Monday, February 24, 2014

Little Girl Twirly Skirt Tutorial

This tutorial should actually be named "How to Use the Scraps in Your Stash to Make a Skirt for your Daughter because You Don't Have Time to Get to the Store to Get New Fabric".  But I thought that was too long.

Despite it being from scraps I had laying around, I think it turned out absolutely adorable.  Don't you?  Honestly, I didn't buy anything new for this project.  Isn't that awesome?

Having been in the house with the newborn for a month has been great, but I'm going a bit stir crazy.  As in, my mind needed a challenge.  Seeing as making it to the store was a long shot anyways, I decided to dig around in my fabric and see what I could come up with.  Also, I know that Easter will be here faster than I know it and I figure that these skirts can be part of an Easter outfit.

I will make sure to post the top I make and show you all the entire outfit later (once I get around to making it).

I made 2 of these - one for each daughter - and was lucky enough that I had enough of the exact same fabric for identical skirts.  I really wouldn't have minded if they were different, but it was causing arguments as to who got what fabric.  So they get the same - exactly the same.  Those of you who have more than one child (especially 2 of one sex, will understand that one ;) ).

Here's how I made them:


Assorted fabrics (about 1/2 yard altogether)
Approximately 1/2 yard for bottom ruffle and top of skirt
1/4" elastic (the measurement of your child's waist + 1")
matching thread
scissors (I used a rotary cutter and cutting mat, but they're not necessary)
something to measure

Step 1: Cutting the Main Skirt

This is what I started with:

Since I was working with scraps, I found the smallest piece and used that as a starting point.  I ended up cutting the pieces for the main skirt 5" in width. 

Now for the length.

I wanted this skirt to be a little longer on both girls.  So I measured from waist to mid-calf.  Then I subtracted the top waist of the skirt and the bottom ruffle (6 1/2" total).  That left me with a measurement of 9" for the main skirt panels.  I added 1 1/2" for seam allowance.

In the end the rectangles were 5" x 10 1/2".  E is a 4T in regular sizes.

I cut until it looked like I would have enough to make a panel that was 3-4 times my daughter's waist measurement.

E's waist is 22".  So I wanted to end up with a panel between 66"and 88" in width. 

Now, I was NOT exact here.  I just cut until it looked like I had a good amount of rectangles.  I ended up with 14 rectangles total (70").  

Step 2: Sewing the Main Skirt

Before I started sewing all the rectangles together, I arranged them on the floor like this:

 I had used some fabric for more than one rectangle and this ensured that they were not next to each other and gave me an idea what the finished skirt would look like.

I then sewed all of the rectangles together to form one long panel.  In order to prevent any fraying of the edges and to give these skirts a finished look, I sewed them using French seams.

If you don't know how, here is a quick tutorial on sewing a French seam:

A.  Place your rectangles WRONG sides together and sew a narrow seam.  I sew 1/4" seams.

B.  Flip your pieces over so that they are now RIGHT sides together.  Pin with the seam at the top middle.

C.  Sew a wider seam encasing all of the raw edges inside (I used a 5/8" seam).

D. Press

Easy, right?

Now press all of your seams in one direction.
Sew the two end rectangles together to create a large circle.

Step 3: The Bottom Ruffle

Ideally, you want to cut a strip 2x the width of your main skirt panel.  If your finished main skirt is 70", you want to cut your ruffle 140" long.

My ruffle was a little shorter than that because I was limited in the amount of fabric that I had.  Plus, I needed enough for 2 skirts.

I cut 3 strips of fabric at 5 1/2" wide.  Altogether, they came a bit short of 140", but were long enough for gathering.

Sew all strips of your ruffle together using French seams.

Remember...wrong sides together...

...right sides together...

It should look something like this (except less wrinkly - I hadn't ironed yet).

Next, make a hem at the bottom of the ruffle by folding up and pressing 1/4" and repeating so the unfinished edge is hidden.

Sew the hem.

Now set your machine to do a gathering stitch. Stitch around the top of the ruffle twice.

Pull on the end of the strings to really gather the ruffle up. Evenly distribute the ruffles and pin to the bottom of your main skirt.

Again, I am using French seams, so first WRONG sides together.  Then RIGHT sides to hide the unfinished edge.

Press the hem and top stitch close to the seam.

 Step 4: The Waist

For the waist length, I measured my girls and then cut 1 1/2 times that measurement.

E's waist is 22", so her waist pieces were 6" x 33".

Cut 2.

Sew the pieces together at the side seams and press.

Step 5: Attaching the Main Skirt to the Waist

Set your machine to sew a gathering stitch.

Sew twice around the top of main skirt. 

Pull on the end threads to gather the skirt so that it is the same distance around as your waist piece.  Even out the gathering.

Using a French seam, attach the main skirt piece to your waist panels.

Step 6: Finishing the Skirt

Fold the top edge of the waist down approximately 1/4" and press.

Fold down an additional 1 1/2" to form the elastic casing.  Press.

Pin and sew around the waist top close to the edge of the elastic casing.  Make sure to leave approximately 1" open at the beginning and the end of your seam through which to insert the elastic.

Cut a piece of elastic the length of your child's waist measurement plus 1".

Using a safety pin, pull the elastic through the casing.

Use a wide zigzag stitch to sew the ends of the elastic together.

Sew the opening of the casing closed.

And there you have it!  One twirly skirt for your little girl!

My girls certainly love theirs - they can hardly wait to wear them on Easter!

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