Sewing 101: My First Attempt at Skirts

I recently bought Brett Bara’s “Sewing in a Straight Line”, and decided to attempt the “one-hour skirt”.  It seemed a bit more complicated than pillows, but maybe not quite as difficult as following a pattern.  Here’s a link to her website, with a video demonstration of how to sew the skirt:

And – lo and behold – I did it.  I made not one, but TWO skirts!  That are wearable!  And not completely horrible!  And that I adjusted to fit children!  Here’s how I did it, in case you want to make a not too horrible skirt, too.

You’ll need:

-1 to 2 yards of medium weight fabric (I used cotton; Brett Bara suggests a cotton-linen blend), depending on the size of the skirt

-1″ wide elastic, cut to fit your waist circumference (Brett Bara called for 1 3/4″, but I couldn’t find it)

-A large safety pin

Step 1: Wash, dry, and iron your fabric (according to all the sewers I know, this is of grave importance).

Step 2: Cut

Measure the hip circumference, about 7″ or 8″ below your natural waist.  C’s skirt, which is what’s pictured here, was 24″ wide.   Next, measure the length.  I wanted the skirt to hit just above knee level, so I measured her from waist to knee and added an inch for the hem.

Cut two rectangles with a width equal to your first measurement and a length equal to your second measurement.

Measure the waist circumference and cut a piece of elastic to that measurement minus 1″.


Step 3: Sewing Side Seams

Pin together the two pieces of fabric with the right sides facing each other.

Image  Next, sew each piece along the length edges with a 1/4″ seam. (Brett Bara calls for a French seam, which I couldn’t quite figure out – so I just pressed the seams instead).


Step 4: Sew the Waistband

Turn under the top edge of the fabric 1/2″ (I used my cutting board to measure; a ruler might be a wise investment) and press.


Turn under this fold top edge 1.5″; press and then pin it.


Topstich (aka sew on the outside) the folded edge in place, leaving an opening near one of the side seams about 4″ long.

Step 5: Sew the Hem

Turn the hem under 1/2″ and press.  Turn it under again 1″; press and then pin it.

Topstich the hem in place.

Step 6: Finish the Waistband

Here’s where things get tricky.  Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic.  Thread it through the entire waistband casing, which is difficult because it wants to twist.  It’s also difficult when you don’t measure your casing correctly and make it too small for the elastic to fit through – which is what I did.  And then you have to start over.  Which is annoying.


When the safety pin gets back to the opening, overlap the two elastic edges and sew them together.  Just go back and forth a few times.  Insert the now-joined elastic ends back into the casing.  Topstich the opening of the casing closed.


Step 7: Ta-Da!

Scoot the gathers along the waistband to make them nice and pretty.  Brett Bara tells you to “stich in the ditch” along each side seam at the waistband to secure the elastic in place, but I opted against it.  And you’re done! You made a skirt that your child can actually wear*!

*As long as nobody looks at your funky looking hem and wobbly seams too closely


And here’s my child, modeling hers:


Here’s a link to Brett Bara’s book on Amazon, in case you want to buy your own*:

*Brett Bara has no idea how I am, so this is by no means a paid endorsement.  I’ve yet to be paid to endorse anything, though I would very much like to be.  I’ve just found her book to be very helpful so far.



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