Friday 10 August 2018

Why a Skirt is a Good Beginner Project...

or When a Project Doesn't Go to Plan

Why is a simple gathered skirt a good project for a beginner? It's all straight line sewing, with the addition of some elastic. You can't go wrong - or can you?

Well... it turns out, you can!!! 

I thought I'd update my gathered skirt tutorial, and add some measurements for larger sizes. Nothing complicated or involved - just a little Maths.

However, when Little Miss tried on the skirt made to her measurements, it was way too short!!! 3" too short, to be exact. 

Back in the 60s and 70s, no one would have thought anything about a skirt of this length for a child. Now-a-days, it's definitely on the short side.

Our problem didn't remain a problem for long, though. It was easily fixed with a pair of matching leggings.

And that's why gathered skirts are so versatile for children. The length isn't super critical, nor is the width. Elastic is stretchy, so you have some leeway there. And, as you can see, if you make the skirt too short, just add leggings or shorts to finish off the outfit. And, if you make it longer than you want, take up the hem, or let them wear it long.

All up, I've made six skirts - yep, all 3" shorter than I wanted. After I buy matching leggings or shorts, they'll be making their way to the Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal controlled community-based organisation, which works with families in remote Central Australian Aboriginal communities.

Each year I join in with the girls at Simple Simon and Company for Skirting the Issue. I have one more skirt cut out, so my contribution this year will be seven skirts, one blanket and three pillowcases, to hopefully bring a smile to the faces of some little girls living in remote areas of Central Australia.

So, how did I get the measurements wrong and make these skirts shorter than intended? After checking, and rechecking the measurements I'd written down, that's not where the problem lay. When cutting out the skirts and looking over my notes, I cut them to the finished length, mis-reading my scribbled notes.

I'll be more careful next time!!! In the near future, I'll make up some more skirts, and the gathered skirt tutorial will cater to more sizes.

Have you ever mis-read a pattern or tutorial? What were the results?

... Pam


  1. I've done exactly that, although luckily not on clothing. That's why I've actually said that while it's all well and good to say "measure twice and cut once", sometimes it's a matter of "read five times before cutting". (And not thinking that I already know what I'm doing!) Truth be told, everyone — including some well known pattern testers — have done exactly that, so congrats on being in good company, Pam! And further congrats for the social good that you're doing with these projects.

  2. I have also been guilty of the same thing, cutting the finished size, forgetting to add hem and seam allowances! Whoops! At least it gives us a good exercise in creative problem solving! :) Lisa

  3. Easily done but as you say.. the leggings came to the rescue and I love the look. My faux pas was to lay front and back pattern pieces in opposite directions on dark green needlecord fabric. I was only about 14 at the time but it was an expensive mistake as the nap in opposite directions made the front look a different shade to the back of course! As grandma always said - measure twice and cut once!!! x Jo

  4. My little daughter likes what you share, but it seems too difficult for me. Hahaha

  5. I have messed up plenty of times! That is really frustrating, but the leggings will be a perfect addition to the outfits and make them more versatile. My girls usually wear what we call "bike shorts" or "spandex" under their skirts to keep their undies from showing as they play anyway.


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