Tuesday, December 21, 2010

denim skirts with tucks

Here are the skirts from the Santa shot. I stuck to my guns on the construction this time and didn't get distracted by the shiny ruffler. They just needed a plain layering jean skirt, however I could not resist adding some half inch tucks around the hem, because those are just so easy.

If you'd like to make a similar skirt, start with a simple pattern like this one. Instead of the ribbon hem, just do a traditional double folded hem.

To allow for 1/2 inch tucks, add an inch in skirt length for each tuck you take. Iron a crease on the right side where the tuck should bend, pin, then sew 1/2 inch away from the crease. Then after I iron it down I also sew the tuck down, very close to the existing seam.

I love the extra style it gives for the minimal time invested.

I also experimented with a new waist on one of them. I like the simplicity of the elastic-in-a-tube waist, but it tends to look bunchy in the front. I did a tube waist on Thing 1's but with Thing 2's skirt I attempted to copy something I've seen in store-bought skirts: the front having a smooth waistband attached to the gathered skirt, and the back waistband having elastic:

So I made the skirt length shorter since I didn't need to allow for the fold over waist, and added two rows of gathering stitches at the top where it would connect with the waistband. For the waistband I cut two additional pieces. Both were 3 inches wide and the same length, which was:

1/2 waist measurement + four inches

I did that because I wanted the front smooth part of the waistband to reach around her sides and the back elasticized part to start a bit around the back instead of right at the sides. I pressed both strips in half, wrong sides together.
I made one piece into a tube just by sewing a 1/2 inch seam on the right side and threaded it with a shorter piece of elastic inside (the length of the elastic was what was left after you subtract the length of the front piece from the waist measurement and then add back an inch for seam). I sewed the elastic in place on both ends, so that now I had a gathered tube with elastic inside, with raw edges on the bottom.

I pressed the raw edges of the flat piece under on either end to have a finished edge, and then I sewed the two pieces together on each end by tucking the elasticized piece inside the flat piece. Now I had a waistband that was the size of Thing 2's waist with some stretchy give in the back.

At this point I tried it on Thing 2 to make sure my math skillz were on target. It fit fine. So I pinned the waistband on the skirt right sides together and raw edges aligned, pulled the gathering stitches to fit and sewed it on with a half inch seam.

It came out great, but I'll do two things next time:
  1. Use interfacing in the smooth waistband to add some body
  2. Use a wider waistband, just for looks


  1. They looked adorable in their new skirts! An updated look for a timeless piece in their wardrobe.

  2. these are lovely ! you did a great job !

  3. Thanks for the tips on the skirt! I need to make one or two for my girls.

  4. You make small changes on the look of the Lazy Day Skirt that look wonderful! I have to try the waistband next time!

    The tutorial is great, have to get my body up the stairs into my sewing room - but in the living room the fire is crackling and the kids are asleep and I could just sit down and have a cup of tea and read some pages in my book - so my friends cozy has to wait (as it's not supposed to be a Christmas present anyway).

  5. Love that. I always love elastic waistbands that have a flat front. It's so much more flattering on the figure. :-) Thanks for the nice tutorial.

  6. The skirts look awesome and I love the idea with the waistband.

  7. I love these skirts! They are so cute and versatile. I am definitely going to have to remember these. I already loved the oliver+s skirts!

  8. love them love them!!! thanks for your explanation as well, always wanted to try a flat front skirt or pants. love them denim. :)

  9. Aren't you a smartie? Love these...

  10. thanks, y'all. They are getting some good wear out of them already.

  11. Great tutorial! You've been featured on the Quality Sewing Tutorials blog.

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  12. Hi, I have used this to make two beloved skirts for myself which I wear TONS. However I have to pull it on over my head as my bottom is a bit big for even the amount of stretch it has. Could you advise me on how much to alter the elastic to flat ratio? Thanks

    1. Hey, Ophelia! I'm so glad you could use the tutorial! My suggestion for the waist is to add a side zip! That way you could keep the ratios the same and be able to pull it up from the floor! :-)

  13. Hi, thanks for this brill blog. Just made one for my daughter. How do you finish the raw edges of the waistband inside. I'm stuck! Thank you. :-)

  14. So happy to find this post, which I found via Pinterest. I needed something something something simple like this because there are also adults who like the look and want some give around the waist line when they sit down. Thanks!


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