Tuesday, July 15, 2014

DIY: Maxi Skirt

I love a good maxi skirt/dress. And honestly, who wouldn't? They are as comfy as pajamas while being publicly accepted as clothing, and they are awesome for those days when you need to look a little dressy, but don't feel like shaving. Don't quote me on that. For these reasons and more, I'm a big fan of this wardrobe staple. The other day, I took a trip down memory lane to the days when I was a nerdy seventeen year old who would sew brightly patterned sweatshirts in her spare time (No, I'm not sharing pictures) and found a thrill in turning a few feet of fabric into a piece of clothing. So, I asked my mom if I could have my sewing machine back after storing it at her house for at least six years. She said yes.

Although I may have done some serious sewing back in the day, I've never been much of a pattern person. Luckily, I find it fairly easy to think through the order in which a garment needs to be sewn to make it work, especially something easy like an elastic waist skirt. I hope you enjoy this quick tutorial and that you give it a try! I consider myself a beginner to medium level seamstress, so don't be intimidated; This could definitely be a second, maybe even first, item if you're new to sewing.

What you'll need:

fabric that extends at least six inches past each side of your width, and at least an extra six inches on the floor when you hold where you'd like the skirt to sit on your waist. (Side note: I know this type of measuring sucks. Oh the judgement I felt when I held the bolt of fabric in front of me and then turned to the fabric cutting lady and said, "uh...I think this much will work.")

about two feet (that's probably generous) of a nice looking elastic (mine was 2 1/2 inches wide)

matching thread

basic sewing stuff

Okay! Let's get started.

First we're going to make a big tube. Fold your fabric right sides together.

To give you an idea of size, here's a pair of my skinny ankle jeans on top of the skirt fabric.

Sew up both sides of the skirt fabric to make a long tube. That tube will soon be your awesome skirt!

Now, you need to make a loop with your elastic. To make sure I got the size right, I made sure it was snug around the part of my waist I wanted it to sit on. Now it's perfect to wear a little higher (it isn't too loose) or wear lower (it isn't too tight). I really like my elastic, because it's the kind that's meant to be seen. Look for this type with other decorative trims.

Put the elastic around your waist wrong side out, and pin it together firmly where you'll need to sew.
I didn't take pictures of this part, but it's not too bad. Making sure the elastic is lined up, sew where you pinned (right sides together). Go over it a couple times to make sure it will hold. Then, trim the excess back to about half and inch. Separate the two pieces so they are laying flat on opposite sides, and sew them down as close to the edges as possible.
If anyone needs a picture of this, I'll definitely add one.
Okay, so you have a waistband and a loop of a skirt. Before we can attache the waist band to the elastic, we need to get rid of that rough edge at the top. Go ahead and turn your skirt right side out, then fold down about 1/4 of an inch (right sides touching) and sew it down. Now comes the fun part: gathering to fit the waistband.

Because I didn't want pleats I wasn't really sure how to go about gathering the fabric for the waistband. I ended up using an iron to press random folds that looked casual.
One BIG piece of advice I can give you is be conscious of where you're putting fold of fabric. For instance, it's wise to leave the sides flatter so you don't end up with extra wide hips (unless you want that).

Overall, just do your thing and pin it down. I have about a half of inch of fabric under the band. When you're ready, sew the fabric to the waistband. All you have let is hemming.

It's actually a blessing if your skirt is WAY too long because a nice, neat hem needs to be at least an inch from the edge or you'll have weird waves in the fabric. Also, even if you're getting tired and just want to finish, neatly press the hem AND put pins in place. It's worth it to have an even skirt edge.

Ta-Da!!! You have an awesome skirt. Let me know how this tutorial works for you. I'd love to see pictures of your own projects.

1 comment:

  1. I was able to make my pattern for this skirt today. It was so easy and oh so simple. I love it. Stephanie, you're a great teacher.

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