Friday, October 15, 2010

Simple Ruffled Skirt

I thought it was about time I attempted to write a tutorial so here goes!  Now first let me say that I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a ton of tutorials out there for this type of basic ruffled skirt.  This tutorial is definitely aimed at the Beginner Sewist.
I wanted to make something “Halloweenish” for my girls to wear to preschool and I didn’t feel like using a pattern so I just went for something easy that I could make up as I went along.  You will only need to take two measurements for this skirt.  Measure around your child’s waist and from your child’s waist to her knee.
Materials: 1/2 to 3/4 yards of festive fabric (depending on how tall your child is)
1/4 yard of coordinating fabric for the ruffle
Elastic 3/4” wide (I like the no roll kind)
Safety Pin (not pictured)
Sewing Machine, Thread, Seam Ripper, etc.
First fold the fabric in half width wise and trim off your selvedges. 
(If you don’t know, that’s the strip on each end that is not printed on and/or feels a little thicker.)
You will be using the entire width of the fabric for your skirt.  This should be approximately 44”.  Now measure from your child’s waist to her knee or your desired length.  I wanted the main body of the skirt to end at the knee and for the ruffle to go bellow the knee so that we could get a couple of years out of this skirt.  So, lets say that your child measures 15” from waist to knee.  Now add 2” to this number to allow for the elastic casing and the seam allowance with the ruffle.  So if your child measures 15” from waist to knee cut your fabric 17” long and the entire width of approximately 44”.  Got it?

Now you will cut 2 strips of fabric for your ruffle.   You can choose to make a wide or narrow ruffle.  For my skirt I wanted about a 2 1/2” ruffle.  I added an inch to this to allow for the hem and the seam allowance to the main part of the skirt.  That means that I cut two 3 1/2” strips of fabric the entire width of the fabric.  You want to cut two strips and sew them together to form one long strip.  Lay your strips of fabric right sides together and sew down one short end.  Press your seam.
Fold up one long side of your strip of fabric about 1/4” and press.

Fold up another 1/4” and press.  This will encase the raw edge.  Sew along the top of the folded edge for the entire length of the strip.
You have now made your bottom hem!
Now lets turn this long strip of fabric into a ruffle.  Sew one line of basting stitches about 1/4” from the top edge of the strip and another row of basting stitches about 1/4” bellow your first row of stitches.  What is a basting stitch you ask?  It just means that you are going to set your stitch length to the longest setting and do not back tack at the beginning and end of the row of stitches.  After you have done this, you will pull on the bobbin threads or the threads on the bottom. 
Continue to pull and spread out the gathers until  your ruffle strip is as wide as your main skirt piece.

Pin the ruffle right sides together with the bottom of your main skirt piece.  You will be matching up the raw edges. 

Don’t forget to set your stitch length back to the regular setting.  Sew the ruffle to the skirt piece.  Sew your line of stitching between the two basting lines of stitches.  Next you will finish off the seam allowance by sewing a zigzag stitch as close to the raw edge as possible.

Press the finished seam allowance towards the top of the skirt.  Top stitch the ruffle.  This means turn your skirt piece over to the right side and sew on the main skirt piece close to the seam.  You will also be sewing through the ruffle seam allowance that you pressed towards the top part of the skirt in the last step.  One row of basting stitches will be visible on your ruffle.  Pull this line of stitching out with your seam ripper.

Fold the skirt in half width wise and right sides together.  Match up raw edges, pin and sew using 1/2” seam allowance.  Be sure to match up the ruffle finished edge and upper seam.  Finish off the raw seam allowance with a zigzag stitch.

Fold down the top edge of the skirt about 1/4” and press.

Fold down again about 1 1/4” and press.

Sew around the entire top folded edge of the skirt.  Sew as close to the top folded edge of the skirt as possible. 

Now sew as close to the bottom folded edge.  Do not sew all the way around though.  Leave about a 2” opening.

Take your child’s waist measurement and cut a piece of 3/4” elastic the length of the waist measurement.  Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic and insert it into the opening you left in the folded top band of the skirt.  Use the safety pin to work the elastic through this casing and out the other side.

Pull enough of the elastic out so that it is easy to work with.  Overlap the ends by about 1/2” and sew together with a zigzag stitch.

Give the top of the skirt a few tugs until the elastic works it’s way back inside the casing.  Try the skirt on your child to make sure that the elastic feels comfortable.  Sew the 2” opening closed.  It helps to hold the fabric stretched out while you sew. 

Viola!  You have a cute little ruffle skirt!

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