Friday, August 10, 2012

Back to School Skirt

My niece celebrated her fifth birthday recently.  Well, we celebrated, she opened lots of presents.  I always like to give something handmade along with her 'big' gift in the hopes that I'm secretly brainwashing her and turning her into a future crafter/sewer.  I think it's working!

how to make a skirt, easy to make skirt, kids skirt, beginner sewing project

Her little add in gift this year was a cute skirt I threw together.  If you have little ones heading off to school this year, this is a great piece to add to their back to school wardrobe.

This is another project where I just took a couple of rectangles and made them into something cute.  So, to start, make a pattern out of two rectangles like this:
Remember, the skirt I made is for a 5 year old.  If your child is bigger/smaller, taller/shorter, whatever, just make some adjustments to your rectangles.  Mostly, it'll be in the skirt length that you'll adjust to make it longer or shorter (the larger rectangle).

Here's what you need to make your skirt:

-lightweight cotton
-3/4"-1" wide waistband elastic
-scissors, pins, thread, ruler
-sewing machine

With your fabric wrong sides together, place your pattern pieces on your fabric and cut out.  You should have two of each rectangle.

1) Pick up your two smaller rectangles.  With right sides together, sew a seam along each of the short ends, creating a large tube.  Do the same with your large rectangles while you're at it.

2) Finish your seams by serger or zigzag and press open.

3) With a long basting stitch, sew all the way around the edge of your large rectangle piece.  I like to stop and start again at the side seams.  This reduces the risk of breaking thread when you pull it to gather in the next step.

4)  Before you pull your threads to gather, mark off quarter sections of the skirt.  To do this, simply fold your piece so that the side seams are matching.  Now, on either end mark with a pin.  Now you know where each quarter is.  You can continue to mark off so that it's in eighths if you want to be more precise in your gathers.

5)  OK, now you can go ahead and begin to pull your basting thread to gather up your skirt.

6) Mark off quarters (or eighths) on your smaller rectangle piece.  This piece is the yoke of your skirt.  Once you've marked it, match to the pins on the gathered skirt piece (right sides together).  Start by matching your side seams and then go from there.  Move your gathers around so that they're even in each section.  Once you're sure everything's even, go ahead and sew the two pieces together.

7) Pull out your basting threads and finish the seam.  Press the seam allowance towards the yoke.

8) On the yoke, turn over 1/4" along the top edge and press. 

9) To determine the length of the elastic, just measure around your child's waist and cut a piece that is comfortable for them but will stay up on it's own.  This is usually the waist measurement minus 1" or so.  Don't forget to add in about a half inch to secure the elastic to itself.

10)  Next, measure the width of your elastic. Multiply that by two and add another 1/4". Turn that amount over and press again. Nothing fancy here, we're just making a casing for your elastic to go into.

11) Sew along the inside edge, making sure to leave about 2" open to insert your elastic.  I like to put a safety pin on each end of my elastic to guide it through the casing.  The second pin makes sure the end doesn't go flying into the casing, causing me to have to start all over again~

12) Once your elastic is in, overlap about 1/2" and secure to itself.  Make sure your elastic hasn't twisted!  Ease the elastic into the casing and close the casing.
13) Oh!  I almost forgot...hem the bottom of your skirt!  You can fold it over and secure or do a rolled hem.  Add some pretty lace if you want.  Anything goes~

That's it!  You're done.  So easy peasy.  I added a cute little tie to the front of mine but you could use buttons or other embellishments to make it pretty.

Can you believe summer is almost over and a whole new school year will be starting again?  Isn't it funny how even as an adult it feels like everything starts in September?

Same skirt with shorter yoke and skirt.
Obviously she just wants to go ride her bike.
Enough with the pictures already Auntie!
As usual, it seems like a lot of steps when it's all written out like this, but trust me, it comes together super quick.  There are so many ways you can jazz this up and make it your own.  Have fun and happy sewing everyone!

To see how this looks in an adult size click HERE.

This project was featured here:


Little City Farm said...

Super cute skirt and your niece is so adorable. I love your plan to turn her into a crafter/sewer. (insert evil laughter here, lol)

Cranberry Morning said...

What a cutie! And a cute skirt too. Looks like she's happy with it. :-)

The Domesticated Princess said...

I found this tutorial on the i heart naptime linky party. I'm pinning it for a future project for my daughter. The skirt is very cute, and it's perfect for my sewing level. I hope you'll check out some of the skirts and dresses I've made too.

Bonny @

Amy said...

This is really cute, I love the green print, so fresh and fun! I have the same evil plan for my daughter! Hee, hee, hee with any luck they'll be designing and sewing their own prom dresses and be the envy of all the other girls at school! Mwah-ha-ha-ha! ;)

Anonymous said...

Does the short edge of the pattern pieces need to be put on the fold? You skirt is beautiful as is your niece.

Etcetorize said...

None of the pieces are on the fold, that way you have two side seams. However, you can certainly place one short end on the fold, then you'd just have one back/side seam. It's up to you~

Kate and Col said...

Great, thanks for sharing. I found you via craft gossip, and managed to sew one of these skirts together last night. It will be going to the local foster girls, (in addition to the ones already sent) as part of PR&P's skirting the issue.

Thanks for a wonderful, easy and beautiful skirt tutorial.

Jill said...

Cute skirt and another great tutorial Tamara!

Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
Hope you have a fabulous week!
Jill @ Creating my way to Success

blissfulsewing said...


lori finch said...

I am so excited about this pattern. I want to make them for my granddaughter for school. I made one and it is too wide and too short for her. Could I add another panel as another layer? Should it be at the top or bottom if I do? Thanks for the pattern and all your help! I'm going to cut the next one longer and more narrow.

Etcetorize said...

Hi Lori, so glad you're having fun with the pattern. Another gathered layer on the bottom would look great! Take me in Instagram if you post there so I can see your lovely skirt.


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