you cool.

For this skirt you will need: 

A main print, mine is Alexander Henry's Metro Cite in Navy = to your desired skirt length below waistband plus 3" (1.5" for hem + waistband and 1.5" in case of shrinkage)  twice,

2" elastic = to your waist measurement plus 3-4 inches for shrinkage if you dye or prewash,

plus regular and elastic thread.

Note: It's a good idea to prewash fabric and elastic.

Prepare the elastic waistband. You can use white, black or try dyeing it, I dyed this one with Rit brand Pearl Grey (see Everyday Skirt Part 1: Dyeing Elastic). After dyeing, washing and drying cut your elastic 1" longer than your waist measurement. Finish each short end with a zig-zag or overlock stitch, backstitching at each end. Next fold waistband in half, matching the overlocked ends and sew together with a 1/2" seam allowance, backstitching at each end. Press this seam open.

Cut out two skirt panels. The length of the panel should be cut at the desired finished skirt length (have someone measure you, starting just below were you'd like you waistband to sit) plus 1.5". For a fuller skirt or for a larger waist measurement you can use the entire fabric width salvage to salvage twice. For my skirt I wanted it to be full but not overly full, so I cut off 5" from both panels, giving me two 40" wide panels. Each panel can be anywhere from 1 to 1.5 times your waist measurement. Customize it to your desired style and fit.

With right sides together, sew your two skirt panels down each side seam with 1/2" seam allowance. Finish the seam with either pinking, serging or zigzag stitch. Turn skirt right side out. 

Hand wind a bobbin with elastic thread, careful not to stretch the thread as you wind. Load bobbin into your machine.  Sew one row of straight stitches with a normal stitch length, 1/4" from the top of your skirt. With the elastic in your bobbin your skirt will start to gather (or shear). Continue all the way around and backstitch when you reach were you started. Sew another row at 1/2" seam allowance ending with a backstitch. Finally sew a zig zag or other overlock stitch at the very top edge of the skirt to keep it from fraying. 

The two rows of shearing should make your skirt top a lot closer to your waist size but maybe not quite, IF not switch back to regular thread in your bobbin and sew one row of basting stitches (4.0mm - 5.0mm long) in between your 2 rows of shearing, leaving the tails long for pulling.  I know this may seem like complete over kill with the shearing and the gathering but trust me it helps so much when it comes to trying to evenly space your gathers. The shearing spaces them perfectly for you then when you gather you have less to fuss with. When making my second skirt I tried skipping the 1/4" row of elastic shearing and in the end found it essential. 

IF you had to sew the gathering thread pull just your bobbin thread in a drawstring type motion until the top of your skirt fits into your waistband, spread the gathers evenly around your skrit. IF the shearing  stitches made your skirt gather enough or made the top of your skirt smaller then your waistband simply give it a little strech until it fits within the band. 

Find the sides of your waistband, fold it in half with the seam centered to the back of the skirt, mark the sides of the waistbands with pins or fabric marker.

Start pinning by aligning the side seams of your skirt with the marked sides of the band. The bottom of the elastic should just overlap the bottom row of shearing stitches, so you cannot see them. 

Pin well all the way around your waistband. 

Edge stitch (with regular thread in bobbin) along the bottom of the waistband with a stretch stitch or tiny zigzag. 

Finally try it on and determine your hem length.. I usually finish with a 1" hem, pressing the fabric up 1/2" twice and then edge stitching the top of the fold. For this skirt I want to squeeze out just a bit more length so I did a 1/2" hem, ironing up 1/4" twice.


Haha... It's even easier to make then it is to blog about.

Also it's true the skirt I originally showed you had pockets.. and so does this one though I left out photos of them.. and you may be wondering were the pocket part of this tutorial is... Well to be honest I was going to post it but this little ditty has already taken me long enough :( 
I'm sorry. 
(Everyday Skirt in Farmington Gate in Red)

Many of you could probably figure them out. But if you're local and you really want to learn the pockets, take my Everyday Skirt Class (with pockets!) at Sew To Speak and I'll teach you how!

Hope you enjoy and happy sewing!!

P.S. As for the time in between blog posts these days I feel I owe another apology.  It's funny how easy it is one week.. children calm, napping and sleeping on schedule.. predictable daily routines...sewing sewing sewing and than bam! No sewing or blogging for weeks.. I guess that's life with little ones... but alas I know they wont be little long... so I let the blog go and save the photos to be edited later... sucking up baby time until regular sleep schedules return and I can focus on my computer screen for a bit... 
Sometimes I just don't see how other working, crafting mama bloggers do it, if you have the secret key to this perplexing mystery, leave a comment!!!


Chase Clark said...

Super cute! Thanks for the tutorial, I love this style of skirt.

zig zag skirts said...

wow so amazing dear.. very beautiful skirts and thanks for the tutorial...

Lindsay Conner said...

This is such a great project--I've had it bookmarked for weeks wanting to try! If you are interested, I'd love for you to submit this project to (as a project or how to), and we'd love to feature it on the home page. Let me know if you have any questions about submitting. (

خياطة وتفصيل said...

thank you so much ;)

Unknown said...

Don't you stretch your elastic while you sew it on?

Tasty Destination said...

this tutorial is amazing! i've purchased my dress fabrics, a wide black and white stripe, and i was curious what color thread you would suggest for when i sew the liner and shade fabrics together. i don't want to see an obvious white line going across the black stripes...

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zoey said...

She didn't seem to hear me when I informed her I was placing her snack in the small pocket of Buy Course Work her backpack that morning. I'm going to frame this note since I adore it