Some things are just out of my realm. Show me a purse, and I can usually figure out a way to make it, or at least something similar. Tortilla warmers, bibs, mug-rugs, oven mitts? No problem. Even aprons are within my Hmm…I think I can do this realm. But clothing?? Nah. Not without a pattern and a clear set of instructions.
I seem to have an issue with making clothes, especially for myself. I haven’t done that since high school Home Ec!! But, after reading a whole bunch of It’s easy, you can do it clothing tutorials on allfreesewing.com, I finally decided it was time to stop skirting the issue. So I made a skirt – with issues. OK, so it looks homemade. I can live with that.
Several of the tutorials were about making simple elastic-waist skirts, so I thought, “Hey, maybe it IS so easy I can do it. I’ll give it a try.” Naturally, I had (count ’em!) none of said tutorials in front of me when I embarked on this adventure, so I did it purely from memory and makeup. I remembered a few of the pointers, and I made up others as I went. Not bad for a first try in ____ years, eh? Here’s my attempt at my own It’s easy, you can do it tutorial. If you can make a skirt using this, I will be very, very happy. If you can’t . . . well . . . reckon I’d better get busy and do a better job on the next one.
First thing was to figure out how big it had to be. I wanted the skirt to be loose fitting, so I measured the biggest part of me (not my mouth!) and added about 16 inches. For the length, I wanted it to come just below the knee. Anything longer than that makes me look about 2 feet tall and 4 feet wide. I don’t like being a 2X4.
I added 3 1/2 inches to the length, to allow for the hem and the elastic casing. That meant I needed a piece 60X26. I marked the measurements on my fabric and cut one large rectangle. That meant I only had to do one side seam, making the rectangle into a tube. I had intended to use a 1/2-inch seam allowance, but ended up at 1/4-inch. So to fix that and try to avoid fraying, I ironed it open and stitched up each side of the seam at 1/8-inch. Next was the hem. I folded it under 1/2-inch and ironed it down. I sewed that down and turned it under again at 5/8 inch, sewing about 1/2 inch in from the fold. That gave a nice clean finish.
On to the casing! I measured 1/4-inch from the top, ironed that down, and folded it again at 2 1/4 inches for the 2-inch elastic. I sewed that down about 1/8-inch from the edge (I just noticed I said 1/4-inch on the picture. Wrong! It’s 1/8 inch), leaving about 2 1/4 inches open to feed the elastic through.
Using a safety pin to feed the elastic was a big help. Many of those tutorials had suggested this step, but I did it because that’s how my mother used to do it. She could make anything! I inherited many of her traits, including her ability to use a safety pin for feeding elastic. I also inherited her wisdom in pinning the other side of the elastic down so it didn’t feed right on through before its time.
After I got all the elastic fed through, and the two ends pinned together, I sewed them with a zig-zag stitch and eased the sewn part into the opening. Then I sewed that opening closed, making sure I had the elastic out of the way. After that, I evened out the gathers and paraded around the sewing room in my brand new skirt.
Here’s the finished product. I haven’t ventured into the great outdoors clad in my fancy new duds yet, but I will. I will.