February 13, 2014 Nifty 50: Beauty and the Beast Inspired Child’s Skirt
Every year Alan tries to do something extra special with the kids. It is a way to treat them, for the girls it is a date out with their dad, and for the boy it is a time to bond over guy things. It can be whatever the kids are interested in, but is meant to be something special that they can remember. This Valentine’s Weekend he is treating the girls to go see Beauty and the Beast Musical. All three of them are very excited, including the 14-year-old.
To help the girls feel a little extra special I decided to make a little outfit for them. After searching around, I came across this darling thing on pintrest from etsy. My little girls are not twins, but 20 months apart. They love to do so much together and to fight at the same time. So not only did I want them to have similar skirts, I knew by making them, I could reverse the materials so they are also individual.
Now I am a real amateur when it comes to sewing, but I like to try things out, so I thought I would make my own easy version of this skirt. It really is easy! Try not to get overwhelmed with all the steps, just trying to make it as clear as I can since I didn’t use a pattern.
To make the skirt you need two contrasting fabrics, 1-inch elastic for the waist, thin fold over elastic (or something similar), ribbon, thread
1. Measure your child both around the waist and for length. You will double the width of the waist, and add about 4 inches for hemming and connecting the pieces together.
2. I find it helpful to write the measurements down. For my girls their waists are about 25″ around and for length I wanted a total of no less than 16″, but if it was a little longer it would be fine. When cutting pieces you will have three, all being 50″ long. (or whatever width is correct for you.) The top piece of the skirt is 9″ wide and the bottom pieces are both about 13″ wide. This will allow for an inch and 1/2 for the waist band and 1/2 hemming the bottom to the top, and about and inch for the bottom hem.
3. I went ahead and also cut out the elastic that I needed. Since the waist was 25″ I cut about 23″ for the waist elastic. With the fold over elastic (for the gathering sections) I stretched them as far as they would go until I got the length of the bottom skirt, which was about 7 inches of elastic not stretched. I cut six of these, but 4 would probably be okay too.
4. With the top part of the skirt, I went ahead and folded and sewed the elastic pocket. Confession time: you should use an iron to get crisp clean lines. I didn’t, and to be honest, it’s because I don’t know where my iron is. For the elastic, I folded over about half and inch (press), and then fold over about another inch. I used the elastic as a guide. Sew this closed, and then set the piece aside.
5. Now for the bottom hem of the two lower skirts. Again, use your iron and fold over about 1/4 to 1/2 inch hem on both pieces.
6. Now to sew the 3 pieces together, lay the bottom of the skirt right side up, then the second layer (that will be gathered) also right side up, and finally lay the top piece, wrong side up, with the waist area down. I don’t usually like to pin, but I did pin the pieces together since there are three layers and I didn’t want them to move. Sew together.
7. When you open up the pieces it should look like the picture above. Now to add the fold over elastic for gathering
8. To place the fold over elastic, I found the middle of the skirt and pinned it on the wrong side of the top layer (which for my skirt is polka dot) near the connecting hem. Then I place one at one end (where the pieces will eventually be connected). This left me with 4 more elastics. I placed two equally between the two halves of the skirt.
This picture shows how the top layer is flipped and where I pinned all 6 of the elastics. Only one end has an elastic on it, because when you connect the ends, it will even out.
9. To attach the fold over elastic, first make certain that you are ONLY sewing on the gathered layer. Place a few stitches to hold the elastic in place (go forward, reverse, forward), then make sure the needle is down in the fabric
10. Pull the elastic as far as it will go, then proceed to attaching the elastic. I found that I had to gently guide the fabric in the back, since I was pulling it from the front. (I can’t show you this, because I was using both my hands and lacked a third to hold the camera) Repeat for all 6 elastics.
This is to remind you to pay attention! I was careless and let my fabric bunch up. Fortunately I only had to rip out the bottom part, and then was back on track. *sigh However, I made two of these skirts, and this only happened once.
Okay, breathe. We are almost done. Yay!
11. Now to piece the skirt together. Start with the gathered top layer. Place wrong sides together, and place a few stitches to hold, like when you attached the elastic. Sew close to the elastic as you can.
12. Pull the two together and sew, as you did before, making sure that they match up, again as close to the elastic as you can.
13. With the right sides together sew up the “under” part of the skirt, making sure not to sew the gathered skirt to it. Sorry I forgot to take a picture.
14. When you turn the skirt, right side out, it is nearly done. So cute!
15. As a final touch, I added little red bows. I safety pinned mine to the back so I can remove them in the wash, but they can also be sewn into place.
I also made the girls a reversible headband with some of the scraps. Here is the link to that tutorial.