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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Two Layer Girls Skirt Tutorial

Now, I am anything but a seamstress.

Before I learned how to make this skirt, the only thing I was good for was sewing on buttons and stitching up straight lines and I owe those meager skills to a young women's activity night at church. I took Home EC as a kid and what I remember most about that class is getting a sewing machine needle stuck in my finger when I was trying to remove some stubborn thread for a class mate. She forgot to taker her foot off of the presser foot. Ouch! That earned me a trip to the nurses office and a slight aversion to sewing machines.

But guess what?

I made this skirt and You can too!

This is what I used:
A Sewing machine:)
White thread
2 yards pink fabric
2 yards green fabric
1 yard white fabric
1 inch non roll elastic
safety pin or giant paper clip

I started out with the bodice.

My daughters waist is 23 inches.

I doubled that measurement to 46 in long and made it 11 inches in length.

I folded it in half, turned it inside out and sewed the side together

I hemmed the top and bottom side once and then flipped that hem over and hemmed it again.

This is what you should have so far.

Next I cut the fabric for the bottom layer ruffle. 57 inches (around the waist) long and 7 1/2 inches width

(**)Turn inside out, fold in half and sew the sides together.

Hem one side once, then flip and hem again. This will be the very bottom of your skirt.

Now for the unhemmed side you are going to create a gathered look. Start by allowing yourself plenty of thread from the sewing machine.

Crank up the tension to a level 6.

Start at the hem and carry on your way. When you have sewed all the way around the skirt and find yourself back at the hem remember to again allow yourself a lot of extra thread before you cut. You will use this thread to adjust the level of gathering on your skirt.

If you pull the extra thread tight it will tighten the gather on your skirt, if you want to release some of the gather then you will gently pull the gatherings towards your loose thread and it will release the tension.

Below is a picture of the fabric that you have just gathered. Now you are going to want to adjust that layer to match the length of your bodice so that you can sew the two together. Gently pull out the gathering to adjust the tension on the skirt.

When you have the "gatherings" exactly at the desired tension, you must tie the extra thread together (from the front and back of the place where you began and then ended) so that the rest of the "gatherings" won't be let out.

I pinned my hems together and then began to sew the the two pieces together inside out so that the white layer would be on top when the skirt was being worn the correct way. If you feel more comfortable pinning the fabric all the way around you may do so.:)

Viola! Take a deep breath . . . you are almost done! You can do it!

a close up of what the joined pieces should look like:)

Now it is time to insert the elastic. I measured out 23 1/4 inches so I would have room to sew the elastic together (remember my daughter's waist is 23 inches)

Making sure the skirt is inside out, I folded over the very top of the skirt allowing enough room for the elastic to fit inside. Again you make pin all the way around the skirt if you would like to, but in my case, I pinned off a short area in which I did NOT want to sew. The area between the two yellow pins is where I will insert the elastic.

Sew the fold into place.

When you are done, attach a safety pin (or stick the unfolded end of a giant paper clip through the elastic) and thread it through the little home you just made for it. Don't let go off the loose end or you will have a devil of a time trying to reclaim it.

I like to pin both side together while I am adjusting the fit of the elastic through the skirt so I don't lose it:)

Sew the elastic together, go over it several times. (my finger is not bleeding, I don't know why it looks like that)

Once your elastic is sewed together you can pull it all in to the fold and sew up the gap.

Now for your top layer ( 57 inches long and 12 1/2 inches from waist to knee) Repeat exactly what you did for the first ruffle (** where the stars are) until you get to this point.

Now life gets a little tricky, but don't worry you can do it!
Arrange the gathering so that it fits the skirt just below where you have sewed

the elastic band in.

Once it is arranged to your liking remember to tie off the long ends of thread that you saved for adjusting the tension of the gathering. (tie off the sides that are front and back from each other from the starting point and ending point.)

Fold the messy part of the fabric under ever so slightly so that it won't be seen when you are wearing the skirt. Pin into place . . . I didn't do that and I so wish I had. Sometimes I had to sew over some thick parts of fabric and I was afraid it would look horrible, but you really can't tell. So take a deep breath and plow on through.

When you are finished with this part . . . guess what . . . you are done! Hip, hip, Hooray! (My New Zealand Friends actually say that!)

Cut of any loose threads and admire your work!!!

You can adjust the measurements any way you would like ti fit kids young or old:)