Saturday 14 March 2015

Skirt Binding Experiment...

Last year I made this skirt using a bright, fun print... Dr Seuss Fabric - Pastel Rainbow Hills by Robert Kaufman - Oh the places you'll go. The close up photos further down in the post show the colours best.

Based on Little Miss' measurements (20" waist), I cut out the fabric, resulting in a skirt that measures 15" from waist to knee...
  • yoke - 7" x 32"
  • skirt - 10½" x width of fabric
  • binding - 2½" x 50" I would change this next time.

Super easy and very quick up to this point. All that's left is the binding for the hem.

I had this brainwave, or so I thought at the time. Why not try quilt binding on the bottom of the skirt? And that's what I did...
  • double the binding and sew to the right side of the skirt
  • fold the binding to the wrong side
  • on the right side, stitch in the ditch to attach the binding at the back.

All looked fine, until Little Miss tried on the skirt. The binding stopped the skirt from falling as it should. I didn't even think that the thickness of the binding would alter the drape of the skirt. It kind of worked like a rope skirt.

The skirt is still wearable and I've learnt something, so my experiment wasn't a failure. If I want a skirt or dress to really stand out at the hem, I might use a quilt binding method again. Otherwise, I'll use a more traditional method of attaching binding to the hem of a garment.

Do you like to experiment as you sew, or would you prefer to play it safe?

... Pam


  1. Yes, I definitely like to experiment, too, and that is also how I learn like you did, Pam. What a cute skirt. I trust this beautiful young lady loves what you made for her. It's precious!

    Thanks for the tips, too!

    Hugs and happy weekend,

  2. Every time I try a new to me pattern or tutorial it's an experiment! They don't always turn out the way I hope, which is why I call the first run, a trial run ;) Yesterday I made a little bunny drawstring bag - my first run worked out quite well, but I thought I would change it up/improve it a bit with a second try. Nope - the second try wasn't quite as cute as the first one (imo) - usually it's the other way around!

  3. Try and cut a 1 1/2" strip (or what ever width you want the border to be) with what you want to border you hem and fold it in half and sew the raw edges to the skirt raw edges and then topstitch the seam allowance to the skirt part. You have a finished edge and something not too bulky. Does this make sense?

  4. BTW...adding a stripe in the skirt will lengthen it when it gets too short. Just cut evenly through the middle or lower section of the skirt and insert a strip the width you need to the length you want.

  5. I really like the contrast of the black at the bottom of the skirt! I have used quilt binding before- on my Easter skirt in 2010- it was an a-line and the fabric was a heavy cotton, and on Halley Sunrise dress last year. It worked OK on mine as it had a stiff drape to begin with. Halley's was actually only 1/4" wide. It was a pain to sew that, thought. I know ikatbag has a tutorial for using a contrast to "hem" a skirt the way Ellen is describing. I do get tired of hemming, so switching it up can be fun!

  6. Good to know about the binding on the edge which would have seemed a great idea to me, too. I recently had a lesser version of this problem when I used regular ribbon instead of hemming tape to lengthen a couple of pairs of jeans. Fortunately, the weight of the jean fabric and the small circumference of the pant leg only make for a slight increase in the stiffness of the fabric.

    Still love that skirt! You have me wondering if the binding would be good of a full circle skirt where one might want that increased waviness.

  7. I thought the hem looked neat, and did not think it caused a problem till I read it. I feel like almost every project is an experiment. I don't know if I have ever made anything without making mistakes ;D

  8. Sometimes an experiment brings the results you hoped and sometimes not but you still learn something regardless!

  9. I love the fabric you used for this skirt! Sometimes some of my best work is the result of winging it as I go. I find it more enjoyable too. I don't know, it just feels more like I'm mixing being crafty with sewing. Sometimes I get "bored" with sewing but the need is still there to fill in the gaps of clothing with 3 growing kids. I shouldn't say I get bored, but the tracing and cutting out bores me and feels like a chore sometimes.. Once I get to the sewing, that is the part I love.

  10. Beautiful!!!! Thanks for the tips. Love the fabric :)

  11. Definitely experiment! And the stiff hem effect could be really useful. Love that fabric too.


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