June 29, 2011

Simple Skirt from a Thrifted Sheet


I live in Portland, where the summer so far has been wet and cold. I had a sweater on a couple of days ago and was still cold. However, the weatherman assures me that it will be sunny and warm for at least the next week. So, after sweltering at the farmer’s market this afternoon in jeans, I decided it was time for some new skirts.


This is the first time I made a skirt without a pattern and it is far from perfect. I learned a lot about what not to do.

The fabric is one of the stack of flat sheets I picked up at a thrift store the other day. I think sheets are probably the cheapest way to buy fabric.

I traced a skirt that I already have and like.


See how this skirt is cut on the bias? And the hem curves up on the sides? Mistakes 1 and 2! Find yourself a skirt that is cut parallel to the grain of the fabric and straighten out the bottom because that curve made hemming the new skirt a serious pain.

I added 2” to each side of the pattern for the seam allowance and because the model skirt might be just a tad tight after all of the summertime margaritas I’ve been consuming. I didn’t need to add length for the hem because the model skirt is a little long for me.


I cut out two pieces from the pattern (front and back), making sure the print was straight.


I made a waistband pattern by tracing the curve of the top of the skirt pattern and then adding 3” to it. The waistband piece should look like a smile.


I cut out 4 waistband pieces, making sure the pattern would line up with the skirt.

Then I sewed the two front waistband pieces together along the top curve, right sides together. I turned them right side out, pressed the seam and top stitched it.



I sewed the waistband to the skirt, lining up the curve. Then I pressed the seam and top stitched. I repeated this for the back of the skirt.



Um, yeah, the print only lined up in the middle of the waistband. I realized the print itself is not totally straight. What the heck?

I turned the skirt right sides together and sewed in the zipper. I kind of winged the whole zipper install but Sew Mama Sew has a great tutorial here. Then I sewed the side seams and hemmed the bottom.


A few final notes if you’re thinking of embarking on skirt making without a pattern:

There a kazillion tutorials. Check them out first.

Don’t use a printed fabric until you’ve tried your pattern out on a solid.

Use a skirt with very simple lines to make your pattern from.

If you try making a skirt, let me know in the comments what you found helpful or learned from the process.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice skirt!
    Just a comment on hemming a bias cut garment: To keep the nice little flare, a really narrow hem is best. If you have a serger, use a rolled hem, but be sure to practice on some scraps first. Or,use a narrow zigzag stitch about 1/4 inch from edge. Then, trim the salvage off with scissors next to the zigzag. Use some stabilizer between the garment and the sewing machine. Purchased Sulky, or just a single layer of tissue or a cheap napkin. Tear away when done.