Thursday, August 23, 2012

DIY Tutorial: Back-to-School Corduroy Skirt

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Hello, Fall! School for us starts soon (and for some, has already started!), and I’m trying to get a handle on the clothes situation. After a summer of stained, torn play clothes day after day, it’s time for some better looking duds in warmer fabrics. This is a very basic dirndl skirt, customized to my girlie and imminently customizable to yours as well. Here we go...

Back-to-School Corduroy Skirt

First, measure your girl. Determine how long you want the skirt to be, and how big around your girl’s waist and hips are. For width, use the hip measurement plus 1” for side seam allowances. My girl was 22” around at the hips, so a width of 23”. For the length, add 2.5” for a generous vintage-inspired skirt hem and 1.5” for the elastic casing at the waist. Mine (a petite 6 year old) was 12”, plus 2.5” and 1.5” to equal 16”. Elastic length with be the waist measurement minus 1” (or the measurement of a piece of elastic held snugly around your girl). So…

Next, cut 2 pieces of your skirt fabric (mine were 23”W by 16”L, in a standard wale corduroy). Cut 1 elastic band. Find some cute bias tape or make your own, or plan whatever other embellishments you want to fancy up this skirt (bows? appliqués?). I had considered adding another row or two of bias tape, but I may or may not make a jacket to go with this and I want to leave  my options open. I can always add more later if I can wrestle it away from my girl. She looks innocent and sweet but she can put up a good fight :)

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Now you will finish the width of the raw edges (top and bottom) of each skirt panel (overcast on conventional machine or serge). Then sew and finish (or just serge) the side seams, right sides together. Fold up the bottom hem 2.5” on the wrong of the skirt, and straight stitch all around 1/4” from the fabric edge. Fold the top edge down 1.5” on the wrong side of the skirt and straight stitch all around 1/4” from the fabric edge (1-1/4” from the top of the skirt), leaving a 2” opening for the elastic. Stitch another straight line around the very top of the casing, 1/8” from the top (this will keep the elastic from rolling and bunching and will help the waistband to look neat and tidy). Insert your elastic into the opening and thread it flat through the casing  by any method you choose (I used a bodkin), keeping the far end out and pulling the other end out as well. Lap the raw edges of the elastic by 1/4” and sew together. Feed the elastic loop into the casing and sew up the opening.

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Now, go forth and embellish!! I made lots of bias tapes while on vacation last week (yes, I really did) and this was a great chance to use use a bit. I used 1/2” single fold, treated like ribbon, topstitched 1/8” from top and bottom and centered on the hem stitch line for simplicity. But you do whatever you want. Never forget that the world is your oyster.

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Happy sewing!!

(Disclaimer: This post took longer than 15 minutes, as gauged by the number of times the 5 year old asked to play computer games while I was typing. There will not be 5 posts this week. I’m sure we’ll all survive. See you soon!)

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