November 19, 2010

Pillowcase Twirly Skirt

This is the skirt that I'm starting my little sewing girls on. It's simple and sweet and requires no pattern. I'm all for learning how to read a pattern, but first I want them to be excited about sewing, so I thought this instant gratification skirt would be a good choice. Most of the girls were 90% finished before they left with a few needing a teeny bit more work to get to that point, but not much, so you know it's simple. In fact, this took me 12 minutes to make. Really, and that was with Evelyn floating around "helping" me. So if you can turn on your sewing machine and sew a straight(ish - I'm not picky ) line, this will be easy-peasy. Promise.
If you would like to make one of these for your little girl/tween/grownup who likes fun skirts in your life, you'll need three things.

First, a pillowcase. You know, one of the ones you have in your closet but never ever use because they don't really go with anything but you found them on sale.

1/8 yard of fun quilting cotton

1 yard of elastic

Oh, and a sewing machine. And a scrap of ribbon, but only if you want.

Now to make the skirt -
Decide how long you want the skirt. You'll be adding a 1 1/2 inch long waist band so take that into account when you decide on a your measurements. Now lay the pillow out on a flat surface and measure up from the open end of the case. Cut across so that the piece you have is about as long as you want the skirt. Set the top half aside, you don't need it now, but since it's pretty, you might use it for something else later, right? (OK, maybe you're not a craft hoarder like me, in that case, use it as a rag).

Cut a piece of light weight cotton fabric 2 inches longer than the pillowcase is around and 4 1/2 inches wide. I'll give you a little hint, if you go to the fabric store and have them cut 1/8 a yard of fabric you'll have just about the perfect piece for this, only minimal trimming needed.

Iron in the ends of that piece of fabric in about 1/2 inch each (wrong side facing up) and then fold over the edges. all the way down, also 1/2 inch. Now fold it in half and iron again. Guess what? You just made custom bias tape. I didn't tell you you'd be doing that because you might have panicked, but see, how long did that take? Two minutes? See, you're a sewing genius!
(** Edited to add, ok, not bias tape, I meant binding, but it's folded like bias tape, you know what I mean :))
Pin this bias tape around the cut edge of the pillowcase, sandwhiching the pillowcase fabric between the two layers of the bias tape. Let the ends overlap, this is where you'll slip the elastic in. You can either have this join in the front or the back or even on the side. I like the front. It makes it look like a drawstring waist.

Pop it in your sewing machine and sew 1/4 inch up from the edge of the bias tape all the way, overlapping you're stitches when you reach your starting point to lock them in. Do the same thing 1/4 inch down from the top edge.
Now, pin a safety pin onto one end of the elastic and start feeding it through that slit in the waist band. The safety pin just makes it easier. You can also use a darning needle for this. Work it through, scrunching and pulling, until you come out the other end. Now pull it tight so that it is just slightly smaller around than the waist of your skirt wearer and sew across the two layers of elastic a few times. Trim off the threads and pull out so that the elastic slips into the waist band.
Even out the elastic so that the bunching is about the same all the way around and, if you want, sew a 5 inch piece of ribbon onto the front and tie in a knot, this will make it look even more like a drawstring skirt. And you're done. No, you're done. Easy, right? I know, makes you want to raid the linen closet for more, doesn't it? Happy Sewing!