Before I wrote this post I jotted down some notes, here is a gem for your amusement:
Blah blah blah… Intro intro intro… Blah blah blah…
Even if you suck at sewing or have never made a damn thing in your life, you can rock making this skirt tutorial!
Haha! Sometimes I crack myself up
I’m going to keep this introduction very brief because the tutorial is a bit wordy.
I love sewing and I love being able to make clothes for myself and my kiddos. I have been sewing for years and years and it’s something that has become somewhat easy for me. For years and years sewing was something that everyone knew how to do. Even if it was just hemming pants or fixing a button, everyone knew how to do it. But these days sewing has become something that is highly intimidating for a lot of people. But it doesn’t have to be. If you are intimidated by sewing, please let me help you! This skirt tutorial is so simple and easy that everyone will be able to make it, and probably in an afternoon. It really is the easiest skirt tutorial ever.
What’s A Dirndl Skirt? This skirt is what’s called a dirndl skirt, that means it’s a full skirt with a fitted waistband. This skirt is so easy to make because it’s just a big rectangle sewn into a tube with an elastic waistband. You don’t have to cut any curves or sew any buttons, or zippers. Depending on the size of the skirt you will have one to three seams, a hem and a waistband.
A Note About Fabric Choice: I suggest using a woven, and particularly cotton. Woven cotton is one of the easiest fabric to work with and comes in wonderful colors and patterns. Look for quilting fabrics or broadcloth in the store. If you choose a fabric with a one way design (stripes, plaids, etc…) you will want to make sure that you match up the pattern as you are putting your skirt together, and that all of your patterns are going the same way. You could also make this out of fleece, it doesn’t fray, but it does stretch so use a zig zag stitch when sewing.
This is super simple math, I promise! And I will walk you through it step by step. Do this before heading to the fabric store so that you know how much fabric and elastic to buy.
Length: Measure from your waist to wherever you want the skirt hem to be, add 3 ½”. This is your length.
Waist to hem + 3.5 = Hem length
Now take your length and divide it by 36 (the amount of inches in a yard).
Hem length 36 = Yardage length for one section
(This might be a weird fraction, just go with it.)
How many sections?
Measure your waist. The fabric that you buy will be either 45” or 60” wide, and this will end up being where you sew your waistband. If you are making this skirt for a little girl (baby-7 years, or up to 17” waist) then you only need one length of this measurement. If you are making it for a waist 18”-35” than you need two of this length. If you are making it for a waist 36”-52” than you need three lengths.
Total yardage: Add together all the sections that you need and that is your total yardage. Remember to round-up, it’s always better to have too much fabric than too little.
Yardage length for one section + Amount of sections needed = Total yardage
Total elastic: Take your waist measurement and add 1”, this is how much elastic you will need.
What You Will Need
- Fabric – see above section to determine the yardage needed
- 1” wide non-roll elastic – see above section to determine the amount of elastic needed
- Matching thread
- Sewing machine, pins, scissors, sewing ruler, measuring tape, etc…
(These instructions assume that the maker has very little sewing experience.)
- Wash and dry your fabric on it’s own. If it’s going to shrink or bleed you want it to happen now. Once the fabric is dry, iron it so it is nice, and without any wrinkles.
- Using the hem length measurement (Waist to hem + 3.5 = Hem length) cut however many sections you need. The finished edges of the fabric are called the selvedge, this is usually where the manufactures print their information. This is where you measure the hem length.
- Child version: If you are making a child’s version of this skirt with just one section, fold the one piece in half with right sides (the side of the fabric you want on the outside of the skirt, usually the patterned side) together, lining up the hem length sides forming a tube. Pin and stitch using ½” seam allowance, remembering to backtack (go backwards a little bit right over the stitches at the beginning of your stitch line, this will create a knot) at the beginning and end of your stitch lines. Press seam open. Adult version: If you are making the version with two or more sections place the edges of two sections right sides together lining up the hem length sides. Pin and stitch using ½” seam allowance, remembering to backtack at the beginning and end of your stitch lines. Do this with the remaining sides until you have sewn all the sections together and you have a tube. Press all seams open.
- Using a ruler press up ¼” all around the bottom of the skirt. Then fold up again 1 ¾”, press and pin. Starting at a seam, stitch all the way around your hem about ⅛” from the edge of the fold, remembering to backtack at the beginning and end of your stitch lines.
- Using a ruler press up ¼” all around the top of the skirt. Then fold up again 1 ¼”, press and pin. Starting at a seam, stitch all the way around your hem about ⅛” from the edge of the fold, stopping 2” before reaching the start of your stitch line. Remember to backtack at the beginning and end of your stitch lines. This creates a casing for the elastic.
- Stick and secure a safety pin through one end of your cut elastic. Feed the elastic through the casing you just made at the top of your skirt, using the safety pin to push the elastic through. The fabric will bunch up around the elastic, do not let the elastic twist within the casing or let the end without the safety pin slip through into the casing. When you get the elastic all the way through the casing and the safety pin end is meeting up with the non-safety pinned end overlap the two ends by ½” and stitch them together going back and forth on the elastic a few times to make sure it holds.
- Now tuck the elastic back into the casing and try the skirt on. If the waist fits then take it off and stitch up the 2” you left open for feeding the elastic through.
And that’s it! You have a brand new skirt! Congratulations!
A note about finishing the edges of your fabric: If you want to be able to wash your skirt you have to finish your seams. Usually you want to cut the selvedge off of your fabric because it tends to wear differently than the rest of the fabric, but if you don’t have anyway of finishing the seam, (i.e. with a serger), than you can leave them on because they won’t fray. Alternatively, you can finish the edge of the fabric by stitching a zigzag stitch all the way down the edge of the fabric and then putting Fray Check on the edge. This is one more step and sometimes, I honestly don’t feel like dealing with it. If you do leave the selvedge on you need to adjust the seam allowance so that it incorporates all of the printed selvedge.