Here’s a quick little tutorial on making a maxi skirt for Spring and Summer. My fabric was a super lightweight guaze, so I lined it with a jersey knit so it wouldn’t be sheer. Because, let’s face it: Nobody wants to see that. If you’re using a thicker fabric and can skip the lining, this skirt would be even simpler and quicker!
Step 1: Measure your waist. You’ll need to multiply that by 1.5 or 2 for the width of the fabric you’ll need for the skirt. If the width you need is more than the width of the fabric (they are usually 45″ wide) then just cut two panels and sew them together.
Step 2: Measure the desired length. You’ll need to know this to purchase the fabric. Make sure to add a little extra for the waistband and hem when you are buying. Remember, you’ll most likely need the length plus the extra times two. It will probably take two panels to make a maxi skirt unless you’re making one for a very small child and the 45″ width will be enough to fit around their waist and gather, or you’re making one that isn’t very full.
Step 3: Cut the fabric and elastic. Just cut a rectangle using your width and length measurements. Make sure to include extra for the hem. Also cut a waistband. I made it the same width as the skirt, because the elastic goes inside and the waistband will gather with the skirt. Then figure out how wide you want the waistband. (A good rule of thumb is to add a quarter inch to the width of the elastic you’re using. If you have 1/2 inch elastic, make your waistband 3/4″, remembering to add seam allowance to that as well.)
Here’s what I did to make cutting a little easier, since my cutting board it shorter than the length and width I needed.Step 4: Hem the skirt. Yes, you heard that right. Do it now before you sew the side seam and your life will be so much easier! One of the advantages to a dirndl, or gathered rectangle skirt, is that you can hem before it’s assembled, so you’re just dealing with a straight line instead of a tube. I finished mine with a rolled hem on my serger. If you have a serger, but don’t know how to do a rolled hem, check out some tutorials on youtube and look at your manual for the exact settings your serger needs to be on. You’ll have to remove the stitch finger, but the manual will tell you how. If your skirt will have lining, hem that as well. If it doesn’t show though the fabric too horribly, you can just serge it and no one will ever notice. That’s how a lot of linings in ready to wear skirts are done, anyway.
Step 5: Sew on the waistband. Just double over the fabric, right sides together of course, and pin to the right side of the skirt. Sew or serge the seam. Once it’s sewn, press the waistband up. I always love to top stitch after that so the waistband never flips back up again. Keep those waistbands in check, ladies!The inside of the skirt’s waistband with lining. Step 6: Insert the elastic. (Make sure you cut it so it stretches around your waist comfortably, but not loose enough to fall off or droop.) There are tools you can buy to do this, but I always use safety pins. They ain’t pretty, but they sure are cheap. And a penny saved is a penny earned, right? Uh, Cha-Ching!Step 7: Sew the center back seam. (Or the other side seam if you had to use two pieces of fabric joined together.)Cool Tip: If you use a serger, you can tuck in the tails using an embroidery thread needle threader. That way they won’t stick out or unravel.Step 8: Iron the back seam. You can also go ahead and top stitch if that’s what your little heart desires. It looks nice on some fabrics and not-quite-so-pleasant on others. As the seamstress and designer, you get to decide! Go nuts.
I have a fashion industry fundraiser this Saturday, and nothing to wear. . .as yet. I was on the fence about going because of the price of the tickets. Now that I’m staying home to be with my kids and design, I don’t feel great about dropping a bunch on an event, even though it means networking with people in the industry here in this state. Then my good friend read about the event in the paper, asked me if I had tickets, and told me I have to go when I said I was unsure. Thank God for people like her! Voices of reason, able to prioritize for me when I’m stumped. Sometimes others value my skills and interests more than I do.
This event is a premiere for the new issue of Pattern Magazine, a great Indiana based fashion magazine. The super cool thing about this is that this issue spotlights race car drivers, some of whom will be there, with the event being held at the Indy 500 track. Admittedly, I won’t know who any of them are, but my husband has been a mechanic all his life. Almost Literally. He grew up with a wrench in his hand, helping and learning from his dad who owns a shop for repairs as well as restoring classic cars. He also did a lot of racing as a kid, so this is right up his, um, alley. (A little junior dragster pun for you there. You’re welcome. Or I’m sorry, depending on how you feel about puns-they’re very polarizing.)
Here’s the problem: I was wavering on my decision to go, so I didn’t get started on something to wear until last Friday. I got some amazing sheer gray fabric tiled with silver rectangles, and some thicker silver fabric for lining.
I came up with the design using bias tape on my form, then drew it up from there. As always, I play it a little fast and loose with the details as I go along.
Here’s the kicker… since it’s sheer, I really, really want to make a jumpsuit out of the silver to go under it. But I’m extremely short on time. Instead of making the pattern for both and then starting to sew (and possibly running out of time with two completed patterns, and two half-sewn garments) I resolved to actually complete the dress before starting on the jumper. That way, if I run out of time, I can always add some lining to the dress, or make an easy little slip or bustier to go under. As pressed for time as I am, I still decided to sew a complete muslin of the bodice first – including interfacing, zippers, and all. I have to make sure this ends up with a great fit! The dress form drape ended up needing a ton of alterations- like 3 inches out of the top of the bodice. I’m very excited about getting better at custom fit, but more excited to get this finished! So for this week, at least until I’m confident it will all get finished, I’ll be posting my progress in short little bursts. Next week I’ll post some tips I’ve discovered during this process. I already have a couple to show you.
Wish Me Luck, Guys!