I am happy to announce that I have completed my skirt! While finishing the waistband I was reminded of a comment left on my initial post. The lovely reader, Melinda, mentioned a flat waistband in the front with an elastic back….a brilliant yet simple solution. My entire waistband is still elastic but I sewed accordion pleats in the front to minimize bulk.
I pulled the elastic slightly as I sewed the pleats in front, but stopped stretching when I reached the back of my skirt. The accordion pleats resulted in a smooth and bulk free front (near my stomach) which is exactly what I wanted!
BUT the back of the skirt became more gathered than I intended. It would have been nice to continue the accordion pleats all the way around the skirt, but that would have caused the waist to be way too big…and a modest skirt around the ankles is not a modest skirt..
Next time I’ll adjust the length of my elastic and width of my waistband so I can continue the pleats around the entire skirt.
Until then, I’ll just enjoy my new handmade skirt with a half accordion pleated waistband!
So, let’s get this modest skirt sew along started! The most important part of this process is drafting a pattern. I had to study the book Sew What! Skirts and plan, plan, plan. It’s not very difficult to understand, but it does require concentration and a little problem solving. I will give you an overview of the process I’m using, but you really need to pick up the book to understand some of the techniques. I hoped to sew my skirt ahead of time then share it with you, but that didn’t happen; you actually get to follow along as I sew a modest skirt. (Lord, please let this work)
Because I’m making an elastic waist skirt, I only needed two measurements: width of the widest part of my hips and my desired length. I will add my own twist to the process to create pockets as well as the paper bag waistline. Also, there aren’t specific instructions on making a straight skirt with an elastic waist, so I’m making it up as I go along. (Lord, I really need Your help)
I used a roll of wrapping paper, a ruler, tape measure, and a marker to create my skirt pattern
A little bit of math
After determining my hip measurement and my desired length, I used the formula found on page 17 of the book:
Hip measurement + 2 inch seam allowance + 2-4 inches of ease = _____ divided by 4
Desired length + 1 inch hem+ 3 inch seam allowance at the waist (for 1 inch elastic)+ 1 inch for my paper bag waistline = ______
Next, I plotted my measurements onto my wrapping paper
Point 1- Is my starting point on my wrapping paper
Point 2- Is about a 1/2inch to an inch above (this will help make the waistline curve)
Point 3- My desired length
Point 4- My hip measurement (from point 2 to point 4)
Point 5- The book did not include this point. I added this width based on the bottom of another skirt I had. I wanted to make a somewhat straight skirt while making sure I will be able to walk without a split or kick pleat.
Connect the dots:
I drew a curved line from 1 to 4. Then, I drew a line from point 4 to the hemline. This is going to be my seam and determines if I have a straight or a-line skirt. I think I may want my skirt to be a little straighter, more like pencil skirt but we’ll see. Finally, I used a long ruler, to make points following the curve of my waistline to the hemline.
Cut the pattern
I now have a customized pattern I can use over and over again!
My next steps include prewashing my fabric, cutting the fabric, and using this tutorial to create pockets. I’ll be back soon with more progress!
Imagine how much time and money you could save if you created your own skirt pattern! You should really consider giving this a try.
In my last post I sang the praises of the book Sew What Skirts and rallied for a modest skirt sew-along. So, let’s make it happen! Starting here on April 5th we will sew a skirt together…sort of. Due to the book’s customized nature, the process may vary slightly for each of us. My personal goal is to make a skirt that’s comfortable enough to wear to the playground with my children and cute enough to wear out on a summer night with my husband. I’ll probably start with a simple elastic waist skirt with the “paper bag affect” around the top, like the J.crew skirt above but longer. If you’re interested in making a simple elastic waist skirt using your custom pattern grab the book from your local library or Amazon, as well as your supplies and meet me back here on April 5th.
I will be using my sewing machine, basic sewing supplies (including a large ruler and tape measure), wrapping paper (for my pattern), lightweight fabric (I’m thinking linen or seersucker), elastic, a safety pin and of course the book.
Does anyone have a paper bag skirt? I think they’re adorable but wonder if they make you look heavy on the bottom or create the appearance of a pouch in the lower tummy. Please let me know before I get started!
If you value modest clothing (which I’m sure you do) and are looking to adopt modest spending habits (aren’t we all?) but want to stay true to your style, you should check out the book “Sew what! Skirts”. I found this book at the library a couple of years ago and fell in love with it.
There are step by step instructions on how to create a custom skirt pattern using your own measurements! This means you no longer have to settle for an ill fitting skirt — you get a personalized fit, length, color, and style because you create it yourself. I made the cutest red (maternity) pencil skirt while pregnant with my daughter using this book. I had never used a commercial pattern before, but was able to draft my own pattern and create the chic skirt I was unable to find in stores.
Longer days and milder temperatures have me thinking of my spring/summer wardrobe. I think I may have to dust my book off and create a few skirts.
Anyone want to join me?!