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Monday, September 20, 2010

The Socialite Skirt

I promise this will be my last time using blue and white striped fabric for a while. I just had enough left over from my Nautical Dress to whip this baby out.  




I decided to make the waistband on this skirt stretchy.  It is just nice to be able to pull it on with a shirt and go.  It's a lot more casual, which is nice for lounging around, soaking up the last few days of the summer sun.

Want to make one?  Click below for the tutorial...




You will need:

  •  Approx 1 yard of a knit fabric, or something with a little stretch already in it.  My fabric measured 36" x 50"
  • Elastic thread
* Note:  Keep in mind that all of the measurements I have listed are my own, so make sure you measure your own waist, skirt length, etc accordingly.
Step 1:  Cut out 2 waistbands that measure 4"w x 36"l (I wanted a thicker waistband).  
Cut 2 sections for the skirt front and back.  Make the width of the skirt be about 2 times wider than your waist.  Mine measured 36"w x 20"l (adjust length accordingly)

Step 2:  I think the skirt looks better with a tiny bit of flare at the bottom.  Fold your front section in half, and cut a slight diagonal, so that the bottom is about 5" wider than the top.  Do the same thing for the back skirt piece.

Step 3:  Take your front piece of the skirt and make a mark at the middle.  Create a large 4" box pleat.  To do this, mark 2" away to the right and left of the middle mark.  Then, go 2" further from those marks and fold under, with the fold pointing to the middle of the skirt.  A 4" box pleat takes 12" to create.




Step 4:  Now you are going to create 2 knife pleats on either side of the middle box pleat.  When you fold the fabric under for the pleat, make sure that the fold points toward the middle.  So the folds to the right of the middle will point left, and the folds to the left of the middle will point right.  Does that make any sense?  Look closely at the pictures.  It will make more sense than I do.

My smaller knife pleats are even spaced out, 1 1/2" apart.   I folded each knife pleat under only about 1/2".  You can eyeball how deep you can make your pleats by placing a ruler at the top as a guide to how wide you need your skirt to be (keep in mind your seam allowances).

Iron all pleats nice and flat.


Step 5:  Take your back skirt piece and create 2 inverted box pleats.  To do this, mark the middle of your skirt.  Now, make a mark 3 1/2" to the right and to the left of the middle mark.  Make another mark 7" to the right and to the left of your previous marks.  Match up 2 far right marks to create an inverted box pleat, and then do the same with the 2 far left marks.

For example:
 
E  C  A  B  D

'E' and 'C' would match up, and 'B' and 'D' would match up to create the pleats.  'A' remains your middle point.

Pin and iron the pleat flat.


Step 6:  Now take your two long waistband strips, and cut each one in half, creating 4 pieces that measure 4"w x 18"l (your length will vary depending on your measurements)

Step 7:  Wrap your elastic thread around your bobbin and insert it into your machine


Step 8:  Place 2 waistband pieces right sides together and stitch the length of one side 1/4" from the edge.  You will see the fabric start to bunch up as you sew with the elastic thread.  Don't freak out.  This is a good thing.


Step 9:  Flip those waistband pieces right side out and iron flat.  Then stitch along the same side with the fabric right side out, 1/4" from the edge (still using the elastic thread).  As you sew, pull the fabric taut, since it will want to bunch up because of the elastic thread.


Step 10:  Open up your waistband and sew the front of your skirt to one side of your waistband with right sides together with a 1/4" seam (still with the elastic thread).


Step 11:  Flip the waistband up so the right side is facing you, and iron along the stitch you just made.  As you iron, make sure the selvage from your seam is pointing up into your waistband.  I found it easier to keep track of the waistband by flipping it over to the backside so that I could keep a close eye on it.


Step 12:  Now, with the wrong side of the fabric facing you, iron the very top end down 1/4".  Fold this half of the strip down, creating your waistband and pin in place.


Step 13:  With the right side of the fabric facing you, stitch along the bottom of the waistband, 1/4" from the bottom to secure the fabric that you just ironed under.  It is important that you have the right side of the fabric facing you so that the elastic thread only shows through on the back side.  I learned this the hard way.

Now, repeat steps 8-13 with the back waistband/skirt pieces.


Step 14:  Match up your  front and back pieces, right sides together and stitch down each side with normal thread in your bobbin now (no need to have stretchy side seams), about 1/2" from the edge.

Feel free to surge or zigzag stitch your raw edges.  If your are using jersey fabric, you don't have to worry about it fraying.  However, it will give your skirt a more finished look.


Step 15:  Iron the bottom of your skirt under 1/2" and then under 1/2" again and sew along the top for your hem.


And there you have it.  A quick easy skirt.  And the best part..... no zipper!


Perfect to wear while chasing after cute little toddlers.

63 comments:

  1. Nice tutorial! I have to try!
    Thanks!
    Gina
    macadentada.blogspot.com

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  2. Wow this is so cute! You always go into my "want to try this" file:-)

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  3. Great skirt. I know I would enjoy wearing it. Thanks for the step by step.

    Trudy
    www.sewingwithtrudy.blogspot.com

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  4. Yes very, very cute chasing a toddler or not. :)

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  5. Ok very silly question.. Where do you find knit stripe fabric? I have looked at Joanns because you can usually se a coupon there. I'd love to know!
    bgrimnes@gmail.com

    I just found your blog and am instantly in love with it! I hope you are ok if I link it to mine!

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  6. I am so excited to try this but am really no good at figuring out the measurement part. Can you tell me which measurements you used so I can figure out how to convert it? I know you used a waist measurement, but did you use your true waist or just above your hips where the skirt sits? Sorry this is probably a silly question. I am really dense at sewing without a pattern =)

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  7. Melanie-

    I used the waist measurement of where I wanted the very top of the waistband to sit. With a thick waistband like this one, the bottom of the waistband will be a little wider around then the top, but it's ok because the elastic thread is stretchy and you won't have a problem getting it to fit. That is the nice thing about using elastic! Good luck! Let me know if you have any other questions.

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  8. This is absolutely adorable. I am so impressed! Still a beginner with sewing, but I am definitely giving this a try. And seriously, step by step photos are so nice to have.
    Thanks for sharing!!

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  9. I found it! Thank you so much for such thorough instructions. Lovely blog, lovely pictures.

    PS: I'm the one from the park today :)

    ~Bree

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  10. I have a silly question. I'm trying to make sure that I get the measurements correct, and I wanted to see if you started with a piece that was 36"x21" and then cut the piece so that the bottom was 5" bigger than the top or if you started with a piece that was 41"x21" and then cut the sides. Also, I've never taken my measurements to make clothing before. I was wondering what size you normally wear. My measurements are coming out about the same as yours but I feel like you look a little bit smaller than me so I thought I would check.

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  11. I've been wanting to re-learn to sew for a while now---it's been a good long time since my short career making doll dresses over 20 years ago, and unfortunately the sewing machine I used as a kid was garage saled a while back--but all these cute blogs making cute outfits and bags and curtains online has had me itching to pick it back up again as an almost 30 birthday gift to myself. So I've spent the last hour researching machines and its really rather overwhelming. Overstock has quite a few which have great reviews in the under 200$ range which is where I'd like to stay. So my question for you is, 1) do you have a recommendation for a beginner machine? 2) will I be able to successfully sew knits with just a zig zag stick or will I just be frustrated without a serger--which all seem to be at least $300 and WAY over my budget, and finally, 3) your instructions seem so straight-forward, do you think that this is a manageable first-time-in-two-decades-beginner project?

    Thank you! LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog!

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  12. I love this post and the explanation on the pleats is great!

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  13. This is so wonderful! Can't wait to make this skirt for the summer (and a baby version for my daughter)!

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  14. I love this pattern! What a great tutorial too. I think I have the perfect fabric in my stash for it too :-)

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  15. Love this! It looks great in stripes!

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  16. Adorable...I always sew for my kids, never for myself. I need to change that...starting with this skirt. Thanks!

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  17. I would love to try and make this, but I have just begun to make things and I am not sure I am ready for this! Some things I do not even understand what to do! I really love it though! Hopefully I can do it one day! I really love that fabric too!

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  18. The best part is no zipper! LOVE THIS SKIRT! SO cute! I am so excited I found your blog! Definitely following... :)

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  19. I've been sewing diapers and clothes and toys and all sorts of things for my kids for a couple years now and this skirt tutorial is going to be my inaugural foray into sewing for myself! yay! Thanks for the wonderful tutorial.

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  20. lovely tutorial... so many details! following your blog right now!

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  21. Very Cute! My daughter wants me to make one for her. Question: Between steps 6 and seven it looks like you tapered the waistband a bit. True? If so what did you use for measurements for it?
    Love the tutorial. Thanks for sharing!

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  22. very cute!
    Do I cut one piece 36wide by 20" long and then cut that in half to make a front and back piece? That makes sense, I'm just checking....however with the pleats I wasn't sure....

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  23. Janice- Yes, I made the top of the waistband slightly more narrow than the bottom. Only by about 1/2" though. I think it gives it a little better fit.

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  24. Krystle- You cut out 2 pieces that would be 36" by 20" long. One for the front and one for the back. you want enough extra fabric in the width to create the pleats in the front and back.

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  25. Leanne - When you say you "double" your waist size do you take your waist size x 2 = each panel measurement? for example
    waist = 30"

    so

    30x2 = 60
    Therefor I would cut 2 60"x20" panels? That doesn't sound right, I'm either mathematically challenged or really fat...

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  26. Ooh Baby: you're not fat. I've been puzzling over that point for the past ten minutes.

    I'm looking at my fabric and doubling the 68 generous inches I took seems overboard, plus I wouldn't have enough fabric. Here goes nothing!

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  27. First of all, ADORABLE skirt!

    I'm having the same question as your last two posters...I doubled my waist measurement (60) and that seems like a TON. But I cut it out anyway and did the pleating - however, I still have 41 inches left (roundabouts). What am I doing wrong? If I sew it up like that it'll never fit me :)

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  28. gorgeous skirt an great tutorial. glad to have found you {via pinterest}

    rachel

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  29. I think the problem is that her waist size is pretty close to how much fabric you need to make the pleats (12 inches and by the math her waist is 18 inches?). So I'm wondering if it would be more accurate to say divide your waist measurement by 2 and then add 12 to 14 inches (for the pleats)? I'm thinking you would divide by 2 because you'll have a front and a back, which when added together will give you the circumference equal to your waist? I haven't done this skirt yet though.

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  30. About "doubling" the waist measurement- although it may be too late for some already, what she means is to double your waist measurement and that's what the bottom circumference of the skirt should measure, not the top. You'll want the extra room around your knees so you can walk/run/chase toddlers easily. Hope this helps!
    Cheers!

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  31. I found your blog through Pinterest- LOVE LOVE your tutorials- you do great things with fabric. Thanks for sharing!

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  32. are you supposed to sew with the elastic thread and have in in your bobbin?? I am trying to sew with it and it is NOT working!

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  33. What a mystery this has become. I think what she meant by "doubling" your waist size is to double the width of your waist, not the circumference of your waist. Her waist is probably 18 inches wide when you look at her straight on (well, probably less once you account for 1-inch seams and from what I can tell of her body type in pictures)... therefore she used 36"w for the front panel and 36"w for the back panel. Not 72"w for each!

    Once everything is pleated and sewn together, this cuts everything in half. Therefore the two 36"w panels become <18"w, and when you sew them together, they make a <36" circumference skirt to fit her <36" circumference waist. :)

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  34. Love this skirt! Wish I could do this!

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  35. Okay maybe thisis silly but I've never sewn with elastic thread and I am wondering how you threaded it through your needle. I tried sewing it with just the elastic thread in the bobbin and not the top since that was the only place it mentioned putting the thread through the machine and it didn't bunch... So now I'm not really sure what to do since I can not manage to get the thread through the needle. Any tips? Thanks!!!

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  36. Before I start the adventure of sewing this as my first skirt by myself I have the same questions as above & would love to know exactly before I dive in... So the panels should be waist circumference EACH? So I would have 2 panels 31" wide, correct? And as far as the thread goes it sounds tricky, do you put it only in your bobbin or top as well? Thank you! Not trying to be the obnoxious one that repeats everything! :)

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  37. As far as I know, you put the elastic thread only in the bobbin (which makes sense because I don't think it would work to try and thread it through the machine) I then wrapped it manually (meaning with your hands, not your machine) because you don't want it tight like your thread normally is. I don't know why yours (crtanner) didn't bunch? When I've used it in only the bobbin, it bunched correctly. I don't know if that helps but hopefully it does!

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  38. Brilliant! Love the pleats! Great fabric choice too! Thank you for sharing! I'll be trying this for my 13 y/o daughter and myself!

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  39. I made this last weekend, and it came out great! I completely messed up the stretchiness (I cut out my fabric the wrong way), but I just sewed the whole skirt with regular thread and put in an invisible zipper, and the measurements still turned out right! Thanks for the tutorial!

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  40. Hi Leanne! I started cutting the pieces for this skirt but I'm confused about the measurements for the skirt pieces. If we are to cut out two pieces of fabric for the front and back at 36" wide for each piece, how did you get 72" out of a 50" wide piece of fabric?

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  41. I just found you blog and love it! I just finished sewing this skirt. I've never used elastic thread before and wasn't sure how to wind the bobbin (pull the elastic tight or leave it loose?). I think it turned out alright! Thanks again for the step by step instructions. I can't wait to buy more fabric and try another one of your cute ideas!

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  42. Can you do this with a zipper? If so, do you just cut the back of the waistband in half and add a bit more for seam allowance? I'm super new to sewing. Super new as in this will be my first project...

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  43. I love it! I made one this afternoon. It's my new favorite summer skirt! Thank you!

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  44. Love this pattern! I made one this weekend for my DD. Went to Goodwill today and bought a mens XXL polo in striped materail (couldn't find any stiped fabric locally) to make a second one and I won't have to hem it!

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  45. I love this skirt tutorial! I've got the same question with the measurements for the width of the skirt. Going to try the theory from AndreaB and use the 'width' measurement and not double the circumference for the front panel. Fingers crossed here I go!

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  46. I just made this skirt. As far as the waist measurement confusion....lets say your waist is 30 and length is 20. Since the pattern needs you to double the waist measurement, you cut the 2 skirt pieces as 30x20 for the front piece and 30x20 for the back piece. That way, when it is sewn together, there is a total waist measurement of 60 (30 doubled). Obviously, the finished skirt is not 60 inches. But that is how you cut it to make up for the extra material in the pleats and shirring.

    As for the elastic thread, yes, it is put in the bobbin only. Wind the bobbin by hand so there is no stretch. Some sewing machines need you to fiddle with the tension a little. I like to put my stitch length at a 3. When you are done, you can hit the elastic with some steam (or spritz water and than iron) to make it cinch up tighter.

    I made this with jersey and it was too big (it stayed up, but it would have fallen down with walking, bending..). I ended up taking it in 2 inches. Even than, it was a bit too big, but I kept it that way. It is a very comfortable, cute skirt. Just make sure you err on the side of small when taking your measurements if using a super stretchy material like jersey :-)

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  47. Such a nice skirt with black stripes! During summer I prefer to wear good quality
    apparel for my casual wear as well as formal wear!

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  48. This skirt is adorable! I have a seersucker fabric that I'd like to try it in, but it's not stretchy at all. Do you think it would still work with the elastic thread, or should I put a zipper in it instead?

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  49. Feel confident and beautiful. Take your beauty and magnify it wherever you go with famous brands that include Ralph Lauren, Victoria’s Secrets, Woman Within, Raoman, Venus and more. All of these dresses on sale at dealaboo.com.

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  50. After making the maxi skirt in class with you I totally feel like I can follow this tutorial now and make this super cute skirt - I've had it book marked for a while but I couldn't believe it is THAT easy!

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  51. WOOOW! This is so amazing. I just accidently found this website from Pinterest. My mom sews or she used to, but she never taught me, really. And I always thought it was something very hard. I always have trouble finding skirts that are long enough and you make me want to try to do them on my own. This is so amazing. I absolutely love the things you do. Wish me luck because I am about to go looking for fabric to start making my own clothes! (:
    P.S. Just in case I fail, could I order a skirt for you to make for me?
    Thanks so very much for all you do. It is truly amazing!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Elena! I sell my skirts at leannebarlow.com.

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  52. I've done work like this before but WOW yours is just fantastic to begin with. The design is fabulous, the fabric materials are amazing, and everything is fitting perfectly. I can't say enough about it. Digital Printing Fabric taught me a lot about these things and I am thankful for it. Thanks for your share!

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  53. This may be a silly question, but here it goes...Your waist band ended up being 18 inches front and 18 inches back. With the seam allowance of 1/2 and inch, that is a total circumference of 35 inches. Did you account for the seem allowance when you measuring and cutting the fabric (i.e., you added an inch to your measurements), or did you just let the stretch of the fabric make up the difference in the seam allowance? My inclination would be to add an inch for the seam allowance, but since it is a stretchy material, I want to make sure it stays in place. Thank you for such a beautiful tutorial!

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  54. Love the skirt. Looks like I need to pull out my sewing machine.

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  55. The post is absolutely fantastic! Lots of great information and inspiration both of which we all need! Also like to admire the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you offer! I will bookmark your blog

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  56. I love this skirt! I am just starting out on learning to sew and am a little nervous to try this! Any tips?

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  57. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  58. Thank U so much!! I'll do one for me :)

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  59. This is great , bought some knit fabric and need to saw a couple of skirts.
    http://www.ecoways.ca

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  60. Such a cute skirt and I am ready to sew! One question: will the elastic thread be showing at all? (mine doesn't match)

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