Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sewing: Pull-on Mini Skirt (Tutorial)

It's about this time of year I get really sucked into those athletic women's clothing catalogs (Title Nine and Athleta, specifically). You know, the ones where all the models are real women who split their time between surfing and yoga, when they aren't rock climbing. And who run to the grocery store, or take a weekend trip dressed like they are ready to go hiking if they find a spare ten minutes. "Gosh," I need to step it up, I think to myself. But it's difficult to fit in those kinds of interests when my days are currently filled with stair climbing (to change diapers and put away laundry) and sprinting (between school, lessons and appointments). I am a big believer in "there is a time and season..."

So, then I thought, why not just dress a bit like these adventurous women? But activewear doesn't seem like it should be my full-time wardrobe unless it is serving a real function (anyone else feel hopelessly honest in this way?) such as clothing me for a workout. Especially given the price tag. So I sewed myself a sporty pull-on mini skirt instead. I think the women in these catalogs throw them on over their yoga clothing to and from the studio, but I wear mine with tights and tall boots and it's kind of a fun switch from wearing jeans to run the daily carpool. Simple, and inexpensive too so I can try out the look without committing too much.

I decided to make one for Audrey too when I saw this chevron fabric. The benefits of a pull-on mini skirt work for girls of all ages: easy and comfortable and a little bit flirty. This particular version (fabric purchased at Joann last Fall) is soft and fuzzy, and the bold pattern suits us both. 

I have been trying to do a better job of predicting what Audrey will wear and this ensemble seemed like a sure thing to me. She likes things a bit more tailored, and prefers bold patterns over pastels and florals.

I even lined the top and skirt with soft knits to be certain they were comfortable to wear. (We're not quite agreed on how comfortable these pieces are but I did get her to wear them, so that's something!)

The Bateau Neck Top is from a pattern I've got in the works. I really like the classic shape with covered buttons up the back and the patch pockets in the front. And it's classic Audrey, to me.

I think the skirt and top are a nice, dressier combination for her, but I'm sticking with the casual take on this skirt for myself. Oh, and I should mention that even though I couldn't resist taking a photo together, I don't plan to go out in the matching outfits. I'm not entirely opposed to the idea of matching but it would have to be just the right outfits, and occasion. That topic could be a whole post in itself, right? Would love to hear your take on the controversial subject...

So The Bateau Neck Top pattern is in the works (UPDATE: It's now available here), but the Pull-On Mini Skirt is a tutorial I've got right here. In women's and girl's sizes. It's about the easiest sewing project there is, so even if you are new to this craft give this a shot! 

Click through to take a look.


You'll need:

  • 1 to 1.5 yards of fabric (wovens or knits will work); more if you are matching patterns
  • One yard or less of lining, if you choose to line it
  • 3/4" elastic the length of your (or your girl's) just-below-the-waist measurement 
  • Coordinating thread
Start by making a pattern for cutting out the skirt by referring to the diagram below and the spreadsheet for suggested sizing. You can use a piece of wrapping paper, or butcher paper--whatever you have around that is large enough for the measurements. Or you can draw directly on the wrong side of your fabric.

There is just one piece for both the front and the back of the skirt. You will want the waist of the mini skirt (which I prefer to sit just a bit below the waist) to be large enough to pull on over the hips, so if you want to check the fit make certain your hip measurement is not more than twice the "(B) Waist" measurement less 1" for seam allowances. Or you can generate your own "(B) Waist"  measurement by measuring your hips, adding an inch for seam allowances and then dividing that number in two. The width of the hem should be 10-25% greater than the "(B) Waist" measurement, depending on the amount of flare you prefer. And the length of the skirt should be the length of wherever you would like the waistband to sit to just about the kneecap, plus 2" for allowances.

Cut two of the skirt pieces, on the fold. If you are using a boldly patterned fabric take the time to do your best matching the pattern at the top and bottom so that the side seams look nice. If you would like to line the skirt, cut two on the fold of the lining fabric as well.

If you are lining the skirt, baste the lining fabric to the skirt fabric along the side seams with wrong sides together. Baste using a .5" seam allowance or less.

Next, lay the two skirt pieces (lined or not) right sides together and pin along the side seams. Then stitch the two skirt pieces together with a .5" seam allowance.

This is a good point to slip on the skirt and see how it fits. It it is too roomy you can take it in by stitching parallel to one of the side seams. I tried mine on and ended up taking it in another .5" along one of the sides.

When you are certain it fits, trim the seam allowances to .25" and zigzag stitch or serge to finish them.

Turn under both the top and bottom edges of the skirt and zig zag stitch them in place. 

To form the elastic casing at the waist, turn the top edge of the skirt down 1" and top stitch close to the bottom edge of the casing.

And finally, finish the hem on the skirt but turning the bottom edge up .5". Top stitch close to the top edge.

It doesn't get much easier than that, right?


Federica said...

Tanti complimenti! Mi piace moltissimo questo completo!
Buona giornata

B. said...

love it! comfy and cute.

cheryl said...

HAVE MERCY!! I LOVE this!! I am so running out to Joann's to find some fabric for this today. Now that I've sew two things from a pattern and quite a number of PJs for the kids, I fell pretty confident that I can pull this of for myself!

thank you Thank You THANK YOU!!

Mereknits said...

I love this, very simple too thank you. Those catalogs drive me crazy especially as I sit here in front of the computer in my pj's, I don't have plans to go rock climbing with my kayak on top of my car, or my surf board in my trunk.

Jennifer said...

LOVE the skirt, the top and your dead-on recap of what those catalogs evoke. Fab photos, too!

O meu pensamento viaja said...

I wish you a pleasant weekend.

Sharon Dawn said...

Great pattern! I have been wearing skirts and tights this winter, and it is so much more fun than jeans. I have been looking for a few more, and think your pattern might be perfect! Thanks!

Bari Jo said...

This is so cute! I saw some leggings the other day and didn't have anything to wear with them... I just might have to get brave and try this! I love the mother/daughter look! I didn't have girls so I don't know the ins and outs to all of this- but I thought this looked like fun! :O)

Leigh Anne said...

This looks straight out of Athleta! (I feel the same way about those catalogs, love 'em but I decidedly don't live that life) :)
Great job on the skirts and I do love that fabric!

Pamela said...

This is adorable- thank you for the tutorial. I think matching works in this instance because each of your individual styles come through. It show how versatile and fashionable the pieces are. Love it!

Shanea said...

Love the fabric. These turned out lovely. Great job, Mama!

Michelle B. said...

Great skirt! I think I can do this - enjoying making things for me this month:)

***Where did you get your black boots? They are equally great!***

Nanette said...

Anneliese I just came across you blog and it's just beautiful. I had no idea you were so multifaceted! Where are you living now? You should make something for my Art Market sometime. The mini skirt is so adorable. Parties and everything are so fun. Hope you are well.

xiomara @ Parkesdale said...

Wow! Just found your blog and I love it! I agree with you, I'm not sure I could dress myself and my girls in the same print.

Anonymous said...

I believe they are the by Keen, the "Silverton WP"

Anneliese said...

@Michelle B & Anonymous: Yes, my boots are by Keen. I LOVE them! So comfortable and practical. Great with skinny jeans too.

Jo said...

Just found your great tutorial which was just what I was looking for. I saw it on pinterest and I fav'd the top too for a later date. Jo x

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