Liza Greis

Do-it-yourself projects and Home Decor

Skirt Tutorial: By Tammy

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I really love the versatility of skirts so today I will share one more fun and easy skirt with you along with some hints about professional techniques when sewing clothing. This skirt has it all—easy, gathered, lined, twirly, and (best of all) it has a cute border!) It’s the not-so-basic basic skirt!
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This skirt is similar to the basic, lined skirt I shared last time so please refer to that tutorial (here) for detailed instructions regarding size information and the general instructions. This one moves a little faster, assuming you have the basic details down, and the sequence is a little different than the last one—I think it makes more sense!

Border Tutorial
Materials
skirt fabric (100% cotton)
border fabric
skirt lining fabric (cotton/poly blend—broadcloth works well)
coordinating thread
3/4 inch elastic
large safety pin

Instructions
Cut out waistband, two skirt pieces, 2 border pieces and 2 lining pieces
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Length and Width of Fabric Pieces for Skirt and Lining
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I need to clarify length and width issues with this tutorial. Because of the way the fabric is cut to use the fabric efficiently, this is how I define “length” and “width” which is actually kind of backwards for the actual skirt. Stick with me, though!
Each of these pieces was cut in a strip (from selvedge to selvedge on the fabric) for the width of each piece and then cut smaller along the length to make the right length for each piece.
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This is how my fabric looked when I cut out the waistband and skirt pieces:
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Length and width of the actual skirt would be the opposite, so don’t get confused.
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Determining size for the waistband:
Length = 1 1/4 times actual waist measurement.
Width = approximately 1/4 of the overall length of the skirt plus 2 inches seam and casing allowances.
Determining size for the skirt pieces:
Length = 2 times the actual waist measurement
Width = total skirt length (waist to finished length) minus the waistband width (when sewn) minus desired border width (part that shows– i.e. 2 1/2 inches for mine) plus seam allowances of 1 1/4 inches
Determining size for the lining pieces:
Length = same as skirt piece length
Width = same as skirt piece width minus 1 inch
Determining size for the border pieces:
Length = same as skirt piece length
Width = desired width of border (2 1/2 inches for me) times 2 plus 1 1/4 inches for seam allowances.
**Sew with a 5/8 inch seam allowance unless otherwise stated.**
Sew Skirt Lining
With right sides together (RST), sew lining pieces together at sides. Press flat.
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Hem lining by turning up 1/4 inch and pressing flat. Turn up another 1/2 inch and press flat.
Stitch in place near edge.
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Sew Skirt
With RST, sew the skirt pieces together at sides. Press seams flat.
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Sew Border Section
With RST, sew the border pieces together at sides. Press seams flat.
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Fold border in half lengthwise, matching raw edges and press.
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Attach Border
Sew border section to right side of skirt section keeping the raw edges and seams lined up.
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Press seam flat with seam allowance laying towards the top of the skirt. Topstitch close to seam.
Press along seam another time.
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**PROFESSIONAL QUALITY HINT**
I have seen a growing trend in tutorials to sew borders (and ruffles) onto the skirt section first—before the side seams are sewn. I also see this a lot when making armholes for sleeveless dresses and shirts. This makes sewing your clothing much easier because you are attaching borders and ruffles (or turning in hems on curves) when everything is flat. Then, you go back and sew the side seam(s) all at once and everything lines up perfectly. This would work, except…it looks so awful. I urge you to take the time to make your clothing look great. The extra time pays off! Besides, after spending the time to make a handmade item, why would you skip steps that shave off just a few minutes and a lot of professionalism?
I made an example using a very small piece of fabric so you can clearly see the problem. I’m borderline stingy with fabric so this looks like a skirt/border for a small snake. Just use your imagination. This is how the skirt/border would look if you sewed the border first and sides seams last. Notice how your seam allowance is wagging around and possible visible. Eww!
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Even worse when I serged it—one, because it was thicker the serger “pushed” it and the seam is definitely visible, and, two, there is no way to backstitch with the serger so you would have to tie off the end. Possible, but still not pretty and a waste of time since it can be avoided by doing it more professionally in the first place!
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Join and Gather Skirt and Lining Sections
Place wrong sides together on skirt and lining sections.
Gather through both pieces. Go HERE for more details on gathering.
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Sew Waistband
With RST, sew the short ends of the waistband together. Press seam flat.
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Make a casing for the elastic. Fold over 1/4 inch and press in place.
Fold over again, 1 inch, and press in place.
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Flatten the waistband piece with the side seam along one side. Fold in half again and use a pin to mark this halfway point. It will mark the center of the back of the skirt.
Sew in place close to the edge leaving a 2 inch opening around the center back.
The opening is for inserting the elastic.
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Sew Waistband to Skirt Section
Insert skirt into waistband with RST.
Match side seams and pin in place, adjusting gathers so they are evenly spaced along waistband.
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Sew waistband to skirt.
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Turn right side out and press seam with seam allowance laying towards top of skirt.
Topstitch along seam line. Press again.
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Insert Elastic
Insert 3/4 inch elastic into casing and sew casing closed. The length of the elastic should be smaller than the actual waist measurement. There are a lot of different ideas about how long it should be, but I typically use the waist measurement minus 3 or 4 inches and it seems to work pretty well. If it is too big, make sure you wash the skirt once or twice before you tighten the elastic—it definitely stretches when you are inserting it into the casing.
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And…it’s done!

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I won’t lie—I am totally in love with this one!
I let my daughter choose the fabrics. She picked the polka dot fabric and I told her I wanted to put a border on the bottom. She had no clue what I was talking about so I asked her to pick another fabric to go with it. She picked the floral and I was ecstatic because the fabrics actually matched! If I was choosing, I would have made the floral the skirt and the polka dot the border, but I actually love the way it turned out! Shows what I know, huh?
I also love the lining.
A lot of skirts aren’t lined, but it is so easy to add a lining and it makes a huge difference in the quality—and when it is windy! {wink!}Border 22
This skirt is perfect for playing and posing–or not posing when you are supposed to be posing!
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If you have any problems or questions (or compliments!), please feel free to hop on over HERE and let me know.
Or, email me at  [email protected].

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  1. Jennifer Rodriguez says

    I love this! I'm going to have to make coordinating set for me & my two girls.. Thanks for the tutorial!

  2. Nancy's Couture says

    I am soooo glad to hear you talk about the professionalism of sewing a garment. I recently sewed a dress using a pattern I won from a popular PDF pattern blog/pattern maker and they did just that. They told you to sew the border on each skirt piece and then the side seams. REALLY????? Of course I didn't do that. It really saddens me to see short cuts taken like that, that make things look homemade and not handmade.
    I love this skirt and I know my daughter will too! Thanks for another wonderful tutorial!!!!