You had to know I would share a skirt tutorial after talking about it last time, right?
There are lots of skirt tutorials floating around the Blogosphere, but I hope this becomes your go-to tutorial! Once you learn the basic techniques for this simple, lined skirt, this tutorial works like a charm for any size from infant through adult. Plus, you can change it up and make about 14,000 different styles based off of this same tutorial.
So, what are you waiting for? Get over there! ;)
After talking about gathering techniques to get everyone ready for spring skirts, there is no way I could skip making a spring skirt for this series! Unfortunately, around here we don’t have spring weather yet, but there is no reason we can’t pretend a little!
This is one of my favorite skirts—lined, twirly, and best of all, no bulk at the waist.
There are so many variations on this skirt out there, but I think it is a good idea to start with the basic, lined skirt and then you can change it up any way you would like. I love to make this skirt in tiered ruffles and use a different fabric for each tier.This design is so simple to change and embellish once you have the basic skirt design down pat so we will start with that for today.
This skirt can be made in just about any size and many different fabrics. I used red text to show the “math,” when figuring out the measurements, but you can substitute your own numbers in those places. I prefer 100% cotton for this style and it is easy to sew with. If you are new to sewing, I suggest sticking with 100% cotton to make the first one and then you can branch out from there. As far as sizing goes, I will share the way to measure your fabric and use my daughter’s measurements as an example.
skirt fabric (100% cotton)
skirt lining fabric (cotton/poly blend—broadcloth works well)
3/4 inch elastic
large safety pin
Cut out waistband, two skirt piece, 2 lining pieces
I like to line skirts—a built-in slip, but this isn’t necessary. The lining fabric is inexpensive and it is easy to line this skirt. I think it improves the overall quality of the skirt, so I just do it every time. If you aren’t lining, just skip those steps.
A TIP: The standard seam allowance for clothes for the home sewer is a 5/8 inch allowance. While this may seem unnecessary, it is actually very wise if you have to make a garment a little larger. It is the standard seam allowance for commercial patterns and is clearly marked on most sewing machines. Obviously, you can sew with any seam allowance you like, but I find it is easiest to stick with this measurement for sewing clothes because it is “standard” and is not likely to change.
Length and Width of Fabric Pieces for Skirt and Lining
To determine the size of each piece, you will need a little math. This section is long, but I think it makes sense and it enables you to make skirts of any size instead of needing a new pattern for each size. After you do it once, it makes more sense and is really easy to do again and again.
Determining size for the waistband:
The length of the waistband fabric equals 1 1/4 times actual waist measurement.
(Waist = 21 inches so waistband length = 26 1/4 inches)
The width of the waistband fabric equals approximately 1/4 of the overall length of the skirt plus the seam allowance and an allowance for the casing for the the elastic (total of 2 inches seam and casing allowances).
(1/4 the length of skirt 13.5 inches = about 3.5 inches plus 2 inches for seam and casing allowances = 5.5 inches)
The width of the waistband piece can be a little confusing, but remember that it doesn’t have to be precise since you can adjust the length of the skirt a little when you are hemming it. For babies, you might want a slightly smaller width—their skirts are so short anyhow. I use 3.5 inches (plus seam allowances) for the width for sizes 12M up to about 6 and then add an inch or so after that. For teen and adult sizes, you would probably make it a little wider, but it isn’t critical.
The most important factor is to get the bulk out of the waist!
Determining size for the skirt and lining pieces:
The length of the skirt pieces should equal 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 times the actual waist measurement. I tend to just double it because it is simple to figure out. Each skirt section should be as long as the waist measurement.
Length = 21 inches long)
NOTE: For this size, this could have been cut out of one continuous section from selvage to selvage on my fabric, but I prefer to have 2 sides seams instead of one seam in the back or one side seam, so I just cut 2 sections.)
The width of the skirt pieces equals the total skirt length (13.5 inches) minus the waistband width when sewn (3.5 inches) plus seam allowances of 1 3/8 inches for all sizes)
Width = length of 13.5 inches – finished waistband width 3.5 inches = 10 inches + 1 3/8 inches = 11 3/8 inches wide
Determining size for the lining pieces:
Length = same as skirt piece length (21 inches)
Width = same as skirt piece width minus 1 inch (10 3/8 inches)
Sewing the Skirt
With right sides together, sew the skirt pieces together at side seams with a 5/8 inch seam allowance.
Press seams flat.
Don’t skip this step—it is the difference between “homemade” clothing and “handmade” clothing!
Sew the lining sections together the same way as the skirt sections.
Press seams flat.
Put lining section inside skirt section with wrong sides together and top edges even. Sew two rows of gathering along the top at 5/8 of an inch and 1/2 or 3/8 of an inch. You will sew through the lining and the skirt sections. Set aside.
Go HERE for more details on gathering.
Sewing the Waistband
With right sides together, sew the short ends of the waistband together with a 5/8 inch seam allowance.
Mark the lengthwise center of this piece.
Make the casing for the elastic.
Fold one long edge (length) over 1/4 inch and press in place. Fold over another 1 inch and press again. Stitch very close to the edge. Leave a 2 inch opening in the center of the length (marked in the last step). This will be the center back of the skirt. Your short edge seam (last step) will be one side seam and the other side will not have a seam. It is helpful to mark the side that does not have a seam with a light pencil mark to make joining the waistband to the skirt a little easier.
NOTE: It is actually easier to put in the elastic after you have joined the waistband to the skirt because everything lays flat. I am not sure why I did it this way, but since you will see it this way in all of the pictures, I kept it in the same order. Sorry about that!
Pin safety pin to end of elastic and feed through the casing you just made. Push and pull the pin along the casing to thread the elastic through. Be sure you don’t pull the elastic all of the way into the casing. You will need to leave a tail sticking out at either end.
Pull the ends of the elastic out a little making certain they do not get twisted. Sew ends together securely.
Insert a label, tag, or ribbon to mark the back of the skirt. Finish sewing the casing closed along the edge, catching the ribbon or label as you sew. Be sure you do not sew the elastic down as you sew the casing.
Joining the Waistband and the Skirt Sections
Place the skirt inside the waistband with right sides together. The top of the skirt sections should be lined up with the bottom of the waistband piece. Pull the gathering stitches to line up side seams and side seam with marking. Adjust the gathers so they are evenly places along the skirt. Pin in place in several places.
Sew the waistband to the skirt sections. You can sew (using a regular stitch length) right along the 5/8 inch gathering stitch.
Finish the raw edges with the serger or a zig zag stitch.
Turn right side out and press along the seam with the seam allowance (inside) facing towards the top of the skirt. If you have any stray gathering stitches showing (like I do), carefully remove them with a seam ripper.
Topstitch along the seam line on the waistband side of the skirt.
This will hold your seam in place and keep it all a little more smooth.
Hemming the Skirt
Measure the overall length of the skirt. I usually put in a hem that has a 3/4 inch hem allowance (fold 1/4 inch and then another 1/2 inch). Adjust these measurements as necessary.
Fold over 1/4 inch and then another 1/2 inch pressing each fold in place.
Sew in place along the edge—measure from the right (bottom of the skirt) so your stitching line is even from the front.
Press hem flat.
Hemming the Lining
Hem the lining in the same manner as the skirt.
When complete, the wrong side of the hems (lining and skirt) will face each other just as the wrong sides of the lining and skirt are together.
If necessary, make the same adjustments to the length that you made to the skirt.
(Remember, the lining is already 1 inch shorter to prevent it from showing.)
You are done—whew!
A lot of directions and a lot of pictures, but it is truly a simple skirt to make. If you are new to this, the many directions will be helpful and if you are familiar, you should be able to whiz through it quickly, right?
I hope you enjoy making lots of skirts for spring!
(Or summer, fall or winter!)
(Or summer, fall or winter!)