Fall is imminent. You could feel it this week in the breeze and the need to add leggings to any outfit. It always makes me immediately take out all my kids fall clothes, sort them by item, and see what they need. Apparently I didn’t think Miss Cakes needed bottoms this fall, or there was just an exorbitant amount of cute shirts on clearance last winter. In any case, I decided to whip up a few skirts for her to wear now that she could easily layer with leggings or tights and boots as the cold weather encroaches.
There is so much cute quilting cotton out there lately, and so few true “learn to sew” patterns. This is a fairly beginner project to take advantage of whatever catches your eye, without fear of choosing the wrong type of fabric. Only a little math required. I promise. 😉
First things first: measure your girl.
1. You’ll want a true waist measurement, at the smallest point, or where they naturally crease when bending to the side singing “I’m a little teapot.”
2. Length! A good general length is from the true waist to the knee, but you can make it as long as you want. Miss Cakes is already fond of “floor length gowns.” OMG with this girl.
1″ elastic; ether prepackaged or cut their waist measurement plus 2″.
45″ fabric; quilters cotton, linen, flannel, or something light to midweight. 1/2 yard is enough for my 3 year old, get a little more or less as needed.
- Cut. Square up your fabric. Open up the fold, and put it on a quilters square grid if you have one and align the selvedge. Straighten up what is sure to be a wonky line across the top. Measure down from this new line the desired length of your skirt plus 5″. If you have a few extra inches of fabric and are stingy about waste like me, leave them on and just square it up. We’ll turn those into tucks later. Also cut the selvedges off. For the Aqua skirt, I had enough to cut out pockets- 5″ square.
- Sew the backseam. Refold your fabric right sides together. Stitch the length of the fabric at a 1/2″ seam, forming a tube. Finish the edges of the fabric so they don’t fray- you can do this by serging or using a wide zigzag on a regular sewing machine.
- Press the backseam. Open if you chose to zigzag each side separately, or to one side if you chose to serge them together.
- Press the hem. Fold up the lower edge of your fabric 2″ and press all the way around. Open it up. Fold again, with the cut edge meeting the first press line. Then fold up along the original press line. This makes a double turned 1″ hem, which will give the hem a nice weight to the bottom and be less likely to curl or fray. Pin around to hold it in place.
- Press the waist while you’re at it. Fold the upper edge of your fabric down 1/2″ and press all the way around. Fold again, at 1 1/4″ and press all the way around, forming another double turned edge. Pin into place.
- Sew the hem and the waist. From the backside of the fabric, stitch right along the edge of the hem all the way around. Do the same around the waist, but leave about a 2″ opening at the back. This makes a casing for the elastic.
- Insert your elastic. Pin a safety pin to one end of your elastic and feed it through your new casing. Be careful not to lose the other end of the elastic. Sometimes I pin it down so it doesn’t slip inside. When you’ve fed it around to the beginning, pull out and pin the two ends together. Distribute the gathers around the elastic evenly.
- Try it on! Get your recipient to try it on, and see how you like the length and the amount of stretch in the elastic. Repin as needed to make it looser or tighter.
- Finish the waist. Overlap the ends of the elastic and stitch in an X box- stitch around all 4 sides of the overlap, and through the diagonals. Tuck and stretch the elastic so it fits inside the casing, and stitch the opening in the casing closed.
- Tucks. If you wanted to add tucks or make the skirt a little shorter, turn the skirt inside out. Fold up the hem 1″ past your hem stitching and press all the way around the skirt. Stitch 1/2″ from the fold all the way around. Turn right side out and press the new tuck down. Repeat as necessary for the amount of tucks you want, or until it’s the length you want, always folding at 1″ from the previous stitching and then sewing at 1/2″.
What do you think? I tried making these a few different ways. The pink one has a more controlled waistband with the elastic only adding slight stretch. But it hardly seemed worth the effort of adding another piece and having to do gathering stitches, plus made it harder for Miss Cakes to dress herself. I also did narrow the hem a bit on the aqua skirt so I had enough fabric for pockets. Let me know if you make one and post pictures! I’d love to see how you layer skirts for summer and fall!
Love from Wisco,