Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Leftover Skirt

A bit ago, I picked up the most gorgeous 2 yards of linen I have every touched. It was mostly due to color, being a fabric woven with a light yellow-orange thread in one direction and a bright fuschia thread in the other. I had purchased it, meaning for it to become a linen ring sling. I washed the fabric, which turned gave a luxuriously soft hand and now made it a very easy to care for fabric! I made my sling by cutting the fabric in half lengthwise, leaving me with a piece of leftover linen that was 29" wide by 2 feet long. I thought about making a second sling from it to gift to someone else, but 2 yards makes for a really short sling and not many people are as small as I am to appreciate that. So I set it aside for some further thought.

Then, it came to me. A Skirt! I need a skirt. I'm not a woman who likes to wear shorts. I wear a lot of jeans and capris, and before becoming a breastfeeding momma, I wore a lot of dresses in the summer. (Needing to breastfeed at a moments notice, I no longer wish to wear one piece dresses as I prefer to lift my shirt from the bottom to nurse.) But, if the skirt is comfortable enough, casual enough, and long enough, I can chase kids in it!

shorts and fabric

So I made my skirt, making it a more casual option by pairing it with a pair of jean shorts that didn't fit well in the crotch area anymore. I've gotten some good comments on it, as well as other moms wishing for the pattern, so I thought I'd put it out there for anyone interested!

cut off legs - front

Step one: Cut the legs and crotch off the pants or shorts in a straight line from hip to hip. If you want to keep the back pockets on, you might want to turn the jeans over to make sure you're cutting below the pocket line.

cut off legs - back

Step two: Measure the width of your jeans along the cut edge and add 1/2". As you can see, my jeans measured 18.5", so my number for this step is 19".

measure width of jean bottom

Step three: Draft your pattern. It's going to look like a trapezoid. Along the top, draw a line that equals your final number from step two (my line is 19" long). Measure 15" down from the line you just drew. Draw another line, perpendicular, that is 7" longer than your first line (so my bottom line is 26" long). Connect the two lines to create the trapezoid. Now, how did I come up with the 15" length? I put on my jean top and hung a measuring tape down from the cut edge to determine the length I wanted. I added 1" for seams.

draft skirt

Step four: Cut your fabric using the pattern. Make sure you cut two pieces. I made my pattern on freezer paper. Did you know that you can iron the freezer paper onto your fabric so you can cut without needing pins or having your fabric shift? I just learned that on this project!

lay out on fabric

Step five: Sew your skirt side seams. With right sides together, stitch along the trapezoid sides with a 1/4" seam. Finish off the seam so the fabric doesn't unravel. I did a zigzag, but you could do an overcasting stitch.

sew side seams and finish

Step six: With right sides together, sew your fabric to your jeans along the short side, using a 1/2" seam. (Ummm...why yes, I did put right side to wrong side...and then I had to unpick the seam and do it again.)

attach skirt to jeans

Step seven: Hem your skirt with a 1/2" folded hem. (Fold up 1/4" inch, press, and then fold up another 1/4" inch and press.)

sew a 1/2" double hem

double hem

Step eight: You need to finish the raw edge of the fabric where it meets the jeans, to avoid the seams unraveling. I chose to do a decorative top stitch, catching the jeans and the fabric in the stitching. I also did it along the bottom hem.

embellish with machine embroidery

(Detail of the decorative embroidery stitch)
detail of machine embroidery

Ta-da! All done!
leftover skirt - front

leftover skirt - back

And I wore it, paired with the sling made of the same fabric. Unfortanately, I was standing funny and didn't think to check the side seams of the skirt in this picture!

Leftover skirt + ring sling