Initially, I was going to prepare 5 of them, same as blouses, but I was running out of time and my friends gently helped me realise it would really be a challenge by giving me these are-you-out-of-your-mind looks. ‘If you keep working this intensely you’ll run out of all the ideas for making basic items of clothing’. ‘Even better’ I thought, ‘At least I’ll be able to present more advanced techniques, as I’ve always wanted’. There’s so much I wanted to tell you about the decorative techniques such as printing, embroidery, appliqués and huge section on various fabric finishings and many more subjects brought to me by my passion and imagination. I think there’s still enough subjects for a veeery long blog.
Anyway, time to start with the three simple skirts series, all of them easy to make (you’ll need between 30 mins to 2 hour time). There will be mini with tucks and a rubber tape belt (today), full circle midi and pleated maxi – I’ve already discussed a circle and an accordion (pleated) skirt, but it was some time ago, so there’s a chance some of you didn’t make their way till the very bottom of the blog. By the way, in September I’m going to change the layout of the blog – there’ll be less of scrolling – I promise!
Sewing up alone in this case is easy, but first there will be a lot of pinning up – I hope the pictures will prove helpful. First measure the circumference (at the waist or lower, depending how you’re going to wear it – this style looks great worn at the hips), decide the length. To make the large double folds (two portions of fabric folded in opposite directions) you’ll need a piece of fabric three times longer than the measured circumference, and its width equal to skirt’s length + 3 cm seam allowance (1 cm for sewing up a belt, 2 cm for turning the hem). The knitted fabric should be working along the waistline.
As fabrics are normally 1,5 m wide, you’ll probably need to sew up a piece of fabric, so that the final length is (as mentioned already) 3 times longer than your circumference + 2 cm seam allowance.
Sew up both ends together so that you get a loop of fabric. It may seem longish now, but trust me, in order to get this pleated effect you need a lot of fabric. Finish one of the long edges with overlock, fold the finished edge 1-1,5cm inside and stitch it – this will be the hem of the skirt. (stitch it over the overlock so that the hem won’t stick out).
Once the loop is ready and its hem is finished you start pinning up the folds. Decide how many pleats you want and how wide you want them to be (your measured circumference will hep you here). Try to make it a round number (For example, my skirt circumference is 70 cm so it will consist of 7 foldings, each of them 10 cm wide or 10 foldings 7 cm wide each). This skirt is going to be finished with a rubber belt at the top, so while calculating you can round the numbers as the rubber belt will counterbalance the excess fabric. Once the Math’s been done you can start pinning up the fabric (see the scheme below). Mark the sections along the upper edge (white marks) alternately: the width of the folding (grey arrows) and double the width of the folding (black arrows). Next, pin together the places pointed with blue arrows so that the wider sections are folded inwards, while the narrow folds are left on the outside. (pictures below).
The skirt on the right side – shorter sections visible here, and on the inside where you can see the wider sections.
To clarify – on photos below the skirt is spread flat on the wrong side of the fabric – these wider foldings look just now as very wide tuck-ins.
Now each of these tuck-ins arrange in counterfolds – spreading them in such a way so as to make them go evenly: one half to the right and the other to the left part from the pinned point – see the picture below where you can see the cross-section of this counterfold. Pin up the edges. Almost ready – now you can try it on carefully – we’re almost there. If you haven’t managed to get perfectly equal foldings you can always make one or two folding of different width, it will be hard to notice anyway.
Let’s make the belt now. Cut out the belt that is 13 cm wide and of the length of the circumference + 2 cm seam allowance. Short explanation: the rubber tape is 5 cm wide, some extra length is needed to prevent it from folding, so the overall width of the belt will be 5,5 cm + 1 cm seam allowance = 6,5 cm. I’m making the belt out of two layers to make a tunnel for the rubber tape (6,5 x 2 = 13 cm). The knitted fabric should work along the belt so you can slide it up the hips. Sew up the shorter edges of the belt leaving some section unsewn (through this break you’ll pull the rubber tape to the tunnel), this section should be left below the middle-line of the belt’s width.
Now sew up the belt: iron it in half lengthwise, so that the wrong side of the fabric is inside the belt. Turn the skirt inside out.
Pin up the belt inside so that the right side of the belt (the one without the hole for pulling in the rubber tape) touches the right side of the skirt. Once you sewn these part up and ironed the belt upwards the unsewn hole will be on the inside of the skirt. If there is a difference in circumference of belt and skirt, while sewing the belt up stretch it a little. If the difference in circumferences of the belt and skirt is bigger than 5 cm you should revise the foldings arrangement.
Sew up on the inside of the skirt controlling the belt’s width.
Finish the edge of the seam with overlock and iron upwards. Pull the rubber tape inside the tunnel through the unsewn opening. That’s it!
And now Justyna in a finished skirt – find three differences ;P – I couldn’t resist myself!
This tutorial has been prepared for you by Janek