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Monday, August 13, 2012

Tutorial: Patchwork girls skirt with pleated pockets

I am often inspired by projects my kids have made.
I have to give my 9 year daughter Lily credit for this idea as it was her creation below that inspired me. 

Of course, I like hers much more than mine, and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!
At least, that's what I told her when she accused me of stealing her idea.
I assured her I would give her proper credit...

Above is Lily's fabric scrap ragamuffin skirt worn with my Jackie O upcycled sweater on Gigi for Earth Day.

I bought some fat quarters in The Flower Sugar line by Japanese fabric designer Lecien and I just adored the colors and soft, country cottage prints
I got some pretty good mileage from these 8 fat quarters pieces. I made a banner, a camera strap cover, mod podged a bird house you can see up there on my header, and made this cute little patchwork skirt.

This skirt is made from thirty five inch squares I cut myself. 

Now, they aren't all exactly the same because when it comes to tiny details like cutting squares perfectly, I have a hard time focusing. I'm  always amazed I can sew at all, given my terrible attention span.  Sewing puts me in a kind of zen state, but mot cutting. Sewing is one of the only times I can have sustained attention for hours.

I blame it on 18 years of motherhood.
After I had cut the squares I was going through my blog reader when I saw Jessica from Me Sew Crazy made an adorable little wrap skirt from similar squares.
But she used those charm square fabric pieces you can buy .

I wish I would have thought of that as it took me quite awhile to cut out all of those little squares!
Charm packs are already cut into 5 inch squares and are perfect for a project like this!

Below is how to make the childs' skirt :

You will need enough fabric for your squares, some 1 1/2 inch elastic and a knit fabric scrap to make a folded over waistband casing for your elastic.

Measure you child's hip and double the measurement to make the gathered skirt. Divide that measurement in two. Each skirt piece will be your child's full hip width.

Sew together your squares in one line until they are the measurement you will need.

Most likely your squares won't be the exact measurement you need, but don't worry. It doesn't matter if your sewed together squares are a little too wide. Just don't cut them! It's important that all the squares stay the same size. It would look pretty dumb to have skinnier squares at the side seams.

For a toddler the skirt should be three strips of squares long to be knee length. For an older child it will probably be four. My skirt was 5 inches wide but you could make it super gathered or wider if you have a chunkier child.
It's up to you!

Sew all the strips together. You will have two pattern pieces now.
Sew the two pieces together at the side seams.
Sew a double folded hem and the side seams. As you can see , i used my serger for this project. Having a serger makes a project like this go really fast! If you don't have it you could just pink the edges. Quilting cottons aren't that shreddy.
 You could also zig zag all of your seams but that would just take too darn long for a project like this as far as I'm concerned. 
But I'm not one to stress about details....

Take a piece of knit fabric for your waistband. The finished measurement should be one inch smaller than your child's waist.
 Make the strip  4 1/4 inches long to allow it to be folded over the 1 1/2 inch elastic and 3 inches wider than your child's hip
Gather the skirt to be about 3 inches bigger than the hip measurement.
To sew on waistband stretch the elastic evenly along the waistband as you sew.

After making this I realized this was a pretty dumb method for sewing on a waistband, so don't feel chained to this part of the tutorial!

If I were to sew it again, I would fold and iron the knit casing in half, sew the knit casing together at the ends and sew it to the skirt , leaving a small opening. Then I would thread my 1 1/2 inch elastic through the whole, bring it all the way through and sew the elastic together.
Oh well, what do you want for a free tutorial?

On to the pleated pocket!

This pocket could be a little neater but this was my first try.
I made my own bias tape for these pockets, but you can used purchased bias tape too.

I have a whole drawer full of it, as it's one of those things I can't resist buying at the thrift shop and yard sales.
If you make a pattern make it about 6 inches wide at the top , 4 inches wide at the bottom, and 4 inches long.
You cna also just cut one out and use it to trace the other 3 pieces.
Cut 2 pieces of main fabric and 2 pieces of lining fabric.

Sew the pocket and lining piece together right sides together and leave a little space on the side, not the top, to pull your pocket through.
You will stitch that little hole closed later when you topstitch the pocket down to the skirt.

Iron your 2 inch pleat together at the top and stitch it closed.

Sew your bias tape on to the top of the pocket.

Pin the pocket to the skirt pinning the pleat closed on the bottom of the pocket .
Topstitch the pocket and you are done!

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  1. Super cute skirt! Gotta love the scrap buster projects!! I really like the ragamuffin skirt too... it's speaks to my inner "unmatchiness" ;-)

  2. Oh, I love it! What a smart looking skirt.

  3. Lily.. I love your idea.. and so nice to let your mom copy your idea..
    The skirt is adorable.. love the added cute. I will be making my grandaughters one..Thanks for sharing.

  4. I love the bright, cheerful fabrics you used. I might just have to make one for my little Ella! Thanks!

  5. I don't like cutting either. I procrastinate cutting and then my projects don't get done as fast. Of course, I could get off the computer and they would get done faster! Love the skirt and I love the pockets. So cute. Unfortunately for me my daughter has grown out of that cute, little skirt stage, and I'm not ready for grandkids!

  6. You could always make yourself one~! I'm thinking about it!

  7. This is gorgeous! As a non quilter, I am always afraid to try patchwork, but you have some great tips here.

  8. This skirt is so sweet! Now following :)

  9. I love how the pleated pockets look like little ladybugs!


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