Tuesday, 19 April 2011

frou-frou skirt tutorial

We've been having glorious spring sunshine for the past couple of weeks, and runciblegirl has been out and about in her new skirt. It gets lots of compliments, even though it was so simple to construct, and it was fun to use up some oddments of fabric. I used a Riley Blake quilting cotton for the outer skirt and the yoke lining, a heavy woven silk for the middle layer of the skirts, and another quilting cotton for the under-layer.  I'm pleased, and also a bit relieved, to find that the elastic waistband holds it all up nicely. (I'd been a little concerned that all those heavy fabrics might weigh it down - but it seems fine - no problems with gravity).

The sizing here makes a skirt which fits my one-year-old quite generously. I think it could easily be adapted for bigger sizes, but perhaps light-weight fabrics would work best, bearing in mind the elastic considerations above!

So, now it has been tried and tested, on with the process...

You will need a quarter of a yard/metre for each of the two under-skirt layers, and slightly more for the outer fabric to allow for the yoke as well.

You will also need elastic for the waist - about 20'', and a few inches of extra elastic for the ruched skirt.

There are only two shapes to cut, and they are both very simple rectangles:

Four rectangles, each 16'' by 4'' for the front and back yoke, and front and back yoke lining.
Six rectangles, two in each colour, 23'' by 7'' for the front and back inner, middle and outer skirts.

All pieces ready.

With right sides together, sew 1.5'' seams at both short ends of the yoke front and back pieces, and press the seams open.

Repeat for the yoke lining front and back pieces, but leave the top 1'' of one of the side seams open.

Press the seams open for the yoke lining pieces, including the seam with the 1'' opening.

Stitch together the yoke and yoke lining around the top long seam, with right sides together and matching the side seams, with the edges of the open section on the yoke side seam abutting each other.

(Hope that makes sense - I've tried to show it in the photo above!)

Trim the seam allowance, turn and press.
Sew two rows of topstitching - the space between them will form the casing for the waist elastic, so check it is wide enough for the elastic that you plan to use.

Here's a detail shot of that top-stitching, forming a channel about half an inch wide for the waist elastic.

Now for the skirt and petticoats...

Sew together the front and back pieces of the three skirt layers along both side seams, and press the seams open.

Hem and press the bottom edge of each of the three skirt layers.

Place the three skirt layers together. I aligned the hemmed edges, then pinned and basted the top edge.
(The side seams are quite bulky if they are aligned for all three layers, so I didn't match up the side seams for the middle- and under-skirt layers - it made the gathering easier at the next step.)
Mark the centre of the front and back pieces before gathering.

Gather all three layers together, until the top of the skirt is the same length as the lower edge of the yoke.

Pin the gathered edge of the skirt to the yoke, with right sides together, matching the side seams and the centre front/back.

Sew through all layers using a half inch seam allowance to attach the yoke to the skirt.
Trim, and press the seam allowances up towards the yoke.

Press a half-inch hem at the lower edge of the yoke lining, and pin the yoke lining in place inside the skirt.

 From the outside, topstitch through all the layers

Almost done! I wanted the petticoat layers to be a bit more visible, so added a little bit of ruching using clear elastic. This might reduce the twirliness of the finished skirt, though, so you could skip this step if you prefer.

Mark a vertical line on the outer skirt layer about 5'' in from the left side seam.
Cut your elastic to abut half the length of the skirt (mine was 3'').
Then stretch the elastic and sew it onto the wrong side of the skirt along the line you have just marked
(I used a wide zig zag stitch, which is very forgiving).

Now the middle layer peeps out...

Repeat the ruching process for the middle skirt layer, this time with a slightly longer piece of elastic - I used 4''.

And now there's a glimpse of the underneath layer as well.

Last of all, thread the waist elastic into its casing at the top of the yoke through the little opening at the top of the side seam (I use a safety pin at one end to wiggle it through). Sew the ends of the elastic together, and then stitch the side seam opening closed.
My waist elastic was 18'' long, about 2'' less than my baby's waist measurement.

Enjoy your springtime skirt!

If you make one, please let me know, I would love to see it!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

frou-frou skirt for springtime

photo A - smart but not so sunny

The sun and the daffodils are out, and the park is full of little girls running around in twirly floral skirts. I wanted my little girl to be able to join in - and so even though she can't yet run, at least she now has a flouncy skirt for scooting about in.

photo B - scruffier but sunnier

The outer layer is a Riley Blake print, the middle petticoat is a blue silk which I've had forever, and the underneath floral petticoat is an nameless print which really deserved an outing. It's been fun using up some hoarded fabrics!  I'll add a tutorial for the construction process in the next few days...