Craftishness, Mamaishness

Sewing Skirts.

I have a fabric problem. I see something, and I want it, but I don’t have a reasonable idea of what to do with it once it gets home. This means that every once in a while, I cave to temptation and buy a half-yard or a yard of a fabric that ends up sitting on a shelf for months years. In an attempt to get some fabric off the shelf and into proper use, I’ve started sewing skirts for the girls. Everyone who sees them seems to like them, so I thought I’d share a little bit about how I’ve been making them.

My main inspiration is the 20-Minute Skirt tutorial at Whipstitch, and her chart for fabric measurements for different sizes is extremely useful. I also watched the skirt video tutorials by Dana Made It. For little girls’ sizes, you basically sew a fabric tube, and then add some variety of hem and an elasticized waistband. The seams are all straight, and it’s pretty forgiving if you make an error and need to rip something out.

Here are two sets I’ve made recently. First, these little Halloween numbers, which used some fabric I’ve been hoarding for longer than I care to admit. Initially, I thought I’d use it for some ‘real’ dresses, but that’s never happened, so I decided skirts were better than nothing. One advantage of these is that they are really easy for the girls to put on themselves, which is a great bonus on mornings where we’re hurrying to get somewhere on time.

halloween skirts, easy sewing projects, easy skirts to sew

This pair exists because I wanted the fabric in an unhealthy way. I also made a little variation here by using bias tape on the hems, which I really like. I will probably keep doing this in the future because it involves less ironing, and adds a little excitement.

halloween skirts, easy sewing projects, easy skirts to sew

{And the ironing is the secret here – I think it takes more time to iron these before you make them than it does to sew them. The longest single step is the time it takes to thread the elastic in the casing of the waistband.}

My main tips:

  • *Iron. No, seriously, iron. Iron every possible thing, including taking the time to iron the side seam open once you sew it.
  • *Use 3/4 inch no-roll elastic. This way, you can make a 1-inch casing, which is easy, and have plenty of room to thread the elastic without it catching repeatedly and undoing your stitches. I tried using larger elastic, and it looked silly.
  • *To determine the correct amount of elastic, just wrap it around the waist of the intended skirt-wearer. Don’t add anything, don’t subtract anything, and don’t stretch it. Make a circle, and cut it. This will give you enough stretch to make the skirt stay up, once you overlap it a bit to sew it together, but it will also remain loose enough that you should get a decent amount of wear out of the skirt before it’s too small.

Next up: ruffles, and maybe pockets. This is not an obvious skirt for pockets, since it’s so gathered, but I don’t think my girls will care, and I’m not trying to win any sewing prizes. I’ll let you know how it turns out!