The Socialite Skirt

I promise this will be my last time using blue and white striped fabric for a while. I just had enough left over from my Nautical Dress to whip this baby out.  
I decided to make the waistband on this skirt stretchy.  It is just nice to be able to pull it on with a shirt and go.  It’s a lot more casual, which is nice for lounging around, soaking up the last few days of the summer sun.
Want to make one?

If you don’t know how to sew, or know the basics but are interested in learning more, Merrick and I have created The Modern Girl’s Guide to Sewing, online sewing courses that teach you everything you need to know about clothing construction. You can take our Beginner Course or our Intermediate Course, and learn how to follow tutorials like this one! Make sure to check out!

Click below for the tutorial…

You will need:
  •  Approx 1 yard of a knit fabric, or something with a little stretch already in it.  My fabric measured 36″ x 50″
  • Elastic thread
* Note:  Keep in mind that all of the measurements I have listed are my own, so make sure you measure your own waist, skirt length, etc accordingly.
Step 1:  Cut out 2 waistbands that measure 4″w x 36″l (I wanted a thicker waistband).  
Cut 2 sections for the skirt front and back.  Make the width of the skirt be about 2 times wider than your waist.  Mine measured 36″w x 20″l (adjust length accordingly)
Step 2:  I think the skirt looks better with a tiny bit of flare at the bottom.  Fold your front section in half, and cut a slight diagonal, so that the bottom is about 5″ wider than the top.  Do the same thing for the back skirt piece.
Step 3:  Take your front piece of the skirt and make a mark at the middle.  Create a large 4″ box pleat.  To do this, mark 2″ away to the right and left of the middle mark.  Then, go 2″ further from those marks and fold under, with the fold pointing to the middle of the skirt.  A 4″ box pleat takes 12″ to create.

Step 4:  Now you are going to create 2 knife pleats on either side of the middle box pleat.  When you fold the fabric under for the pleat, make sure that the fold points toward the middle.  So the folds to the right of the middle will point left, and the folds to the left of the middle will point right.  Does that make any sense?  Look closely at the pictures.  It will make more sense than I do.

My smaller knife pleats are even spaced out, 1 1/2″ apart.   I folded each knife pleat under only about 1/2″.  You can eyeball how deep you can make your pleats by placing a ruler at the top as a guide to how wide you need your skirt to be (keep in mind your seam allowances).

Iron all pleats nice and flat.

Step 5:  Take your back skirt piece and create 2 inverted box pleats.  To do this, mark the middle of your skirt.  Now, make a mark 3 1/2″ to the right and to the left of the middle mark.  Make another mark 7″ to the right and to the left of your previous marks.  Match up 2 far right marks to create an inverted box pleat, and then do the same with the 2 far left marks.

For example:
E  C  A  B  D

‘E’ and ‘C’ would match up, and ‘B’ and ‘D’ would match up to create the pleats.  ‘A’ remains your middle point.

Pin and iron the pleat flat.

Step 6:  Now take your two long waistband strips, and cut each one in half, creating 4 pieces that measure 4″w x 18″l (your length will vary depending on your measurements)

Step 7:  Wrap your elastic thread around your bobbin and insert it into your machine

Step 8:  Place 2 waistband pieces right sides together and stitch the length of one side 1/4″ from the edge.  You will see the fabric start to bunch up as you sew with the elastic thread.  Don’t freak out.  This is a good thing.

Step 9:  Flip those waistband pieces right side out and iron flat.  Then stitch along the same side with the fabric right side out, 1/4″ from the edge (still using the elastic thread).  As you sew, pull the fabric taut, since it will want to bunch up because of the elastic thread.

Step 10:  Open up your waistband and sew the front of your skirt to one side of your waistband with right sides together with a 1/4″ seam (still with the elastic thread).

Step 11:  Flip the waistband up so the right side is facing you, and iron along the stitch you just made.  As you iron, make sure the selvage from your seam is pointing up into your waistband.  I found it easier to keep track of the waistband by flipping it over to the backside so that I could keep a close eye on it.

Step 12:  Now, with the wrong side of the fabric facing you, iron the very top end down 1/4″.  Fold this half of the strip down, creating your waistband and pin in place.

Step 13:  With the right side of the fabric facing you, stitch along the bottom of the waistband, 1/4″ from the bottom to secure the fabric that you just ironed under.  It is important that you have the right side of the fabric facing you so that the elastic thread only shows through on the back side.  I learned this the hard way.

Now, repeat steps 8-13 with the back waistband/skirt pieces.

Step 14:  Match up your  front and back pieces, right sides together and stitch down each side with normal thread in your bobbin now (no need to have stretchy side seams), about 1/2″ from the edge.

Feel free to surge or zigzag stitch your raw edges.  If your are using jersey fabric, you don’t have to worry about it fraying.  However, it will give your skirt a more finished look.

Step 15:  Iron the bottom of your skirt under 1/2″ and then under 1/2″ again and sew along the top for your hem.

And there you have it.  A quick easy skirt.  And the best part….. no zipper!

Perfect to wear while chasing after cute little toddlers.

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