A gathered skirt is one of the easiest garments to whip up, making it an ideal project if you are new to sewing. It's all straight line stitching, with the addition of some elastic. Today's tutorial will step you through the process of sewing a knee length gathered skirt with the all important twirl factor.
You don't need a pattern for a simple, gathered skirt. All you need are some measurements. I'll show you how to work out your own measurements, as well as providing measurements in case the child you are sewing for is not on hand.
Take two measurements...
- waist measurement
- waist to knee measurement
- ¾" (2cm) elastic
Cut fabricLength of skirt = waist to knee measurement + 3" (8cm)
Width of skirt = waist measurement x 2, or for a fuller skirt - x 2½. The skirt pictured is 2½ x waist measurement.
If fabric is wide enough, cut 1 rectangle according to the measurements above.
If the fabric is not wide enough to cut the width of the skirt in one piece, divide the measurement by 2, and cut 2 pieces, adding seam allowances.
Seam/sIf you have one rectangle of fabric, you will have one seam at the back. If you have two rectangles of fabric, you will have two side seams.
- Fold fabric in half with right sides together (for 1 rectangle) OR
- Place 2 pieces right sides together (for 2 rectangles)
- Sew the seam/s, stitching ⅜" (1cm) from the edge along the short sides / back.
- Neaten seam/s with an overlocker (serger) or a zigzag stitch.
Casing for the elastic
- Fold over ¼"
- Fold over 1½" (4cm)
- Baste (hand sew with a long stitch) if you need to hold the hem in place.
- Stitch close to the hem of the casing - ⅛" (3mm), leaving a 2" (5cm) opening in the middle of the back.
- Sew a second line of stitching ⅜" (1cm) from the top edge of the skirt.
Length of elastic = waist measurement minus 1½" (4cm) to 2" (5cm). It all depends on the stretch of the elastic. Try the elastic around the waist of the child and see what length feels comfortable.
- Attach a safety pin to the end of the elastic.
- Feed the elastic into the casing through the back opening. Leave the other end sticking out of the opening.
- Remove the safety pin.
- Hold the elastic with a wonder clip or hand baste one side of the elastic.
- Stitch the ends together with a zig zag stitch. Overlap ends about ½" (1.5cm)
- Push the elastic into the casing.
- Spread out the elastic so it is evenly spaced, with the elastic join at the centre back seam.
Stop the elastic from twisting
- Sew through the elastic and casing at the back seam and/or side seams (stitch in the ditch). This will prevent the elastic from twisting.
See Stop Waistband Elastic from Twisting for better photos.
Close the back opening
- Stitch the back opening closed.
- Turn under ¼" (6mm) and press.
- Turn again 1" (2.5cm).
- Baste (hand sew) to hold in place and/or press
If you don't know the measurements for the person who will be wearing the skirt, the following measurements may help. They will produce a reasonably full skirt that is 2½ times the waist measurement, as per the photos.
Child's waist measurement = 20" (50cm)
Child's waist to knee measurement = 12½" (32cm)
Cut 2 pieces of fabric 15½" x 26" (39cm x 66cm)
Cut 1 piece of ¾" (2cm) elastic x 18" (46cm)
Child's waist measurement = 20½" (52cm)
Child's waist to knee measurement = 13½" (34cm)
Cut 2 pieces of fabric 16½" x 27" (42cm x 69cm)
Cut 1 piece of ¾" (2cm) elastic x 18½" (47cm)
Child's waist measurement = 21" (53cm)
Child's waist to knee measurement = 14" (36cm)
Cut 2 pieces of fabric 17" x 27" (43cm x 69cm)
Cut 1 piece of ¾" (2cm) elastic x 19" (48cm)
Child's waist measurement = 22" (56cm)
Child's waist to knee measurement = 15" (38cm)
Cut 2 pieces of fabric 18" x 29" (46cm x 74cm)
Cut 1 piece of ¾" (2cm) elastic x 20" (51cm)
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Even if you have been sewing for years, it can still be extremely satisfying to whip up a simple project. There are some days when an easy make is called for - sewing without too much thinking.
What's your go to project when you have the need to finish something in one go?