I thought I would post a short sewing tutorial about one of my favourite projects. It’s super easy and perfect for beginners as it just uses one piece of fabric and a small piece of elastic to create a lovely skirt with lots of bounce, great for a toddler for a toddler or girl.
and of course a sewing machine, though you could sew this by hand if you like too.
I’m using a nice yellow floral fabric that I got free with a magazine, I’ve washed it first to pre-shrink it. When you first wash a fabric, it can shrink by up to 15%, so by pre-washing and pressing your fabric you’ll avoid any nasty surprises.
Now take your nicely washed and pressed fabric, and work out which is your longer side. A typical fat quarter of a metre measures 20″ (50cm) by 22″ (56cm). You’ll also want to work out which way up your fabric goes, so no upside-down flowers!
Cut your fabric in two using shears or a rotary cutter to get a lovely straight edge. You should end up with two rectangle pieces measuring roughly 20″ by 11″.
Line your pieces up to create one long strip of fabric, and check that both pieces are the right way up. If you have a strong horizontal pattern, now is a great time to make sure they match up.- you can adjust them later when we pin them together.
At this point, I like to zigzag down the shortest sides to stop it from fraying. You could also use a French seam here to enclose your edges, if you prefer. Don’t worry about the longest sides as these edges will be enclosed when we sew the elastic casing and hem.
Next, place your two pieces together with the right sides together and pin them together down each short side. Be careful if you have a horizontal pattern to make sure they line up correctly, as it will make your skirt look really neat and professional!
Match the edge of your fabric with a line on your sewing machine plate, around 1 or 1.5cm and keep the fabric in line with it as you sew – this will help you keep a nice straight edge. Sew with a medium length straight stitch to create the side seam.
Press the seams open with your iron. To make things easier when you are threading the elastic, it’s really helpful to sew the seam allowances down on the main fabric for about 1″ from the edge of the fabric on each side. This will stop your elastic getting caught under the seam allowance when you thread it through.
Next, we’re going to create the casing for the elastic. Choose which edge you would like to have for the top and which will be the bottom of your skirt.
Fold down the long edge by 1/4″ and press it with the iron. This will help enclose the raw edge of the fabric.
Now, turn over a further 1/2″ and again press it with the iron.
You have now created the casing for the elastic. Sew this down along the edge that touches the main fabric, as close to the edge as you can, leaving a small gap open above the side seam. This is where you’re going to thread the elastic through.
Repeat these last few steps on the bottom edge to create the hem, but this time sew all the way around. This creates the helm of the skirt. You should now have a tube of fabric with no raw edges showing.
This is a good time to check the length of your shirt against your little person, just to make sure that it covers their knickers or nappy. If it is too short, you can add some edging to lengthen it or decorate it.
Here I’m adding some lacy edging to the bottom of the skirt. I pinned it to the bottom inside edge of the skirt and sewed it, but it’s a lot easier to tack it in place first if you have the time. (I didn’t do this, and I regretted it!)
Thread the elastic through the casing using a safety pin on the end that you are threading through, so you can find it easily. Secure the other end with a pin to the main fabric so that you don’t lose it inside. Take your time and ease the pin through gently so that it doesn’t bunch too much. Check the length of the elastic against your child, if it’s too loose, make it shorter.
Sew the two ends of the elastic closed – this is a bit tricky so it’s probably better to do this by hand. Make sure it won’t come undone! It will be inside the skirt so it doesn’t matter if it’s not neat!
Sew the casing closed to finish your skirt! Stretch it gently with your hand to flatten the casing, and sew along in line with your previous stitches.
There you have it! Your finished skirt!
Here it is being modelled by my little pickle!
This is such a lovely way to use up fabric from your stash, it’s quick and easy and can be easily decorated and changed.
Here’s one I made earlier!
It’s made from a lovely little persimmon fabric (although I can’t remember where I got it from – sorry), but I think I cut it wrong or made the elastic casing too wide because it turned out just that little bit too short.
So my solution was to add a little ruffle of contrasting fabric in pink polka dots (this one’s from Ikea), with a cornflower blue cotton ric rac, so even if your child grows you can alter your skirt to fit!
This ruffle is made of a long strip of fabic, about 1.5 times the circumference of the skirt, and it’s hemmed at the bottom and top. It’s gathered slightly with a long straight stitch, and sewn to the main body of the skirt. You could also make a ‘flounce’ which is a strip cut in a circular doughnut shape which is gathered up and stitched to the main skirt, the circular flounce is a little bit more full that a straight ruffle, and it would look fabulous with a circular skirt.
I’ll be going through the different types of ruffle in a little bit more detail soon.
I hope my tutorial has given you some inspiration for making a lovely skirt for your little one out of a fabulous fat quarter!