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Sew a skirt with Sew To Speak in Columbus, Ohio
I love simple, quick sewing projects that produce a big effect. This season I have been playing with gathered skirts using elastic that is exposed. Pictured below is Aelyn, my granddaughter in one that took about an hour to sew.
WARNING... This skirt will generate holiday enthusiasm. As soon as Aelyn got the skirt on, she started to rattle off her Christmas wish list. I snapped her picture as she was on item 99 of her list... my Little Pony something rather. But she did like the skirt!

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  • How to sew a pleated skirt. The Sparkle Skirt - Step 1
    Step 1

    Measuring and Cutting...
    1 Measure your model's length. Measure from where the skirt
    will be worn on the model (waist or hips) to the finished length. Now double this number and add 4 inches. Example... my model's measured length is 13 inches. So I need 30 inches of fabric (13 x 2 and add 4 inches), basicly a yard.
    2 Measure the waist (or hips). Get an exact measurement
    at where the skirt will be worn and then cut the elastic that length. The elastic tends to grow when you sew it but we will
    make up for that by over lapping the band an inch when we
    sew it together.
    3 Cut the fabric into two pieces from selvage to selvage. See the
    below diagram that Sam drew for us. You will have two wide narrow pieces. The back and front are the same size. For my model these were 15" x 44". Cut off 1/2 inch (the selvage) on all short sides of the fabric.

  • How to sew a pleated skirt. The Sparkle Skirt - Step 2
    Step 2


    Sew the short ends ( selvage ends) of the fabric together, right sides together. You will make a large tube, about 82 or 83 inches total. This amount doesn't need to be exact. When sewing the sides, you can sew it right sides together and finish the seam with a zig zag stitch or serge the seam if you have a serger. I really like my Juki M0-1000. It serges and trims in one step.
    Finish the top of the skirt with a zig zag stitch or serger (the top and bottom are the same, so you can decide which to make the top and which is the hem). Remember to pay attention to directional fabrics. You don't want your foxes upside down.
    Sew a row of basting stitches 1/4 inch from the top of the skirt, on the front. Stop at the side seam and then start up again at the back. The back and front are gathered separately because it is easier to get all that fabric bunched in two parts.
    Sew a second row of basting stitches 1/8 inch below the first row of basting.

    Remember to adjust the stitch length to its highest setting for your basting stitches and then turn it back for hemming your skirt.

  • How to sew a pleated skirt. The Sparkle Skirt - Step 3
    Step 3

    Making the band...

    Sew the waist band into a circle. Over lap it on itself 1 inch
    and sew it at the cut edge. I use a zig zag stitch and it hardly shows on this textured gold band. I like to sew both cut edges of the elastic. Some elastic waist skirts use the technique of stretching and pulling the elastic as you sew it onto the skirt. I don't like this because I think it turns out messy and I usually break needles. So I gather the skirt and then sew it onto the elastic with a zig zag. Much nicer finished product and very worth the little effort.

  • How to sew a pleated skirt. The Sparkle Skirt - Step 4
    Step 4

    Divide your waist band into 4 equal parts and place pins for markings. (Pin at back, center front and sides).

  • How to sew a pleated skirt. The Sparkle Skirt - Step 5
    Step 5

    Attaching the band...

    1. On the fabric, grab both tails of basting threads on the wrong side of your skirt. Pull the tails and slide the fabric until it gathers up enough to fit the waist band.

  • How to sew a pleated skirt. The Sparkle Skirt - Step 6
    Step 6

    2. Now divide the gathered part of the skirt into 4 equal parts. Pulling the gathering threads to make the fullness even all around.
    3. Match the fabric and the elastic waist band up. It takes a lot of adjusting to get the fabric evenly dispersed and sized to fit the band. Place the gathered skirt into the elastic band. Let the elastic band just hide the basting stitches. And pin that baby like crazy. I like the pins on the outside so that I can see them when I sew.
    4. Sew the elastic waist to the skirt with a zig zag stitch. I sew on the outside of the elastic so that I can get the stitches even.

  • How to sew a pleated skirt. The Sparkle Skirt - Step 7
    Step 7

    The last step...
    Hem your skirt. Turn under to the wrong side, the bottom edge, 1/2 inch and press with your iron. And then turn it under again another 1/2 inch. Top stitch the hem and you are done!!
    This skirt works great for bigger girls too!

    Here is April's made in her very own Bound Fabric.

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joyce s.
joyce s. · Crescent City, California, US · 1 project
very nice

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