23 Feb 2015

Tutorial for sewing a skirt

I know I'm a bit picky when choosing a print dress. That is clearly an understatement, because I just love most dresses on anybody else but me. They look good until I put myself in the picture. Well, I surprised even myself and bought a flowery fabric from Eurokangas. It's a sort of vintage styled print.

I found the fabric as a ready cut piece, so it cost me less than usually. Also the zipper was form an old secondhand skirt which I turned into a shopping bag a few months ago, so I saved on that too :3 Later on I bought some lace for another dress and decided to use the "leftovers" (there's still a lot left!) for this skirt.

I love the fabric, the colour is perfect! I couldn't find a proper reference for making the skirt, so I just came up with something myself and worked without patterns. The fabric is cotton and sturdy (not a light weight fabric), so it is quite puffy by itself even without a petticoat.

I washed my fabric before I started cutting and sewing it. It shrunk a little in 40 celcius, but I was left with 200 cm x 102 cm piece (I don't remember how much I had before it shrunk, because it was already cut when I bought it). I cut the fabric and kept an eye on the pattern, which obviously had to be flowers facing the same way. I cut the skirt part first, which was a rectangle of 50 cm x 200 cm. Then the two pieces for the ruffled hem, 18 cm x 200 cm.

I  zigzagged all the edges and sewed the skirt part into a circle (more like a tube actually). Then I sewed the hem pieces together to make a sort of large circle. I folded 1 cm of the bottom of the hem and ironed it, then I folded it again and put needles and sewed it to make a nice finished hem.

I folded 3 cm of the top of the ruffle piece hem and ironed it.

I changed my sewing machine settings to have it take a longer step when stitching, and sewed two seams for the ruffles. This enables pretty and even ruffling. Here's the difference of a long stitch and the regular one:

I pulled the threads to make the ruffles and tightened the knots when the ruffled hem measured exactly as much as the skirt part.

I put in needles and sewed regular stitch between the two ruffle seams. After that I unstitched the two ruffle seams.

Next I cut the waist pieces. These 4 waist pieces are 10cm high, 40cm wide at the top, and 42cm wide at the bottom according to my own measurements.

I zigzagged them and sewed together. I folded and ironed 1 cm around the edges. Then I folded the entire waist part.

I changed my sewing machine settings to have it make the longer stitch and sewed two seams on the upper skirt part for the ruffles. I pulled the threads to make the ruffles and tightened the knots when the ruffled skirt part measured exactly as much as the waist part.

Then I put in needles and sewed between the two ruffle seams. Then I unstitched the ruffle seams.

Next I sewed the zipper (not much to tell about that, it's my nemesis every time!).

For the shirring I measured and cut 4 pieces of 11 cm elastics. The length of the elastic depends on the measurements of your waist and how high you want your skirt to stay put. There should be enough fabric to stretch along with the elastic, I had 22 cm of extra fabric, which is twice the length of the elastic. The elastics are sewn one at a time by attaching both ends of the elastic securely to the fabric and then stretching it to the length of the fabric, in this case the 11cm elastics were stretched to 22 cm. 

I ended up loosening the wais elastics a bit after wearing the skirt, because it felt too tight when I had all my puff underneath it :3 I just took out a few stitches at the ends of the elastics and sewed a few stitches there to make the elastic secure again, then I just cut the excess elastic off.

Here's how it looks so far without the finishing lace details (there's a creamy white cotton petti peeking under the waistline):

Next I added some good quality lace to finish the skirt! I stretched the elastics at the back a bit and sewed the lace there too, because I wanted it symmetrical.

And voilá, finished skirt with ruffled hem and lace details:

 And here's me wearing it to Vapriikki Vintage :3


  1. VERY nice tutorial! The skirt is very enchanting and adorable. You're so talented!