Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Simple A-line Skirt Tutorial {Naptime Ingeniuty}

I found some fun geometric fabric at the thrift store a while back and knew I wanted to make it into a skirt. Seeing as how I'm not the greatest seamstress in the universe, I procrastinated. And procrastinated. And then I procrastinated some more.

Last week, I woke up one morning and was like BAM! Let's make us a skirt today! And when I say us, I mean me and my multiple personalities ...

So I did. Like I said, if I can sew this, anyone can. It only takes one good munchkin nap (a mommy's standard unit of time) to complete. Hopefully it will also convert into a maternity skirt for pregnancy.

Here's how I did it.

You will need:
~ some fabric
I have no idea how much I actually used for this project. My modus operandi was to wrap it around my waist and make sure it was long enough and wide enough ... now that's the scientific method in action, baby! But if I had to guess, I would say maybe 2 yards.
~ a maternity band (such as a Bella Band)
~ sewing notions
~ a sewing machine

The first thing I did was use this method to get the proper measurements.

Skirt waist > Measure your waist. Divide it by 2, then add 3 inches.
(My waist is approximately 28 inches. So this measurement for me turned out to be (28/2)+13=17).

Hem > Add 22 inches to your waist measurement.
(17+22 equals what now, class? That's right. 39 inches. I think.)

Length > Determine how long you want your skirt to be. I again employed A highly effective scientific method here - I held up a tape measure at my waist and looked in a full-length mirror to figure out where I wanted the skirt to fall. I think it ended up being around 22 inches.

Next, get your fabric ready by .... dun, dun, dun ... folding it in half so the right sides are together. Whew! Time for a break.

Okay, break's over.

Now you want to turn your measurements into a pattern with a large piece of paper OR just draw them on your fabric. I ended up using a pen to draw a rough outline on the fabric. I know, bad me. But one of the dogs chewed up my dress marking pencil and it refused to sharpen. So I improvised.

I deviated from the original instructions a bit. It says you're supposed to lay your pattern out on the bias, but after folding my fabric in half I realized I wouldn't be able to make my skirt the proper dimensions if I did that. I also ended up decreasing my second measurement (the hem) to about 33 inches, again due to lack of fabric. I recommend following the instructions if at all possible. Or, if you really need to break some rules and be all daring and dangerous, go ahead and do it my way.

Okay, ladies and landlubbers, now it's time to sew! Sew a straight seam along both edges of your skirt. I used about a 5/8 inch seam allowance. Unfortunately, the tension on the machine was messed up and I ended up having to sew one seam THREE times. Who knew a straight line could be such a menace. And I wasn't even drunk ...

Once you've sewn up the sides, you should probably try it on to make sure it fits.

Next, you need to pin your Bella Band to the top of your skirt. Some of you will notice your band is smaller than the waist. That's okay; it's supposed to be like that. Made explains how to deal with this best. I will also attempt to give you an idea of what I did in a slightly less eloquent/experienced fashion.

I laid my skirt out on the table with right sides facing in. Then I took my band and flipped it inside out and stuck the whole thing in the top of the skirt. Does that make sense? No? Hold on ...
(you can see clearly now, the rain is gone ... hopefully)
This is important - make sure you turn the Bella Band inside out when you put it in your skirt. When you fold it over, you're going to want the nice looking seam of the Bella Band on the OUTSIDE of the waist.

Now, pin it up. Start by pinning the band to the skirt at each side seam. There will be pools of excess fabric in the middle of the pin points (pun?). Find the center of those those two swoops of fabric (one in front, one in back) and pin them to the band. You should now have four pin points. Finally, find the center of those sections and pin them. You will have something like this going on:

(sweet skills with a bo staff  Photoshop)

Okay, now for a little bit of sewing. In order to get your waistband to lay right, you need to pull on the Bella Band as you sew so it is even with the fabric. Here's Made's tutorial again if that helps you ...

Once you've sewn the waist band on, all you have to do is add a hem. I used knit fabric, so I just sewed a quick seam around the bottom to keep it from curling up. If you are very hem-wary, you could use fusible web instead.

Voila! Here's the lil' beaut:

This is a very simple project. Hopefully I didn't gack it up too much with my instructions : ) Enjoy!

Get sewing!


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