As soon as the clouds begin to part, the sun peeks out and the earth wakes up in brightness, the necessity for long beautiful skirts becomes apparent in my daughter’s world. These are a staple in her wardrobe and, paired with a t-shirt, she is ready for most any adventure. The skirt pattern is very basic and I have added some extras to take the design a bit further.
1 yard of main skirt fabric (44” wide or so)
1” wide elastic (about 25-28”)
1/2 yard of contrasting fabric (44″ wide or so)
Fabric scrap for pocket (optional)
Cut fabric for skirt body as shown to end up with two pieces (bottom measurement is 32” wide, top measurement is 18” wide and length of skirt is 22”). This can be done easily by folding your yard of 44” wide fabric as shown before you begin to cut.
Tear (I promise this is OK!) your contrasting fabric into four 1 ½ ” x 44” strips.
Tear remaining 12” of contrasting fabric in half to make two strips which are 6” x 44”.
Sew a loose gathering stitch down the center of each of the 1 ½ ” strips, making sure not to backstitch at the ends. You can do this by hand or with a very loose straight stitch on the machine (as shown).
Pull the thread as you gather the fabric evenly across the length of the strip of fabric. You will want need this 44” of fabric to gather down to about 32” or so. Set aside.
Working now with the two 6”x44” strips of fabric, double-fold one edge of each piece under and press in place (for skirt hem).
Top stitch along the edge of the pressed fold to create the formal hemline.
½” from the other edge of this strip of fabric, repeat the gathering stitch, but do not gather the fabric yet.
Now gather the top edge of this bottom “flair” portion of the skirt. Lay flair right side up onto body of skirt, also right side up, and pin into place along the bottom edge of the skirt body.
Pin strips in place onto the skirt fabric – two for front and two for back. These should line up so that when the sides of the skirt are seamed together, they make one continuous round.
Stitch all gathered fabric strips as well as the “flair” portion onto skirt body. (*note: if you cut the fabric as shown for the skirt body so that the selvedge edges become the bottom edges of the main portion of the skirt, there is no need to hem the main body of the skirt before attaching the “flair” as this edge will not become unraveled due to the nature of the selvedge edge)
Remove all “gathering stitches” from strips of fabric after they are secured.
Place the two back sides of the skirt facing each other (wrong sides together) and line up all edges including the “flair” portions at the bottom. We will be creating French Seams up the sides of this skirt.
Stitch along both sides to join front to back, giving only about ¼ ” seam allowance.
Turn skirt inside out and press edges as shown, making sure that seams are pushed out as far as possible before pressing.
Stitch edges again, this time with fabric still turned inside out and leave ½” – ¾” seam allowance to ensure that the entire edge from the first seaming is contained within this second seaming. This type of seam eliminates the need for serging or otherwise securing the seams of the fabric to contain loose or frayed threads on the inside seam.
Finally, create a 1 ¼” wide channel for your elastic waist by folding down the top edge twice and pressing.
Stitch along the bottom edge of this, leaving a 1” opening for feeding the elastic into the channel. I also like to stitch the top edge of this channel to create a more solid waistband. It also helps prevent the elastic from twisting when worn.
Feed in the elastic and measure to the waist of your child. Stitch ends together to fit (making sure not to twist!) and stitch up the remaining 1” opening of the hem.
*Note: Due to the nature of the frayed edges of the torn strips of fabric, be prepared from some loose threads, especially after washing the skirt a few times. Simply pull these off and enjoy the natural fray that the torn edges creates which will give this skirt more texture and charm throughout the years…
This skirt is best enjoyed while drinking lemonade and running through the garden…
Mary lives in Marin County, CA along with her two brave and spritely children, one heroic husband, one entertaining pug and 7 operatic chickens. When she is not working her “day job” as a High School Photography teacher, she is usually sewing, knitting, cooking, farming in the garden, beachcombing, plotting to save the environment and writing on one of her two blogs. You can find her at Poppies and Milk as well as her new joint venture A Non-disposable Life.