This week I’ve got something ‘simple’ for you. It’s in inverted commas because the idea was simple, but the project did not turn out as simple as I’d hoped…
The plan was to just copy a skirt that I already own into that lovely shiny fabric, have an elasticated waistband and some bias binding around the bottom hem. Simples.
That failed when I got to the point where I’d sewn together the side seams (right side facing) and then realised the waist was missing about 10cm of what I could squeeze into. Darn. See the skirt I was going to copy was made of lovely stretchy material. My shiny fabric isn’t stretchy in any sense of the word. I think that’s where I went wrong.
The good thing is (and I’m always thinking positive) I LOVE errors in the creative process because you’ve gotta think again. I had to add at least 10cm to the skirts waistline or I could forget about my lovely new garment. Exactly, challenge accepted. And this is where it turned from simple to ‘simple’. But it is so much more beautiful now.
Ok, so the solution was *drum-roll* to just add a strip of fabric down the middle of the front. And because adding the same fabric would look pretty silly, I chose another. It’s my favourite so far – the floral print from wrap top #2. It was a bit of a brain teaser because you’ve gotta remember the seam allowance and the strip is going to be the focal point so you wanna make sure it doesn’t just show a random part of the pattern. So my love for numbers really helped here. Diagrams to follow below.
My error also meant that I decided to add a zipper. I’ve never done that on a sewing machine but you know, gotta start sometime. Luckily my machine came with a manual. In hindsight I probably still could’ve done the elasticated waist now that I added the extra cm on the waist but hey…
I was actually quite knackered throughout this project because I’d woken up at 8.30am (on a Saturday, hello!) with the idea pushing into my consciousness. I’d only gone to sleep at 2am determined to finish wrap top #3 but I can sleep when I’m dead, right?
Either way, this is the result:
To make it you will need:
- About 4-5 hours leisure time
- 3m of primary fabric
- 1m max of contrast/highlight fabric (secondary)
- 1m max of lining fabric (optional)
- measurement of your waist
And this is how you * Craft It Yourself *…
- Lay out your fabric and place the skirt you want to copy flatly on top of it. Most skirts should be a sort of quarter circle or similar shape. Draw around the edges of the skirt. To add seam allowance, draw a parallel line about 1-1.5cm away from what will be the side seams. Don’t worry about the waist band yet.
- OR: If you don’t have a skirt to copy and like the look of this one, measure your waist and work out the radius you need to draw a circle with the length of your waist measurement minus 10cm as the circumference (r = c / (2 * phi)) e.g. if your waist (circumference) is 76 cm then calculate 66 / (2 * 3.14) = 10.5 cm radius. Then draw a 1/4 circle on the fabric with this radius. Then mark the length of the skirt you’d like (mine was xxx) and draw a bigger 1/4 circle from the centre point of the smaller circle. (We won’t lose any length because we’re using bias binding to hem the bottom.) Draw straight lines to join the 2 1/4 circles. To add seam allowance, draw a parallel line about 1-1.5cm away from what will be the side seams. Don’t worry about the waist band yet.
- Cut out the fabric along the lines, then lay and pin it on another piece of the same fabric and cut a second piece out.
- Sew together at the side seams right sides facing. Check how long your zip is and leave a gap about 2-3cm longer than the zip on one side. Remember, you will also add a waistband and will want your zip to finish flush with the waistband so consider that when you leave the gap. It’s better to leave a bigger gap and close it later, than having to unpick a bit of side seam.
- Find the centre of the waist and the centre of the hem on one of he pieces (will be the front) and draw a straight line between them. Cut carefully along the line to ‘split open’ the front. The more precise you cut, the easier it will be a couple of steps down the line.
- Now for your second fabric. the one you will insert – find the middle of the pattern that you would like to show down the front of the skirt and mark 7cm horizontally on either side. Repeat vertically until the desired length of the skirt is reached. Cut carefully along the straight line. This will give you a strip of 12cm wide fabric with a seam allowance of 1cm either side (14cm overall). You have to remember that when you sew the fabric with a 1cm seam allowance you will also loose 1cm on your primary fabric that you need to make up for.
- Pin your secondary fabric to your primary fabric right sides facing on one side first. Make sure you stick rigidly to the edges to ensure a straight finish. Sew together with a 1cm seam allowance.
- Now pin the other side of the fabric to the other half of the front right sides facing and also sew with a 1cm seam allowance.
- Press the seams inwards with an iron. If your primary fabric is much darker then your secondary fabric press the seams outwards/ toward the primary fabric so it doesn’t shine through the front.
- Add bias binding to the bottom hem making sure the seams between both fabrics get caught the right way. It just looks nicer when it’s even.
- Now for the waistband! How thick/ high do you want it? I’m toying with the idea of making myself a proper high waisted skirt soon but I reckon I need more of a thicker fabric to get the stability for that. Anyway, the waistband on this skirt was kind of dictated by the pattern, it came out at about xx cm. Cut a strip of fabric that measures [the height you’d like] by [your waist measurement], plus a 1-2cm seam allowance either side. Try to center the pattern horizontally as was done for the strip down the front vertically. If you’d like to line the waistband for comfort and stability then cut another strip of the same size from maybe a plain fabric, or your primary fabric.
- Sew the pieces together ride sides facing with the 1-2cm seam allowance along the 2 short sides (start and finish 1cm away from the edge to allow overlapping with the skirt on the 2nd long side) and the long side that will be at the top later on.
- Turn right sides out and press well. Then on the primary fabric turn the 1-2cm seam allowance on the 2nd long side towards the inside and pin along the waistline of the skirt (1cm overlapping). Start and finish 1cm away from the gap that you left for the zip. Turn over the 1cm seam allowance for the zip gap towards the inside of the skirt and try to catch this when you sew along the waistband. The seam allowance on the lining doesn’t need to be turned because this will be on the inside anyway. And this also makes for a comfy concealment of the seams on the inside.
- Sew on the waistband making sure the seams of the piece that was added down the front get caught the right way again.
- Press (if you fancy it).
- Now for the zip – argh! I’d never done one before and it was easier than I thought but then there was this bit at the end of the zip that just ended up slightly bulky. Luckily, this skirt is quite floaty so it’s not that noticeable.
- Lazy on my part >> Watch this video to learn how to insert the zip nicely! (Wish I would’ve had the idea to look on YT when I made my skirt!) Pin the zip slightly lower than the end of the waist band. Sew on the zip with your zipper foot. If you’ve never done it before maybe have a look at the manual of your machine. If that got lost in the depth of your craft boxes you can find most manuals on the line nowadays (movie reference intended), saved!
- Trim off the bit of overhanging fabric at the top of the zip, and:
- \\ YOU’RE FINISHED, WELL DONE! // Do a little dance, you’re a legend!
Let me see your creations if you get round to making one of these lovely summer skirts. And let me know if anything was unclear or needs further explanation, or maybe needs another diagram? Gotta love a good diagram!
Cu next Friday xx