Friday, April 13, 2012

How To Make A Skirt Without A Pattern

My new skirt!*

*On the blue-green skirt I added a darker blue fabric to the bottom for the hem.

I was getting the spring thrills. Excitement was egging me on to work faster and faster. I was so happy about this cute little skirt I was making...a summer skirt out of fabric I've been wanting to wear for years and I finally just made it.  My sister had a dress out of it when she was five and I wore it next.  It has memories.

When you find out how simple/easy/quick it is to make, you can turn them out like hotcakes.  It is really exciting!  I made this first skirt out of sail boats at a slower pace, but the next one only took me about three to four hours, start to finish.

I put a pocket in the second one. I just love pockets!

Making a skirt without a pattern is quite simple, believe it or not.  Really all you need is measurements and fabric.  I started thinking about how I could make a skirt without a pattern when I was making colonial petticoats for reenacting(they don't require patterns).  Simple. It turns out so cute.

So here's how to make a custom skirt that fits you (with photo tutorial):
You need fabric that is at least twice as wide as your waist measurement.
  1. Fold your fabric edge to edge and fold in half again making a long folded rectangle. Make sure it is even. 
  2. Measure your waist.  Write down that measurement. Measure from your waist to your desired length (mine was right above the knee). Add in the desired hem length  and seam allowance to the measurement.  Write that down.
  3. Cut off a large strip for the waist band ( I cut off 5 inches. When it was sewn onto the skirt it was a 2 inch waist band.)
  4. Measure down and cut the length that you found in step 2. (Don't forget the seam allowances and hem width!).
  5. Now you should have a large rectangle.  Sew the open side with right sides together, leaving about 6 inches at the top for placket. Flip to the right side.
  6. Pleat the top of the skirt.  I did a 2 inch box pleat in the front (and back) and worked out to the sides. Keep pleating until front and back each measure half the length of your waist (I have a 32 inch waist so the front was pleated 16 inches as was the back.  That was 8 inches a quarter).  The back pleat is best done inverted.  Don't get discouraged by the pleats.  They always take time to push and shove around.
  7. Lay your waist band strip right sides together with the pleated skirt, leaving a seam allowance sticking out past the selvage on the side back piece of the waistband and about an inch on the side front piece of the waistband.  Sew along the seam line at the top of the skirt. 
  8. Fold the long, unattached side of the waistband to the wrong side 1/4 inch and iron down.  Fold waistband with right sides together, sew along the short sides, and flip back to the right sides.  
  9. Handstitch the folded edge to the inside of the waistband..
  10. On the inside, fold the bottom up about 1/2-1/4 inch and then up again (I had a 4 inch hem). Sew along the top of the fold by hand or on the machine.  
  11. Here you can get creative.  For your placket you can put in a zipper, snaps, hooks, buttons, etc.  Have fun with it!
If this was at all confusing, feel free to ask questions and I will do my best to answer them. I am more than happy to help.  If you don't have a sewing machine, you can do it by hand.  Sewing isn't hard or intimidating.  Just go in and out :).  This would be a great first project! The pictures hopefully make things so much more clear.

Even out edge before cutting.


Cut off the top few inches for a waist band.

Sew up the large skirt piece right sides together. 

Leave 6 inches (or so) for placket.

Center front pleat.

Stitch down the pleats so they don't move. (optional)

Measure to see if they are at the proper length.

Sew the waistband on right sides together with the skirt top.

Sew the waistband edge right sides together.

*Hem stitch down inside of waistband so the stitching is unseen on front. (You can top stitch it on the machine if you'd rather.)

Iron down hem. Sew. (I ran out of fabric so I needed to add a piece of white to give me a large hem.)

YAY! You made a skirt.  Don't you feel accomplished?  It is easy, and in a few hours you have a new skirt for your wardrobe.