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Friday, May 4, 2012

Twirly Skirt

When I try to take pictures of Ella to share things I think you might enjoy reading about and trying, I get either one of two responses.  One, zero cooperation.  Or Two, everything is totally posed.
My goal for showing you just how cute this Twirly Skirt was to capture some pictures of Ella playing.
At first, I thought my hopes were dashed.  She had a pose at every angle.

But once I got Ella twirling, her cute little (real) smile and laughter could not help but emerge.
Although she just could not resist adding a little pose to the end of all her twirls.

What little girl does not love to twirl
 and twirl?
 After Ella had enough of me snapping pictures of her, she took over and performed her own photo shoot.
 Ella caught me at the end of my twirl, I think she did a pretty good job.

Now, about the skirt...  I am sharing this with you because it is VERY easy!  I would not tell you that if it was not true!  I used the Circle Skirt tutorial from MADE.  I pretty much followed her tutorial with a few improvisations.  

1.  Measure your child's (or your waist, you could easily make this for yourself). 
Measure your child's waist and then add two to three inches (I think I added three).  This allows for seam allowance and adds a small gather at the top of the skirt.  It also allows for a little give when putting the skirt on.

2.  Make your pattern.
Draw your pattern on a piece of paper with a right angle corner (I say this because I usually draw my patterns on freezer paper and do not have a right angle.  It is important to have a right angle to get the pattern correct.).

There are detailed instructions on the tutorial, but basically you are finding the radius for the skirt.  You can read her instructions, but what you want to do is divided the waist measurement by 6.28 inches.  
So, if your waist measurement is 20 in.  You have 20 + 2 = 22.  22 / 6.28 = 3.5. 

To get the waist line of your skirt pattern, place a ruler in the corner of the paper and measure 3.5 inches from one side of the paper to the others.  It will make an arch.  

Determine the length that you want the skirt.  I wish I had made Ella's skirt about an inch longer than I did.  As easy as this was to make, I don't think I have ever completed a sewing project that has turned out exactly how I envisioned it.  That is just a side note for your benefit:)

After you have determined your finished length (be sure to take into account the size of your elastic, mine was 2 inches), measure an arch all the way across the paper from the waist measurement for the desired length of the skirt.

(Just ignore that middle set of dashed lines.  That is where I measured from the corner of the paper instead of the waist line.  So glad I discovered that before I cut my fabric!)

 Here is what your pattern will look like.
3.  Cutting your fabric
Here is where I deviated from the tutorial a little bit.  In her tutorial, Dana says you can make this skirt in 30 minutes.  And after you have made your pattern, I believe it is true.  That is, if you choose a fabric that does not have pattern that you wish to fall in a certain direction.  Of course, I did not...

Dana has detailed steps to cut the fabric out in one piece (here), but since I did not want my rainbows to be upside down, I had to cut out each piece individually.

I used one yard of 45 inch wide fabric, which was just a tiny bit too short (see bottom right skirt piece).

But, I was not about to let this stop me!
 With a little bit of improvisation
 I was able to make that final piece of the skirt

Sew all four skirt panels together (right sides together) to make one big circle.

If you do not have to piece together your skirt, this is what your fabric will look like after your cut it out.  You would then just have to sew the one seam together to make the circle.  
4.  Elastic Waist Band

I used two inch elastic for the waist band.  

Wrap the elastic around your child's waist to get the right size.  Remember, you want it to fit a little snug so that it will stay up and not gap in the back.  

After you have the right size elastic, add one inch for the seam in the back.

Sew the elastic together, making another circle for the waistband.  Sew together with 1/2 seam.

Then fold back each side of the seam and sew it flat with a small zig zag stitch to the waist band.  This is a very important step for comfort!
5.  Sew Skirt to Elastic
I did not follow the tutorial's instructions here either.  The tutorial had you pinning the skirt to the elastic all the way around and then just stretching the elastic as you sew.  I tried this and it just did not work. (Let me tell you, taking out that white zig zag stitch on white elastic was not fun!!!!)
So, I just did a good ole', tried and true, gathering stitch (turn your straight stitch length to its longest setting, mine is 4).  Sew a gathering stitch all the way around the waist.  Before you gather, mark the center of front and the center of the back of the skirt.
 Then do the same on the elastic waistband.

Gather the skirt and line up the center front and center back.

Pin the skirt to the elastic and sew about 1/4 of an inch from the bottom of the elastic with a small zig zag stitch (it was pointless to take a picture of the stitch because with the white thread you could not see the stitch).  My stitch length was about 1 and the width was about 2.5 - 3.  

I just realized I did not take a picture of the placement of the skirt on the elastic.  You sew the right side of the skirt to the wrong side of the elastic.  Here is a picture of pinning and you can see how the skirt should be pinned (but your fabric should be gathered).
6.  Hem the Skirt
I did a very small hem, 1/4 inch.  But you can do whatever you like best.  Personally, I really like the small hem.  I think it makes the skirt fall very nice.

And then you will have one happy, happy little girl
who just cannot help twirling!

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