Bella was running low on Gator Gear for this football season, so i found some cheap orange cotton and used it to make her this skirt to add to her Gator wardrobe. (you might remember her Gator pillowcase dress here)
and then i realized that with Halloween coming up, it would double as the perfect Halloween outfit for school:
you’ll need about 3/4 yard of fabric (depending on your child’s measurements, and how many ruffles you want), elastic (waist measurement minus 3 inches), and coordinating thread.
here’s the how-to:
cut a rectangle of fabric the waist measurement minus 4, doubled, and the length measurement plus 6. let me break that down for you: Bella’s waist measured at 20 inches and the finished length i wanted was 11 inches, so my rectangle was 32 inches by 17 inches (20 – 4 = 16, doubled = 32, and 11 + 6 = 17):
lay fabric right side down, and then fold and iron down 1/4 inch. this is to enclose the raw edge once the casing is sewn. then fold down and iron the measurement of your elastic width plus 1/2 inch. so the elastic i used was 1 inch wide, so i ironed down 1 1/2 inches. at this point, your 1/4 inch raw edge should be enclosed:
sew close to the bottom, and this will create your casing for the elastic waistband:
next, fold the rectangle in half, right sides together:
and sew with a 1/2 inch seam, making sure to stop before sewing the casing shut:
pin a safety pin the edge of your elastic piece (mine was cut at 17 inches. waist measurement minus 3 inches):
and feed the elastic through the casing. pin the other edge of the elastic to the edge of your casing so that it doesn’t get lost inside as you are arranging the fabric and making sure the elastic is in place:
once its arranged and inside the casing, sew the edges of the elastic together. i did this by sewing and backstitching a few times:
tuck the edges of your casing in, and sew shut: (the bottom line of the casing should line up…oops
hem your skirt to the desired length:
you should now have your skirt completed. all that is left is to adorn it with ruffles
decide how wide you want your ruffles to be. i wanted my finished ruffles to be about 1 inch wide, so i needed strips of fabric that were double that with a seam allowance, so for me 2 1/4 inch wide. (i’ll show you why in a minute.) however, if you have a serger and could serge the edges, or are using a type of fabric that would not fray, like jersey knit, then you would not have to double this width, and could cut the strips at the desired ruffle width.
so for two ruffles, you need 2 strips of fabric. to find the length you will need, take your width measurement of your skirt, and double that. since the width of my skirt was 32 inches (use the original width measurement of your rectangle before sewing the skirt), i needed 2 strips of fabric that were each 64 inches long and because i couldn’t serge the edges, my strips needed to be about 2 1/4 inch wide.
to do this and utilize the fabric i had, i pieced together 3 strips of fabric until i had one long strip that was 128 inches long. (2 strips at 64 inches each = 128 inches). the seams where you pieced it together will be hidden once you ruffle it.
at this point, if you have a serger, you could just serge the edges. but if not, then you will need to sew this strip together so that the edges are clean and will not fray.
i then folded that strip, right sides together:
and sewed with a 1/4 inch seam along the bottom:
fold this long strip in half lengthwise, and cut at the halfway mark, leaving you with 2 long pieces that should each measure 64 inches in length (or whatever your length measurement is) and 1 inch in width. now comes the hard part….you have to flip each strip right side out:
i’m not gonna lie…this was tedious, because the strips you are working with are not very wide. this would be a good time to turn on your favorite show and work on these strips while tuning out with The Bachelor or Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (oh my goodness…that show!) or HGTV, or something just keep pulling and wiggling until you’ve turned the fabric right side out. (if anyone has any great tool or trick for this step, please let me know!) i like to pull up from the inside, and down on the outside:
once that is done, center your seam line to the back of each strip, set your machine to the longest stitch length and sew a straight line down the middle, making sure NOT to backstitch:
then, create your ruffle by pulling the back thread, and pushing the fabric gently along the thread until it ruffles. if your thread breaks, you can break up your strip into sections and ruffle each section instead of one long strip. just do this gently and take your time. ruffles are super forgiving and do not need to be perfect, so if you are struggling with this step, you can always ruffle by hand and pin to the skirt:
once you have your strips completely ruffled, pin to the skirt. i wanted mine close the bottom, so i pinned the first one on my hem line, and spaced the second one just a little above that:
set your machine back to a regular stitch length, and sew along that same center line to attach the ruffle to the skirt:
i then sewed a straight line down the center of the elastic waistband, while pulling the elastic taunt as i sewed. (see the end of this tutorial if that is confusing) this ensures that the elastic will stay in place, and it also creates a nice ruffled waistband.
isn’t everything cuter with ruffles??