The perfect cotton summer skirt
There I am sat minding my own business with Gemma casually flicking through a magazine next to me, when she uttered those words that always make me sit up and take notice….no not that! It was “do you think you could make me one of those?” she was pointing to a model wearing a sweet summer skirt (by Great Planes) with a contrasting waistband and a simple white T-shirt. “Sure I can” I respond, never being one to shy away from a challenge.
That said, I didn’t have a pattern for it, but I did have some lovely printed cotton that screams summer from one of my favourite fabric shops, Wallingford Village Fabrics. So I fetched it and set to work.
I start by using a dress of Gemma’s that I know she loves the fit of, in fact I’m going to remake that in a navy stretch soon, I’ll be sure to link it here if you want to see the whole dress remade.
There’s something great about home sewing, making something that’s unique and not going to be seen on anyone else is just fab.
- 0.5m of lightweight printed cotton.
- 20cm x 60cm contrasting cotton, (for the waistband I actually just cut up an old top)
- 20cm x 60cm iron on interfacing (Optional depending on waistband fabric)
- 7 inch exposed zip
- White thread (Sometimes I think a contrasting thread can be an embellishment on its own)
1. Lay out the template dress and place some dot and cross pattern paper underneath
2. Using a tracing wheel to mark through the existing fabric seams, gives me a general shape (you can just use a pencil to mark out the general shape if you don’t have a tracing wheel).
3. Smooth out any tracing lines, mark the darts and zipper placements, adding the seam allowance where needed. Then cut the pattern out.
4. Next lay this pattern on the wrong side of the cotton, ensuring that I work with the grain of the fabric, and cut out my pieces.
5. With the fabric pieces (one front part and two back parts) in hand, I zigzag stitch the edges of the back parts where they’ll join to each other, in order to neaten the edges ready for the next stage.
6. Then pin the two back pieces together, right side to right side, and stitch on the seam line up as far as I’d like the bottom of the zip to start and press open with a medium iron.
7. Now I take the joined back pieces and the single front piece, and again right side to right side I straight stitch up the side seams and press open. This leaves me with a basic tube of the skirt, with room for the zip at the back.
8. I try it on Gemma to recheck the marking of the darts. Then from the inside I run a straight stitch from the point of the dart out to the waist.
9. Once I have the final circumference of the skirt waist with the darts applied, I set about making the waist band. Cutting a double width (plus seam allowance) of the desired waistband fabric.
10. Right side to right side I line up the centre front of the waistband to the centre front of the skirt. Pinning along the waistband raw edge and stitch together on a 0.5cm seam allowance. Pressing this sewn edge upwards.
11. I fold and press a thin (approx. 0.5cm) allowance of the raw unsewn edge towards the inside of the skirt. Followed by folding the remainder in half, again to the inside of the skirt, press and pin.
12. Topstitching this waistband from the outside encloses the raw edges inside the waistband and leaves a neat finish to both the outside and inside of the garment.
13.Ok, so I still have some unfinished waistband ends. Here I trim down any excess fabric and turn inside to neaten, then simply run a stitch along from the bottom corner all the way up and around to the opposite end (so around 3 sides of the waistband).
Almost there I promise….
14. I take a simple small exposed zipper and pin in place to ensure a tidy closing position. I then stitch from the top of the zip, down one side, across the bottom and back up the other side, this not only keeps the stitch quick and simple but also ensures that I can trim down the excess zip if need be and not lose the zipper itself off the end. You can always do this afterwards either by hand with a whip stitch or on a machine zigzag stitch and the feed dogs down.
15. Last of all is a simple double hem, much like earlier I just fold and press a small allowance of the bottom raw edge toward the inside, then fold again and press, I then follow this with a topstitch 0.5cm from the edge.
And that is that. It’s a really quick sew and in fact it’s probably taken me longer to write this than it did to actually make it.
Hope you enjoyed following along with me. I’m off I go to get my brownie points for making Gemma a new skirt.