If I could go back to live in any decade, it would definitely be the 50s. Women dressed themselves with class and elegance unlike our scantly clad generation, who barely wear enough to even be considered clothing. “Less is better” seems to be the motto that this generation lives by and I can only imagine what the clothing styles will have evolved to by the time Kinsley is a teenager. It’s a scary thought.
While scanning through pinterest, as I often do on a daily basis now, I came across an adorable high waisted skirt. I get excited when I find cute clothing that include tutorials along with the item. However, after taking a closer look at the “tutorial,” I quickly found that it wasn’t much of a tutorial at all. The one pattern piece that was included was not in scale with the skirt that she had made (it was much smaller), and several of the construction techniques she used will never be found in any real pattern instructions. The more and more I find tutorials online I grow to realize that you cannot trust their validity. Luckily I know enough about sewing that I can spot sketchy-ness when I see it. : P Even though I realized that I had no real base to build off of I still wanted to make the skirt because it was so cute, so I decided to make my own pattern and instructions, and go for it. (Allie Brown bore with me and made one too!)
Here is the website that we found the skirt idea from: http://sewingin-nomansland.blogspot.com/2010/08/taking-notes-skirt-tutorial.html
Here is how I made my own:
- Skirt- 1 3/4yrd of fabric
- Band and tie- 1 yrd of fabric
- Interfacing (lightweight fusible) 1/3 yrd
- 7in zipper if you want the ties connected to the band
- 9in zipper if you want the tie separate
- Spool of Thread
Getting started I dug through my stack of patterns and found one that had a gathered/elastic skirt. I wanted some sort of size comparison to get me started instead of just gestimating on all of it. I found the perfect pattern expect the skirt was shorter then I was shooting for, so I decided to lengthen it. To lengthen the pattern piece I got out tissue paper. You know, the kind you put in gifts! I have found that it works perfectly to extend/create pattern pieces. However you have to be careful because it does rip slightly easier then your regular pattern piece. If you have a yardstick, lay it even with the side of the pattern piece so that you can continue to the same angle as the pattern piece as you extend it. In my case, I used a ghetto piece of siding trim because I don’t have a yardstick. : ) Yes, I know I need to get one. What kind of seamstress am I to not have one?! Anyway, I just simply taped the tissue paper to the pattern piece, sketched my line along the yardstick where I wanted to extend the pattern piece, and then cut!
Next I decided to copy it all onto a separate piece of tissue paper so that I could have a completely separate pattern for this skirt if I wanted to make it again in the future. I made the front pattern piece to be cut on the fold of the fabric, and the back pattern piece with a grain line. The skirt pattern I used had the front and back piece both on the fold, however I needed to include a zipper in the back and so I placed a grain line on it.
Next I began to sketch out my waist band and ties. When creating the pattern for the waistband and ties I planned for a standard 5/8in seam, and kept this in consideration when creating the width and length of these other pieces. Really I just made them whatever size I wanted. Since the ties are just simple rectangle pieces, the were a piece of cake!
After sketching and cutting out all of my pattern pieces I labeled them, identified which ones needed to be cut on a fold, and how many pieces I would need of each. Now that I had a running pattern, I was ready to go!
Next I began to lay out my pattern pieces and begin cutting. I cut out one front piece on the fold and then two back skirt pieces. I also cut two of the ties on the fold and two of the waist band on the fold. (One for the band and one for the band lining)
From here on out I made my own directions and followed them. Here they are with pictures of what I did as well.
Step 1: Stitch center-back seam from lower edge leaving space at top to insert the zipper. Before I sewed this seam I lined the zipper up with the fabric (5/8in below upper edge) to determine where my seam needed to be sewn to and cut a notch so I would know where to stop.
Step 2: Baste remainder of back center seam shut. Line closed zipper up with the center of the basted seam and with the tab end 5/8” below upper edge. Stitch. I used zebra tape because it helps me to get a straight seam. Love that stuff. Next use a seam ripper to get the basting stitch out.
Step 3: With right sides together stitch skirt front to back at side seams.
Step 4: Run a gathering stitch along upper edge of skirt. To run a gather stitch put the sewing machine stitch length on 4 and then run two stitches, one at 1/4in and the other at 5/8in. I also ran all edges of my skirt through a serger before sewing them together. I like the finished off look it gives and it’s also easier to work with if you have a fabric that frays easily.
Step 5: Apply fusible interfacing to wrong side of band facing. It does not matter which band piece you use as the facing.
Step 6: With right sides together pin band to band facing. Sew upper edge. Flip right side out. Press. This picture is showing the sewn seam on the left side with the band flipped partially right side out.
Step 7: Press under lower edge of band facing to 5/8in. Trim to 1/4in.
Step 8: Pull gathers in skirt to fit edge of band. I cut a notch on each side of the band equal distance from where the center back seam would be so that I could line it up with the side seams of the skirt. This ensured that my skirt was sewn on straight and that the seams were not lopsided.
Step 9: With right sides together pin skirt to the un-pressed edge of the band leaving a seam allowance on each end of the band. Stitch. Press seam. As you can see below I only left a 3/8in seam allowance on the band because I wanted to be sure that it would not be too tight. The picture below is showing the space I left when pinning the band to the skirt so that I could sew the band seam to finish it off later on. At this point it might not make sense why you wouldn’t want to line them up, but it will later. The second picture shows the seam on the outside after it’s sewn.
Step 10: With right sides together stitch ties along raw edges leaving one end open to turn. Turn right side out and press.
Step 11: On the raw edge of the tie run gathering stitch.
Step 12: Fold band to where right sides are together. Slip unfinished edge of tie into the end seam and stitch end shut with raw edges even. Layer seams and trim corners. I know the polka dots kind of run together in the first picture, but my hand is holding down the edge of the tie even with the raw edge of the waist band. In the second picture I have laid the right side of the other band back down over the tie.
Step 13: Turn ends right side out and press.
Step 14: Top stitch along top edge of band and down both ends.
Step 15: On the right side of skirt stitch in the ditch of the seam catching the pressed edge of the band facing. In the first two pictures I am laying the pressed edge of the band facing over the seam. In the third I have pinned it down so it will stay in place while I stitch in the ditch of the seam on the outside of the skirt, which is what picture four is showing.
Step 16: Hem lower edge.
Here is what the back of the skirt looked like:
After finishing the back of the skirt I realized that even though I really liked the way the ties looked, I didn’t like the way they tied when the skirt was on me. So then I decided to deconstruct. I took out the band seam and the zipper. I then went and bought a 9in zipper instead of the 7in one I had and stitched the back seam of the skirt up until it was around 9in below the top of the skirt.
I basted the back skirt seam shut and pinned the zipper in again, however this time I lined it up with the very top of the band. On the inside I layed the facing down on top of the zipper so that the zipper was sandwhiched between the band and band facing (as you can see in the pic below) and then stitched my zipper seam.
Finally, I took the gathering stitch out of the tie pieces and took back the seam in each tie about two inches. Next I opened them up and placed them pretty sides together and stitched that seam. I then turned the tie back to pretty sides out and top stitched where I had taken the seam back. Below is a picture of what it looked like when I finished.
I like the skirt MUCH better with the zipper going all the way to the top and the ties separate.
Finally all done!! I loved how the lady made one for her daughter as well. I am definitely going to have to do that when Kinsley gets a little older. I would go ahead and make it, but at the rate she is growing I have no idea when she would fit whatever size I made. So instead i’ll just wait, and when the time is right whip one up. : )
Lessons I’ve learned:
– You can’t always trust “tutorials” you find.
– Making your own pattern isn’t as intimidating as it seems
– I really hope that I can afford a pattern making software someday. I would LOVE it.
Here are the instructions I adapted for myself for when I make the skirt again in the future with the tie separate:
High waist dress with tie separate:
Step 1: Stitch center back seam from lower edge leaving space at top to insert the zipper.
Step 2: With right sides together stitch skirt front to back at side seams.
Step 3: Run a gathering stitch along upper edge of skirt.
Step 4: Apply fusible interfacing to wrong side of band facing.
Step 5: With right sides together pin band to band facing. Sew upper edge. Press.
Step 6: Press under lower edge of band facing to 5/8in. Trim to 1/4in.
Step 7: Pull gathers in skirt to fit edge of band.
Step 8: With right sides together pin skirt to the un-pressed edge of the band. Stitch. Press seam.
Step 9: Baste remainder of back center seam shut. Line closed zipper up with the top of the skirt band on the center of the basted seam. Lay the band facing down over the
back of the zipper. Stitch.
Step 10: Top stitch along top edge of band.
Step 11: With right sides together stitch ties together at the ends. Next, fold ties to where they are right sides together again and stitch along raw edges leaving one end open to turn. Turn right side out. Tuck in raw edges of the tie end that is not sewn and topstitch into place. Press.
Step 12: On the right side of skirt stitch in the ditch of the seam catching the pressed edge of the band facing.
Step 13: Hem lower edge.