Sunday 4 November 2012

Super Simple Skirt Tutorial

Hello November. It is very very cold here and Dan and I have been busy working on our house. We have had lots more plastering done and the kitchen has tiles at last! I've spent most of last week cleaning up dust and trying not to get in the way. On Wednesday I decided I needed a new skirt (it being Halloween and all) and decided to try to photograph the process. Please excuse the inconsistent photography. I had to switch between the bedroom and studio and there is no light anywhere right now. Anyway, anyone wanting to make a basic skirt might find this useful. 

Information that may be important... I'm 5'2" and my hips measure 36". I can make a skirt out of 1 width of 44" quilting cotton, but if your hips are more than 40" you would need to piece your fabric (or use something wider). I feel obliged to advise pre-washing your garment fabrics, because I always do, but it might work out fine without pre-washing. I'm just too scared to risk it. If you have pre-washed your exact cuts of fabric they will be a bit smaller, just trim them straight and carry on. Your skirt will be a bit shorter but nothing disastrous. I bought yard cuts of both prints and pre-washed before cutting. For a skirt exactly like mine you will need approx 1/2yrd main fabric, 1/4yrd hem band fabric and your waist measurement in 1" non-roll elastic. 

 Step 1: 
Cut your fabric! I'm using the Nightshade potion bottles as my main fabric and the storm clouds as my hem band. Main fabric measures 18" x wof (width of fabric) and hem band measures 8" x wof. 

Step 2: 
Fold your hem band in half along its length matching the edges as neatly as possible and press well.

 Step 3:
Partially unfold the hem band. With right sides facing, pin the front of the hem band to the bottom of the main skirt piece.

 Make sure that your hem band piece is facing the right way up!

Step 4: 
Sew this seam with a 1/2" seam allowance. (I like to use masking tape on my needle plate to keep my 1/2" seam straight.)

Step 5: 
Press seam allowance towards hem band.

Step 6: 
Fold skirt in half with right sides facing, matching up the selvedge edges. This will be the back seam. Match the hem bands carefully. Your selvedge might be a bit wonky in places but it will be fine. We will be taking the smallest seam allowance possible without any of the selvedge edge holes showing on the finished skirt. I drew a line about 1" from the edge, keeping the line straight and ignoring the selvedge wobbles. This will be our sewing line. (I actually drew two lines in the above photo, ignore the inner line please, the outer is our seam line.) Pin, sew along line and press seam open. You should have a tube!

Step 7: 
Make sure the hem band fold is still crisply pressed. Re-press if necessary. Fold back into place, matching back seam on main skirt and hem band.

Step 8: 
Pin and top stitch 1/4" from hem edge.

Step 9: 
Fold inside top edge of hem band so that it meets the original seam line. Press and pin as you go. Top stitch approx 1/8" from top of hem band.

Step 10: 
To make elastic casing at waistband, I first drew a line 1" from top. Then I drew a second line 3" from top.

The lower line is not right here! I'm easily confused, sorry! Fold the top raw edge to meet the first line and press (You have a 1/2" pressed hem). Then fold again so that the folded edge meets the second line and press (you hopefully have a 1 1/2" casing). 

Step 11: Top stitch 1/8" from the folded edge to secure the casing, leaving a 2" opening around the back seam to insert your elastic! Backstitch at the beginning and end. 

Step 12: Measure your "waist" (the area you would like the skirt to sit) and cut a piece of elastic to this measurement. Use a safety pin to thread elastic through the casing, being careful not to twist it. Pin elastic ends together and try on your skirt. Adjust elastic if necessary. I usually tighten mine up a bit. You should have approx 1" overlap at the ends of elastic. Zig-zag ends together securely (I like to sew a little square) and pop elastic back into casing. Stitch opening closed as neatly as possible.

Ta-da! A blurry skirt photo :) It was Halloween, and I was in a hurry to go see the new Silent Hill movie.

Hope this might be helpful to somebody wanting to wear their fabric stash but not sure where to start :) It should be easy to adjust length or adapt to different elastic widths. For my Mendocino Skirt I cut 4" pieces for the hem band and the elastic casing to make 1 1/2" finished hem band and waist casing. The contrast elastic casing was sewn in exactly the same way as hem band, remembering to leave an opening for elastic. Don't top stitch along the folded edge of waistband casing.