Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sewing skirts with Morgan

Want to learn how to make this skirt? Keep reading!
Last week was another sewing lesson with my friend/hair stylist Morgan. She is a great student and such a fast learner. I wasn't quite sure what we would make. I had found some vintage patterns of really simple shirts, but Morgan surprised me with a bag of deep blue knit fabric and an idea. And did I mention, this is only her third sewing lesson. That's right, third! Morgan is very smart and understands garment construction very well for a beginner. She wants to know why she is sewing something a particular way, the purpose of every stitch, needle position, length of stitch, etc. 

She wanted to make a skirt/dress with a really wide waist band. One that can be worn as a high-waisted skirt, or a dress with an attached tube top. She was inspired by this skirt from American Apparel. But the problem was, we didn't have a pattern. After looking at the design for a few minutes, I had an idea. First, we cut out a large rectangle, as wide as her waist, about 26", since it's a knit and she's so thin, it would stretch. It was 26" by 24". We got the 24" from the measurement of her belly button to the nape of her neck, 12". It is doubled so it can be folded back on itself, not needing to be lined.
Next we cut out the skirt. Since her waist is 26" (ah she's so skinny I'm jealous!), we cut that in half, and measured 13" on the fabric. Finding the length of skirt she wanted, and a slightly circular skirt as well, she fanned out the bottom edge, keeping the length the same with a yard stitch for reference.
She cut out the front piece.
Next, she needed a back piece. She folded the front piece in half (it should be perfectly symetrical), and placed it on a fold of fabric. Morgan traced it with chalk, then cut out the backside.
Take the bodice, waistband, and pin the 24" long sides together. Sew.  
Turning it right side out. And matching the top and bottom of the 26" long sides together, you have your waistband. To make it easier to attach your skirt, sew these sides together. HINT: when sewing with knit fabrics, be sure to change your needle! A ballpoint needle makes a huge difference and it intended for knits and delicate fabrics.
Pin the skirt together. Sew. If it is too big, simply take it in at this step, before you sew it to the waistband. In Morgan's case, we cut it a little big and she took off about 2".
Pin the skirt to the bodice/waistband. Morgan placed the seam of the waistband at the center back of the skirt. Separating both pieces into fourths, pin at the center back, side seams of the skirt, and center front. Since the fabric has a four way stretch, you can stretch the pieces when you sew them. So by chance they are not exactly the same measurement, when you pin it together, you are not stretching on section more than the other. 
Ta-da! Beautiful skirt. In less than an hour and a half. Morgan is awesome!!
Morgan is so inspiring. She comes over on her day off, makes this in an hour and a half, and wears it when she leaves. It makes me realize there is no reason I should be buying clothes brand new, at all! 

I can't wait to see what she wants to make next! 

See her first lesson here.

Related Articles


  1. oooo i really wanna make this!!! Great job! Love the color!!!

  2. Thanks so much for this Sally! I've been wanting to make a maxi skirt with that style waist, so I'll just use this, and change the length of the skirt!