Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Make yourself a simple pencil skirt in under an hour!

OK, so here's a quick tutorial for how to make a simple pencil skirt out of knit cotton fabric without a pattern. It takes exactly 3 lines of stitching to complete.

Tools you will need:

-measuring tape
-sewing machine with ball point needle
-scissors (or rotary cutter and self-healing mat)
-enough knit fabric wide enough to go around your hips and twice the desired finished length of the skirt.

Step 1: Measure

You will need three measurements:
-Your hips at their fullest
-Your waist where you want the waistband of the skirt to sit
-The desired length of the skirt from where you want the waistband to sit, to where you want the skirt to end

Step 3: Make waistband

Take your waist measurement and multiply it by 0.8 (or 80%). For example, my waist measurement is 36". 0.8 x 36 = 28.8 , but we'll just say 29. Take this measurement as the width of the waistband piece.

Measure out a piece of fabric that is 8" tall along the grain of the fabric (the less stretchy direction), and as wide as the number you determined earlier. Make sure that this piece of fabric will sit snug against your waist while wrapped around you, but is still loose enough to pull on and off over your hips. Make sure to leave enough extra for seam allowance.

For those of you who don't like math, you can just cut out a strip of fabric 8" tall and as wide as your fabric roll, then wrap it around your hips almost as tight as it will go. Move it to your waist and see if it is comfortable. If it is too tight loosen it a little. Make sure to leave enough for seam allowance.

Fold your strip of fabric in half the long way, with right sides together, and sew it into a loop. You now have a waistband.

Note: When sewing knit fabric, I like to use a short stitch length and a slight zig-zag so that it stretches nicely. On my machine, the zig-zag stitch goes from 0-4, and I set it in between 0 and 1.

Step 4: Make Skirt

For the body of the skirt you will need to cut out one long rectangle. The measurement along the width of the fabric (in the more stretchy direction) will be your hip measurement (unless you like your skirt really loose, you can take 2 or 3 inches away from the width measurement. It's knit, it will stretch). Make the length of this piece (along the grain of the fabric) twice the length you want the finished skirt to be.

Fold this piece along the width measurement (the more stretchy direction), with the right sides together, and sew up the side opposite the fold to make a tube.

Sorry for some of the washed out pictures.

Step 5: Attach the waistband to the skirt

OK, you're almost done. Fold the skirt in half along it's length with the wrong sides together, encasing the raw edges inside. Do the same with the waistband. Now place the skirt bottom inside the loop of the waistband with the raw edges facing up (and fold facing down) for both. Match the seams together and pin the waistband to the skirt, matching the raw edges, stretching the waistband to make it fit. Once you have them fitting nicely together, sew them together. Stretch the waistband as you sew to make it fit nicely onto the skirt.

Finish the raw edges any way you like, but since it's knit cotton, you shouldn't need to if you don't want to. If you have really stubborn fabric in your waistband that keeps stretching out and making the skirt not stay up, you can sew some elastic onto the raw edges to hold it in place.

And Voila! You've made yourself a brand new skirt!

* To anyone wondering about the AMAZING top I'm wearing in the first pic, it was done by my the incredible Scott at Tied up and Dyed on Gabriola Island. You can visit his website here, or catch him at all the summer farmers markets on Gabriola. I love LOVE his work for how intricate it is, and how classy he can make tie dye. I wore this shirt to the office and my co-workers were in awe of it. So am I!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for posting these instructions! It was so easy. For my skirt, I only used one length of fabric since I had a nice selvedge on the patterened fabric I used. Awesome!