The skirt I made for Duchess was a little different from usual. For one thing, I didn’t simply turn a rectangle of fabric into a skirt by running elastic through the whole length. Frills and fullness don’t suit her well – she needs a more tailored look. (She’s also really thin.)
I did, in fact, start with a rectangle of fabric, but I made some immediate changes. I didn’t feel like cutting pie-shaped sections for an A-line skirt so I faked it. Oh, I also hate using patterns if I don’t have to. (c;
In my not-so-nice diagrams below you can see what I did. I didn’t use a pattern but I didn’t dare try to pull this off without taking some measurements first.
A= circumference of skirt at bottom – if you have a skirt that has the fullness you like at the bottom, simply measure it. Add 1-2 inches for seam allowance and fudging room.
B= length of skirt – Just drop the tape measure from the waist and figure out where you want it to fall. To that measurement add 2 inches if you will be making a casing out of the top of the skirt. Add an additional two+ inches if you are hemming the bottom. (You may be asking, what else would I be doing? I’ll show you a bit later.)
C= hip measurement + at least 4 inches for easing – Not waist measurement?? No, you’ll need to know that for cutting the elastic, but not for cutting the fabric. Being able to actually get the skirt over the hips is rather critical to wearing it. You don’t want to go to all this trouble and have to give the skirt to someone thinner. Salt in the wound.
Now, here comes the math (don’t run away!): Take your measurement C and subtract it from A. That’s how much you’ve got to get rid of from the top to make it look like figure 2. Now, divide that number by 4. Got it? Great, hang onto it. We’ll be calling it “X”.
Now, grab some pins and your measuring tape again. You see those little “x”s at the point of the “V”s on figure 1? That’s where you’re going to want to pin. Start in the middle of A (easy to measure) and put a pin about 2/3 – 3/4 the way down the fabric from the waist. It really doesn’t matter. Just note how many inches either down from the waist or up from the hem it is because you want to be consistent. Now, put a pin at this same level on each short side of the fabric (B). Exactly halfway between the middle and the edge pins put another pin (total of 2). You should have five pins now. (This can also be done with seamstress chalk but it wasn’t showing up well on my particular fabric.) To make the next step much easier, put corresponding pins at the waist of the fabric.
I promise we’re almost done pinning. Look at figure 3 which is just a close-up of figure 1. You already have the two pins in that you see there. Now take that number you came up with a moment ago (X). Divide it by two (Y) and put two pins that many inches on either side of the top (waist) pin. The edges are a little different and this is important for the look of the skirt. Look at figure 1 again. Those “V”s on the edges are actually half of a “V” each. All you do is measure out Y inches from the top corners and put a pin in. You should now have a total of 11 pins in the waist.
Done pinning! Get your scissors. Cut in a straight line from each pin you put at Y to the pins you put 2/3 to 3/4 the way down the fabric. In other words, cut out those “V”s. Congratulations, you can now put all 16 pins back in the cushion.
Now for sewing. For the next step you won’t need the iron or any more pins. You’re going to sew the sides of the “V”s together so that your piece of fabric looks like figure 2.
Just a technical point on the seams you’re sewing: If you’re sewing from waist to point of “V”, when you get close to the “V” don’t just run the seam straight off the edge. Curve it a little to blend it in to the body of the skirt. See figure 4. This keeps you from having “points” in your skirt.
|close-up of seam from right side|
Now, if you’re not doing anything fancy you’d make your casing at the top by folding down the waist of the skirt, hem the bottom, and sew the side seam. But…
…I decided I wanted to do something a little different. I had some coordinating fabric (This one is “matchy-matchy” but I’ll do another post on some skirts I’m making that aren’t.) and I just turned it into giant seam binding. I cut a strip of fabric as long as A and folded it in half lengthwise, ironing it. I then turned the raw edges under to the wrong side the same amount (this is important) and ironed that. I had something that looked a little like figure 5.
Then I slipped the bottom edge of the skirt into it, pinned it in place (only because I didn’t want to have to get the seam ripper out five minutes later) and ran a seam very close to the top edge of the border. Below is a close-up of that seam.
Here is a view of the inside of the border. No raw edges! Your seam binding, hemming and facing all done in one step!
I did exactly the same thing for the casing at the waist. The length is the same as the waist, C. I just cut it wide enough to run the elastic through. I followed the same steps as above, slipping the waist of the skirt into the casing and running a seam very close to the edge. Below are views of the wrong side and the right side of the waist, respectively.
I sewed the side seam, ran the elastic through the casing (this is where you need your waist measurement), sewed the elastic ends together and sewed the casing shut where the elastic went in.