Saturday, July 19, 2014

Retro High Waisted Skirt Tutorial

I have been in a retro clothing sort of mood lately, and decided it was high (get it...haha!) time that I made myself a new skirt.  I went on down to Birch Fabric and picked out some of the organic fabric that they had and started on this great skirt!

Here is what you need for this skirt:

·      2 Yards of Fabric
·      Coordinating thread
·      Scissors
·      Iron and surface for ironing on
·      12in matching zipper
·      Tape measure
·      Sewing machine
·      Needle for hand sewing
·      1 sew on snap

How to make the skirt:

Start with your 2 yards of fabric.

You will be cutting the 2 yards into 2 pieces.  The larger piece will be the body of the skirt, and the smaller the waistband. 

Start with measuring 7 inches into the fabric.  Mark (easiest to do with chalk but could also use masking tape or marker that won’t bleed.)  Cut the 7 inch strip off.  This strip will make a 3 inch (or so) waistband after finished.

Next you need to measure your waist with a tape measure.  If you don’t have a fabric tape measure, use a string and then measure the string. 

NOTE:  This measurement will determine where the gather will sit.  I wanted this to be a nice high waist, so I measured at the smallest part of my waist.

Now that you have measured your waist, make sure to ADD 2 inches for seam allowance (so if your waist is 32, add 2 to make 34 inches.)

So you should now have a strip that is 7 inches wide and your waist+2in long.

Warm up that iron and press the hemline, starting with pressing under ½ inch….

Then another 2 inches for a wide hemline.  Now you can hit the ol’ sewing machine.  Stitch the hem close to the top of the hemline. 

Optional: Do a second top stitch along the bottom of the hem for added interest and detail.

Now fold the skirt body in half with right-sides together and pin.  Make a mark 9 inches from the top of the skirt.  This will be left unstitched foor the zipper.  Stitch at 5/8 inch seam allowance from the bottom of the skirt up to your mark.

Now to gather.  Some newer machines can do this for you.  But not mine, so if you are like me, you will need to hand gather.  This is not difficult, it just takes a little time. 

Baste about ½ inch from the top all along the top of the skirt.

To gather, carefully pull on the top thread until it begins to pucker.  Ease the gather into the skirt and continue in this fashion from both sides until it is the same length as the waistband.

Then pin to waistband with right sides together, easing the gather to be even and match the waist as you pin.  Then stitch together, being careful not to catch the gathers unevenly.

Open back up and press seam allowance toward the waistband.

Now we can put in the zipper!  The easiest way to do a zipper that I have found is like this…

First fold your waistband in half and mark the halfway point.  Open back up, keeping that mark.  It should be just about 3 inches or so. Now baste opening at the back of skirt (that 9 inches you marked off) through waist gathering up to that 3 inch mark.

Now pin the zipper down to the basted seam allowance.

Now attach your zipper foot and stitch (if you don’t have one, just get as close as you can to the seam, but go slow.  It might be a little wonky, but I assure you, you are the only one who will notice.)

Zipper done!  Now let’s finish the waistband.

Press under ½ inch on the raw edge.

Now fold the waistband in half and press and pin in place.  You will want the ½ inch that you just pressed under to cover the raw edges of the gathered waistband seam allowance so you have a clean edge.

Then stitch close to the seam, and continue all the way around the band, catching the zipper and creating a clean, top stitched edge all the way around.

You have just completed the main part of the skirt!  Yay!  Just one last finishing touch.  A bow.

To make the bow, you will need to cut out a piece from your 7 inch remaining strip. Leave it at 7 inches wide and cut 25 inches long.

Then fold in half hamburger style with the right sides together.  Stitch up the 2 long edges to make a little pillowcase looking block. 

Turn it right side out, and press.

Then press ½ under on the open seam to create a clean edge.  Hand stitch this closed with an invisible stitch.  Not sure how to do that?  Check out this great tutorial at Positively Splendid here.

Next we will cut a smaller strip – this one will be 4 inches wide and 6 inches long.  This will make the center of the bow.  Fold hot dog style (along the long side) and stitch.

Turn this little guy right side out, and press it with the seam at the center back.

Now wrap the little strip around the block you made to create a bow.  Turn under the small strip’s raw edges and pin in place.   Hand sew it into place.

Now you have the big, adorable bow!

Finally, we need to secure it to the back of the skirt.  To do this, center onto the back, and hand tack the left side onto the skirt, catching only the back layer so you don’t see the stitching from the front.  Make sure to secure as well as you can so it won’t rip off.

On the other side of the bow, sew on one side of your snap.

Now try on your skirt.  If yours behaves like mine, the waist was a little looser at the top.  So I placed the other side of the snap a little further in to help cinch it up just a little.

Hand sew it into place and you have finished your awesome skirt.

Now all you have to do is put it on and show it off to all your friends.  Believe me, they will think you are a genius!