Friday, May 20, 2011

Breezy Braided Beach Skirt Tutorial

Welcome everyone from Hideous Dreadful Stinky! I am so honored to be a guest blogger for the Summer of No Pants. Marigold writes one of my favorite blogs. As a mother of three boys her tough as Rubbermaid blog is a breath of fresh air for this mom.
Also tomorrow I'll be doing a giveaway. It was just too much with this very long post. Come back for that! So without further ado (well who are we kidding? There are at least 3 more pictures before the tute really starts, but this parenthetical isn't helping us get there eh?) the:

This is more than just your average drawstring skirt! Although I love a good adjustable drawstring skirt (one size fits all!) I hate having to adjust it every time I want to take it off. Also three boys have left me with not much waist and I find that a tight enough drawstring can cut into my tummy and be really uncomfortable. I have found a remedy for both problems so this will be a comfortable and adjustable option for your Summer of No Pants!

Rotary Cutter
Cutting Mat
Fabric Marker
Large safety pin
Sewing Machine

1 3/4 yard cotton knit
5/8" Elastic (something strong)
Matching Thread

1. Cutting the pieces
Fold the material in such a way that you are cutting all the way across the fabric selvage-to-selvage. All cuts will be made in this way. So they will all be approx. 45" by whatever-I-tell-you. (If you want to do 60" fabric you'll have to do the math yourself!)
Cut pieces that are:
26 1/4" (back)
25" (front)
3 1/4" (drawstring casing for front)

2. Turning under
Turn under 1/4" and then 1/4" again to make a nice edge. Do this on the following (this is the boring part):
One long side of the 26 1/4" piece (the 45" side)

One long side of the 25" piece (the 45" side)

Of the 3 1/4" piece, first the long sides, the the short sides

Cut the 3 1/4" piece in half so you have two pieces that are 3 1/4" by approx. 22" and are finished on three sides.

3. Making casings

The Front: (if, like me, you've pinned nothing so far - this is where you should start pinning!)Pin the two 3 & 1/4" pieces so that they match up with the turned edge of the 25" piece. Put those raw unfinished edges on the selvage and leave a little 2" gap in the middle between those nice finished short ends.

This is going to be the casing that will hold the three drawstrings. I matched the casing edge to the line of the stitches so you can see the two layers a little bit.

Sew down the lower side of the casing the same way. Now you'll need to measure the previously 3 & 1/4" casing to see what it measures from stitches to stitches.

Remember those three 1" strips? Stretch those girlies all the way out till they curl up! Cut all three strips in half so you have six. Get that big safety pin and use it to thread one strip through each of those parallel casings you just sewed! Let them hang down long in the middle and knot them together just to be safe. On the unfinished side edges, have those three strips stick out a tiny bit. Pin them, and then sew them down. When you sew the side seams later just use a bigger seam allowance so that bit doesn't show.

The Back:

You are now going to make a casing for the elastic along the long nicely turned side of the 26 & 1/4" piece. Do that however you want. But on one side sew the elastic down and on the other side leave the casing open so you can adjust the elastic when we get to that part.

This is how I do it.
First put the safety pin on the end of the elastic.
Lay the elastic down along the turned edge on one side. Fold that baby over just as snug as you like with the elastic now inside the fold. There should be just enough looseness so you can pin along the edge of your folded-casing without catching the elastic in your pinning. Pin all the way down the elastic. When you get to the end of the elastic, slide it down further so you can use it to gauge your folds. Keep sliding and folding and pinning, sliding and folding and pinning until you get to the other side.

Let the elastic stick out a little. Sew down the elastic from the top of the fold to the pinned edge, then turn, sewing along where you pinned. Don't catch the elastic!

4. Construction

Sew the Side Seams Almost. Pin the front to the back, right sides together and...

a) On the side where the back elastic is sewn down - sew the side seam all the way top to bottom using a large enough seam allowance that all those other side seams don't show.

b) On the side where the elastic is loose sew from just UNDER the elastic casing all the way to the bottom.

Fitting the Waist and Pinning the Elastic Down:

Go lock yourself in your bathroom with your pincushion and make the gaping hole of a waistband fit around you. Pull the front drawstrings tight and tie them. Hold the "open" side together with one hand and pull the elastic out until the skirt fits you. Pin it and adjust the gathers. Adjusting the gathers may loosen the skirt. Pull the elastic out again, keep working it until it looks how you like and (this is rather important) doesn't fall off!

Before you go back to sew down the elastic where you pinned it, take the skirt off and put on some pants!

Sew the side seam the rest of the way up - sewing that pinned elastic down at the same time.

Hems: Many people leave the hem of a cotton knit skirt like this unfinished. That's what I've done here. If you don't like this you can turn the edge under a 1/4 of an inch twice as we did on the other nice edges, or you could do a more traditional hem by turning 1/4 of an inch once and sewing on the machine and then turning under one inch or more and hand-sewing a hemstitch.

Either way cotton knit skirts like this are not expected to be perfectly hemmed parallel to the ground. A little variation is normal in a store bought skirt so you can get away with it here.

Braid those drawstrings and tie them in a knot before you reach the end! Pretty pretty pretty!

Or don't braid them and leave them all stringy and Blue Lagooney! Whatever you want!

Now go to the beach with your kiddoes!

Come back tomorrow for the give away!