Easy breezy skirt sew along. Day #1: Create your skirt pattern and prep your fabric.

Ready to make your own skirt? Whether you’re a newbie or experienced seamster, this skirt is sure to please. Use hashtag #easybreezydress on your favorite social media outlet to share your progress and boast about the final product. I’m trying pinterest’s “image hover” feature for your pinning purposes. Let me know what you think and whether you prefer the button up top.

Today we’ll just prep the “pattern,” prep the fabric, and make sure you have all your supplies ready. If you want to cut the fabric as soon as you prep it, just wait until tomorrow to do it all.


I mentioned that if your fabric isn’t quite wide enough for what I recommended, there are a few things you can do. You can A) Shorten the skirt, B) Lower where the skirt sits, or C) Get rid of some of the body of the skirt. I’ve written a separate post on how to do each of these three things. You can view it here!


While you prepare your skirt pattern, pre-wash your fabric if you haven’t already. Some flowy fabrics can’t go in the dryer, so be sure to check that before pre-washing. You should wash your fabric exactly as you would wash the skirt in the future.


Get a piece of big paper. The kind stores use to wrap fragile items is ideal, but tissue paper will also work (though it will tear easier), as will newspaper (though you have to watch for it rubbing off on your fabric), as will wrapping paper (though it’s a little thick).


Calculate your total circle radius for your skirt. If you ignored my calculations for purchasing your fabric, that’s ok (except not really because I originally calculated as if we’d have the waist opening for a FULL CIRCLE, oops). You don’t need to worry about the letters (A,B,C,Z). Just look at the length from the middle of the circle to the end. The total circle radius is your desired skirt length (L) plus what’s necessary for your waist and extra for the pleats.

Circle radius=L+[(waist+12)/π].
Easy breezy skirt sew along day 1 | Bobbins of Basil #easybreezyskirt
Your pattern will be the part of the circle in gray.

Add a hem allowance to this number. We’ll do a rolled hem, but we’ll do a fresh trim before hemming, so add 3/4″ to your circle radius. You’ll cut out this much and then trim off about a half inch before hemming.

Make sure your paper is a a square of at least that size. If not, tape multiple pieces of paper together with scotch tape. **NOTE: I cut out my paper pattern before fixing the measurements (I was still assuming a full circle). Don’t pay attention to the actual measurements on my circle based on the measuring tape. I ended up fixing things after cutting out the fabric (mostly by making the skirt much shorter than I had planned)**

Then follow these simple instructions:


Easy breezy skirt sew along day 1 | Bobbins of Basil #easybreezyskirt
Cut your paper to be a perfect square with each side 
length the number you just calculated(circle radius+3/4″). 
Use regular scissors for this.
Easy breezy skirt sew along day 1 | Bobbins of Basil #easybreezyskirt
Fold your square along the diagonal. Decide which point
will be the circle center (it doesn’t matter, just pick one and
mark it somehow).

Easy breezy skirt sew along day 1 | Bobbins of Basil #easybreezyskirt
Measure from that point along the diagonal fold to the same
length you’ve been using (circle radius+3/4″). Make a little
slit with the scissors.
Easy breezy skirt sew along day 1 | Bobbins of Basil #easybreezyskirt
Fold this triangle looking paper in half AGAIN. Again,
measure to the same length (circle radius+3/4″), and
make a little cut. Repeat this one more time.
Easy breezy skirt sew along day 1 | Bobbins of Basil #easybreezyskirt
Open up your folded paper down to just the original fold.
Do your little scissor cuts follow a curve? Mark in between
these slits to fill in the quarter circle. Cut it out.
Easy breezy skirt sew along day 1 | Bobbins of Basil #easybreezyskirt
Unfold. You’ll have a quarter circle with the correct 
radius. Thrilling, isn’t it?
Next, you need another number, which was already part of your original circle radius(waist+12)/π. This number is the inner circle radius. SUBTRACT 5/8″ from this number for seam allowance.

Easy breezy skirt sew along day 1 | Bobbins of Basil #easybreezyskirt
Mark the inner circle radius-5/8″ from the center.
Easy breezy skirt sew along day 1 | Bobbins of Basil #easybreezyskirt
Fold along the diagonal like before, make your slits for the
smaller circle, fold again, etc. Cut out the inner circle.
Ta-da! You have your skirt pattern!

Next, make the pattern for your waistband and bow:

Divide your waist measurement in two: the front and the back. Measure each separately and make sure they add up to your total waist circumference. Add 1/2″ 5/8″ to each measurement. **This assumes your waistband will be at your waist, and that directly below your waist isn’t much better. If you’re wearing the skirt lower (due to fabric width restrictions) or if you’re pregnant/shaped differently, you might have to tweak that 1/2″ there. The 1/2″ extra is to account for ease (a little extra fabric so you can actually move) and also because ~1″ to 1.5″ below your waist is a LITTLE bit wider than at your waist. You might need to add a little more than 1/2″ if your waistband is approaching your approaching your hips that jut out abruptly, etc. You can increase this number as you see fit. It only accounts for a 1/2″ difference TOTAL (all the way around).**

Easy breezy skirt sew along day 1 | Bobbins of Basil #easybreezyskirt
DRAW two rectangles on your paper that are
1.5″x(each new number). Don’t draw right on the edge; you’ll
need that space for seam allowance. Revision: change
1/2″ to 5/8″
Easy breezy skirt sew along day 1 | Bobbins of Basil #easybreezyskirt
Draw a vertical line 1/8″in on each side. **If you increased
your half inch above, you’ll have to increase this 1/8″
by half that amount, too.**
Easy breezy skirt sew along day 1 | Bobbins of Basil #easybreezyskirt
Draw a dot on one corner and a dot on the opposite side at the
vertical line. Connect the dots.  
Easy breezy skirt sew along day 1 | Bobbins of Basil #easybreezyskirt
Measure out 5/8″ all the way around this piece to add a seam
allowance. Cut out these pieces. You should now have the
waistband pieces in paper form.

Next, make the bow pieces.

Easy breezy skirt sew along day 1 | Bobbins of Basil #easybreezyskirt
Draw a rectangle that is 3.75″ tall, with the width equal to your
waist circumference+6.” Fold in half lengthwise.
Easy breezy skirt sew along day 1 | Bobbins of Basil #easybreezyskirt
Mark 2″ from one side.
Easy breezy skirt sew along day 1 | Bobbins of Basil #easybreezyskirt
Connect the corners; cut along this line.
Easy breezy skirt sew along day 1 | Bobbins of Basil #easybreezyskirt
Open up your bow piece! There will be one on each side.
We’ll shorten one side to make it sit off to the side on
your waist.
Now you have a pattern! Don’t worry about the pleats on the skirt pieces. We’ll build them in when we get to that part. 

Since I’ve already posted a pretty comprehensive sew-along, I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here. I’ll reference previous posts for some beginner skills like fabric prep, etc.

Is your fabric washed and dried yet? Press it flat with your iron. Use the iron settings recommended for the type of fabric you have; a quick google search can help you out. When in doubt, start with low heat and work up on a small area of the fabric to make sure you don’t ruin it.

Next, find the grainline and the crossgrain. These terms have to do with the direction the threads go in the fabric. Are these words foreign to you? Visit the first days of the Coffee Date Dress sew-along for a detailed description and useful links for preparing your fabric. If your grain is skewed, there are instructions to fix it. This is especially important for a flowy skirt, since the direction of the fabric controls how the skirt will fall.

Ok, your fabric is ready, your “pattern” is ready… and I might have lied a little bit. We’ll wait until tomorrow to cut the actual fabric itself. I find the pattern prep and fabric prep always takes longer than I anticipate, and the pattern prep is where the most mistakes happen. Sleep on it and double check your pattern tomorrow, when we’ll cut out the fabric.

To prepare, make sure you have all the sewing supplies you need. As with the coffee date dress sew-along, you’ll need a sewing machine, seam ripper, fabric scissors, measuring tape, a fabric pen or tailor’s chalk, pins, a needle for hand sewing, and a functional iron. See the details of what each of these are and what they’re used for here.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s