Sunday, 15 July 2012

For Donation plus a tutorial (sort of)

I read about Skirting the Issue and decided to make a few skirts to contribute.  I wanted to make some skirts for older girls (not pre-schoolers).  I figured enough people would make the basic elastic waist cotton skirt (which is a great skirt for little ones) so I wanted to use some fabrics more suitable for older kids.  I made 4 - one is for a teen and has a 3 inch wide elastic waistband with a polka dot silky skirt body.  The other three are knit skirts (the purple is bamboo knit and the pink is cotton jersey).  One is a bubble, the other 2 have layered asymmetrical hemlines. 

The directions below are for the assymetrical hemline skirts above.  I didn't take any good pictures while working so I am sorry if this isn't as clear as I would like.

You will need: .75-1 yard of knit fabric, thread, 2 inch wide elastic, sewing machine, ball point needle (recommended), cutting mat, & rotary cutter.

1.  Cut 2 rectangles from your knit fabric.  The first should be the length of the skirt you want plus about .5 in by about 1.5 the width of your waist measurement.  The second should be about 2- 3 inches shorter (same width). 

2.  Cut your elastic.  I used 2 inch wide black elastic.  It should be the length of your waist measurement plus 1 inch. 

3.  If your fabric has right sides, put them together and, using your sewing machine's stretch stitch, sew the sides of the first rectangle together.  Repeat with the second. You now have 2 tubes.

4. Put one tube inside the other (both tubes with right side out). The longer layer should be on the inside and the shorter layer on the outside. Using a long straight stitch, stich them together (you can remove this stitch later if you want, it is just to hold the layer in place while you attache the waistband.

5.  Sew the ends of your elastic together with a .5 seam allowance.  Zig-zag each end to prevent fraying (could do this first).  Then stitch down each end to the band to make it sit flat.

6. Pin the center seam of the elastic to the center seam of the tubes of fabric.  The elastic should be on the outside and the fabric should overlap into the elastic about .5 inch. 

7. Find the opposite side of the skirt and the opposite side of the elastic and pin them.  The fabric is wider than the waist band so you want to pin it carefully.  You will stretch the elastic as you feed it through your machine.  This is more easily done if you stretch a small section at a time.  I like to pin in 8 evenly spaced spots.

8.  Sew the skirt to the waistband.  You need to grip the fabric and elastic firmly and stretch the elastic.  Gently feed it through the machine.  Any time you let go of the fabric, stop sewing first!!  I backstitched at the start and finish of this line of stitches. 

9.  Lay your skirt out on a cutting mat.  Use a ruler or straight edge to cut the bottom of each layer at an angle.  A rotary cutter will work better than scissors because knit fabric stretches as you cut with scissors resulting in an uneven line.

Note that I separated the layers before cutting each one.  In the picture below the longer layer is being cut and the shorter one is pulled up.  Then I pulled the longer inner layer up and cut the outer layer. 

I goofed on the pink one and cut the layers too short so I added some ruffles.  Now I think it is my favorite of the bunch!  (for a little girl, I can't see myself in neon pink. . . )

Thursday, 12 July 2012


Maya has been very jealous now that Hannah is dressing more like a big girl.  Hannah has a striped sundress that has Maya seeing green.  She shed tears over not having a rainbow dress herself.  Lucky for her I recently purchased some knit fabric in a cute rainbow print from The Fabric Fairy.  I also bought some striped rainbow fabric from Joann's.  Here are the finished products:

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

A-line dress from a t-shirt

I had to run a quick errand at Kmart the other day.  As the girls and I walked in (Sam was with one of his ABA therapists), we passed a rack of t-shirts on sale for just a few dollars each.  They were pretty shapeless and I almost walked by but then I realized that they were made from a nice strong interlock knit fabric.  I had Maya pick one out and when I got home I cut out an a-line dress, made some bias trim straps and literally within 20 minutes Maya had a new dress.  For Maya's narrow build this dress is perfect.  If I make more I will switch the bias binding across the tops for an elastic casing (I like a little gather at the top of an a-line or else it just looks too boring). The great part about this project was that the hem was already finished for me.  I don't have a serger so I can't give a garment hem that fully polished look. 

Maya has terrible red-eye in this picture.  I fixed it but I can't get the fixed photo to load in the proper rotation.  Oh well.