Friday, 31 May 2013

Easy gathered skirt

I love making skirts - so quick to make and so many options as to how to style them. This skirt was made with linen that I picked up for £3 at a vintage fair, and has an elastic waist to give it a gathered look. No zips, buttons or anything else difficult - it really is easy! 

  • Fabric - Any type or colour you like, although materials such as cotton and linen probably hang better at this sort of length. Heavier fabrics will probably stick out more and give a more 'puffed up' effect.
  • Enough elastic to wrap around your waist/hips, depending on where you want it to sit on you
  • Sewing machine/Needle and thread
  • Chalk or pencil to mark fabric with
  • Measuring tape 
First things first, decide how long you'd like your skirt to be. Hang a tape measure from your waist down to the floor and note whereabouts on it you'd be happy with your skirt ending. Then, add 2-3 inches onto this and write that number down somewhere so you don't forget it.

Waist measurement isn't as important in this skirt because of the elastic waist. I just wrapped the material around myself about 1 and a half times and made a note of where to cut it from there. The more fabric you have, the more 'puffy' it will be, so it depends on what sort of look you're going for. This skirt is seriously customisable! 

So, cutting. You want to cut two large identical rectangles out of your fabric, looking something like this: 

Position the pieces length-ways as shown and hem both pieces on one long side. This will be the bottom edge of the skirt. Don't worry about the top edge for now, that'll be taken care of with the elastic.

Then I chose to sew in some loose pleats, although I don't think it's strictly necessary. If you want to include this step, it's very easy. Just fold over small sections of fabric at the top edge of the skirt and sew across horizontally to secure.

Next, join your skirt together by the short ends, making sure the 'good' sides of the fabric are both facing inwards. You should be left with what looks like an inside out skirt with a raw edge at the top that is way too big for you - don't worry, it will come together quickly!

To put the elastic in, you need to sew a casing at the top edge. This is easy to do if you know how to hem. Making sure you are working on the 'wrong' side, fold down the raw edge of the skirt and sew close to the lower folded bit, making sure you leave a gap wide enough to at least get a finger in, like this:

(yes, I know, my art skills are truly enviable)

Anways, now you have a tube to hide your elastic waistband in! Having measured your elastic around your body, thread it through this casing (I find it easier to attach a safety pin to one end to wiggle it through a bit easier) until both ends are visible in the gap. The fabric of the skirt will naturally gather as you do this, and you can adjust it so it sits evenly once you're done. Stitch the elastic ends together with strong thread and close the gap. Turn the whole thing the right way around, and admire your new skirt!

Natalie xox