Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Uber-Simple No-Pattern Skirt

Every now and then I'm digging through my fabric stock and I come across a beautiful piece I had no idea I owned. I recently found a gorgeous bit of stretch damask (or mock damask or something) in a fantastic shade of purpose. So I decided to turn it into tidy little skirt. No pattern. No fuss. No tears. Come along for the ride!

You will need:

Fabric (measure around your hips, then measure from your waist to however long you want the skirt. Add six inches to each measurement. This is the length and width of how much fabric you need)
A zipper
Thread
Bias tape
Lining fabric (optional)

First off I found a skirt that fit me about the way I wanted my new skirt to fit. 
I then used the existing skirt to get the size and shape of the panels for the new skirt. I'd decided I wanted to use six panels, with a side zipper.
To make a fitted skirt, you have to go in by the waist, out around the hips in the back (but not so much in the front), and then taper the bottom slightly to pull in again. In a longer skirt you wouldn't need to taper the bottom, but for a short skirt it's necessary to get the right shape.
Because the front and back look nearly identical, I put a safety pin in the front panel. this will serve as my marker to keep the sides straight until I get the zipper in.
After sewing the sides, I try on the skirt to see how well it fits. The bottoms need some more tapering in, so I mark the seams with my tailor's wax and take them in.
Ideally I would have cut identical panels out of lining fabric and attached the lining at this point. However I didn't have any workable lining in my possession, so I had to skip that step.

Also at this point I realized that to make as deep a hem as I needed without making the skirt too short, I was going to need to employ bias tape.
I also used bias tape for the waistband. Waistbands always need a separate piece set in (unless you're using elastic) to keep the fabric from stretching out.
I then inserted a zipper, with a covering placket. The zipper is one of those I salvaged from my purse back in February.
At this point I could consider the skirt done. However I had one final set of details I wanted to add...
Belt loops! Belted skirts are all the range this year and I don't own any with good loops. They weren't that hard to make, just a wee bit fussy.
I sewed them down with three seams, once on the bottom as shown below:
Then folded the loop over in place and secured both top and bottom with topstiching.
I can now wear the skirt with a belt like this:
Or this:
Or on it's own.
This is a very easily adapted pattern. You could make the skirt longer, add flairs on the bottom, incorporate trim, or make the panels of contrasting colors. The sky is the limit!

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