09 June 2014

A tutorial for a two-layer toddler skirt

I have a little granddaughter who, unfortunately, lives almost 2,000 miles away. So, while I love to sew for her, it's almost impossible to make anything more complicated than skirts (or little pants when she was still a baby), anything that has to fit well. Skirts are easy, they only have to fit in the waist and be the right length.
I have been making several little skirts for her lately, since it's getting warmer and, remembering mow much my daughter liked skirts when she was small, I thought her daughter might like them, too.

This is my first tutorial, so be gentle. There probably is room for improvement, since I am so new at this. I tried to find a decent balance between enough and not too many pictures of the process as I went along, and I am not sure I found it. So, if you have questions, please ask and I'll see what I can do.

This will be a tutorial for a two-layer skirt for a little girl (it can obviously be adjusted to fit a bigger girl, as well). The measurements depend completely on the child who will be wearing this skirt, so there is measuring to be done.

I will be using the measurements I used to make skirts for my little granddaughter who is 14 months old at this time. But, please, please, measure your own child or grandchild to get the proper measurements for your skirt.
Conventional wisdom says to make the width twice the waist size and that's a good way to go. I tend to go just a little narrower, that's just personal preference.
The waist size I am using is about 20" and the length is 8" or slightly longer. These are finished measurements.


2 fabrics, 1/2 yard is plenty
elastic, I used 3/4" wide
lace, at least 3 feet
1" masking tape
sewing machine
serger, if you have one to finish off raw edges. I don't own one, so it's zig-zags for me.
cutting mat
rotary cutter
ruler, pins, large safety pin (for inserting elastic)

Cut out your fabrics to the desired length. The lengths I used are:
9.5" for the longer layer, 7.5" for the shorter layer.
The width of the skirt in this case is completely dependent on the length of the lace I am using, I believe it is 3 feet. I cut across the entire width of the fabric and cut down to size after sewing on the lace.

Zig-zag along the bottom edges of both fabrics. If using a directional fabric, make sure the fabric is going in the right direction.

Pin the lace to the bottom edge of the shorter of the two fabrics, right sides together (my lace happens to have a right and a wrong side, very subtle, but it's there). Sew with a 1/4" seam. 
Carefully press the seam allowance to the inside (sometimes, the lace does not hold up to the same temperature as the fabric, don't want to scorch it at this point), pin or just hold in place and top stitch 1/8" from the fabric edge.
On the longer layer of the skirt turn the zig-zagged edge under a 1/4" (either measure or eyeball) and stitch.

Side seam:
As I said before, the width of the skirt depends very much on the amount of lace, so eyeball until the lace is actually attached to the fabric before trimming it to size.

Try to match up the lace - if necessary. Mine has scallops, so it's fairly easy. Trim fabric to match the length of lace, stitch the side seam with a 1/2" seam allowance. Zig-zag the edges, press the seam open and top stitch the seam allowances down.

The sideseam on the inside, stitched down.

The sideseam on the outside.

The above picture is in the interest of full disclosure, to show that my lace almost matched up perfectly. 

Sew the side seam for the layer without lace the same way - 1/2" seam allowance, zig-zags along the raw edges etc. etc.

Note here: if I wasn't using lace, I'd not only use a different method for the side seam (that will come in the next tutorial), but I'd also sew up the side seam first, and then hem the skirt. You can, of course, do that for the layer without lace. The reason I did is this way is because I had to measure my lace and use the appropriate amounts of fabric for the skirt. And I find that lace slips a bit until it is completely stitched down, so that's why I did it this way.
This is where it gets interesting and it's also where one needs to pay a little attention. I still hold my breath every time I do this step, but, really, it's not difficult.

You are now dealing with two tubes of fabric: the longer/lower/inside layer and the shorter/upper/outside layer with the lace along the bottom.
Slip the shorter layer tube inside the longer layer tube with the right side of the shorter layer facing the wrong side of the longer layer (or, in other words, the right sides of both fabrics facing up).
I folded the longer layer onto itself, so you could see the shorter layer inside.

 Pin the top edges together and sew with a 1/4" seam (you could, of course, zig-zag the raw edge or serge it, but it's not necessary because it'll end up on the inside where nobody will ever see it).

At this point, I take everything to the ironing board, flip the shorter layer up, and press the entire seam allowance towards it.

I then fold the shorter, outer layer down over the longer layer, pin along the upper edge and topstitch 1/8" from the upper edge.

Since I don't like to measure and mark, I have started using masking tape to determine where the second stitching line will be. One inch masking tape is perfect for 3/4" elastic, if you are using elastic of a different width, you'll have to experiment a bit to find the correct one (or just measure and mark).
Apply the tape right along the topstitching line and sew along the bottom line of the tape, making sure to a) leave an opening large enough to insert your elastic and b) topstitch at both ends.
Tape applied to top stitching line.
Sew along the bottom edge of the tape.
Both lines stitched, tape being peeled away.

Now insert your elastic, sew the ends together, sew up the opening you left for inserting your elastic and you're done.

And this is what the finished casing looks like with the elastic inserted.

 Voilà, a little skirt for a toddler girl.

As I said above, this is my first tutorial, so if anything is unclear, please let me know. 
If you make a skirt from this tutorial, I'd love to see it. 
You are welcome to use this tutorial to sew skirts and sell them in small quantities (no sweatshop production, please). But, please, give me credit and link back to me.
Please, please, do not print out this tutorial, claim it as your own and sell it. I am a firm believer in karma.

I am linking up with Randi from i have to say for Show 'n Tell Tuesday.


Marcia DeCoster said...

Thank you for this Doris, I have a toddler in mind!

Marcia DeCoster said...

Thank you for this Doris, I have a toddler in mind!

Doris said...

Have fun sewing, Marcia.

Allison said...

adorable little skirt! I like the addition of lace :)