I just finished making one of these for myself and thought I would share how to make one without needing to buy a pattern 😀
When made from white muslin they make a wonderful petticoat, giving an extra fullness to fuller skirts 😀 If you don’t need a petticoat, these make good skirts, too!
You’ll need approximately 3 1/2 yards of material to make a ladies size, plus matching thread and enough 3/4″ wide elastic to go around your waist 🙂
If you’re making a different size, you will need to find your hip measurement and then add about 15″ to that. It doesn’t have to be exact. Your skirt won’t fall apart if you add a few inches 😀
Lengthwise, you should be able to lengthen/shorten the skirt by lengthening/shortening the 16″ piece.
-Cut 2 pieces 27 1/2″ wide and 11″ long. This is your front and back top piece. Seam allowance and elastic casing are included in these measurements. (You will see in the picture that these pieces look like the same width as the lower pieces–that’s because I messed up. So this time just ‘do as I say, not as I did!‘ 😀 )
-Cut 2 more pieces 44″ wide and 12 1/2″ long. Most fabric is 44″ wide when unfolded, so just cut straight across the fabric. You don’t have to unfold it to do this.
-Cut 4 pieces 44″ wide and 16 inches long.
Next, sew each set together using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Sew both 27 1/2 inch pieces together at the sides, both 44 x 12 1/2″ pieces, and then all four 44 x 16″ pieces. You will end up with 3 loops…one small, one medium, one gigantic (-: You can finish the seams with a serger or a zig-zag stitch if you want.
Make the casing for your elastic by folding over 1″ of the top of the smallest “loop”, and then press it with an iron. Before you do this you may want to finish the edge with a serger or with a zig-zag stitch.
Stitch all the way around as close to the finished edge as you can (about 1/8″ to 1/4″ from the edge), leaving a 3 to 4 inch opening to insert the elastic.
Tip: To make it easier to put your elastic in, press both side seams going the same way. Then when you are putting the elastic in, it will slide right over the seams instead of getting caught in them.
Now you need your ‘medium’ loop. With your machine on the longest stitch possible (most machines go up to a no. 4 length, even longer is better if you can), leave long tails and sew one row of gathering (long) stitches 3/8″ from the edge of the material. Then sew another row about 3/8″ to 1/2″ from that. Stop at the seams and then begin again on the other side of the seam. Remember to leave long tails at the beginning and the end.
Gather up the stitches and pin it (right sides together) to the bottom of the small loop that you just put a casing in. I like to put a pin right in the seams and then I wrap the tails around that pin to keep the gathers from falling out. You can kind of see it in the picture, around the pink pin.
A 4-H judge taught us this trick, and I love it! For the most even gathers, stitch in between your gathering stitches (using your 1/2″ seam allowance). When we have all the tiers in, we will take out the bottom row of gathering stitches, which is fairly easy to do, and leaves you with very even gathers 🙂
Now your skirt will look like this 😀 Only your seam will not be in the front like that…it will be on the side where it belongs! That was part of my boo-boo 😀
You are going to repeat what you just did, only this time you are taking the gigantic loop and gathering it to the medium sized one 😀 One small difference–only ‘break’ your gathering thread at your side seams. Just sew right over the seams that are in the center front and back. In other words, you have four seams on this loop. So you start at one seam, sew over the next, stop at the third. Leave a long tail. Start on the other side of the third seam, sew over the fourth, and come around again to the first seam where you began.
To help evenly space your gathers, center the middle seams (the one’s that you’ve sewn over) on the middle tier before you start gathering. That means you’ll have a seam directly in the center front as well as in the center back.
Once you have it all sewn together, your skirt will look like this:
Hooray! The hardest part is over 😀 Now you can finish the seams if you want, and then pull out the bottom rows of gathering stitches that will be showing. They should pull right out if you break them at the side seams. You can also press the seam upwards and topstitch 1/4″ all the way around both of the ruffles. Topstitching is optional but sometimes helps the ruffles to lay better and gives it a more finished look.
Now it’s time to insert the elastic 😀
Pin the end of the elastic to the skirt so that it doesn’t get pulled in. If you have a really long piece of elastic you won’t really have to worry about this.
Then with another large safety pin, thread it through your opening and all the way through the casing.
My favorite way of finding out how much elastic to use, is to try it on (while holding the elastic so you don’t lose it!) and then pin it where it feels the most comfortable. Some people say to take your waist measurement and subtract 2-4 inches.
Once you find the comfortable length, make sure, double check, and then triple check that your elastic hasn’t twisted in the casing somewhere 😀 Add about 1 1/2 inches to the elastic length, overlap it over the other end, and sew it together. You can just do two vertical seams along the edges of the elastic, or do a something like this.
Let the elastic fall back into the casing…
…and stitch it closed. You will have to stretch the elastic to get the fabric to lay smooth and straight.
You can ‘stitch in the ditch’ if you want. This is an extra precaution to keep the elastic from rolling. Evenly space out the gathers of the skirt and then stitch right in the side seams, just where the elastic is.
Now you can hem it up to the length you want. I serged the edge and then pressed it up about 1 inch on mine.
CONGRATULATIONS!!! You’re skirt is complete!
Hopefully this tutorial is helpful! If something doesn’t make sense, please, please leave a comment and let me know! Questions help me clarify my tutorials 😀 Have fun!