Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Simple Biased Skirt

Love to sew on the bias, and especially skirts! Have a nice flair and gives me a perfect excuse to make a lettuce hem. Start with your own pattern, add fabric and FOE (fold-over elastic), and several hours, and a skirt is finished!

First make your own pattern. Once made, use it again and again. I love to use Swedish Tracing Paper. I can make the pattern, it is a durable to use over and over, and can even sew a practice piece before cutting into my fabric.

Take your waist measurement -divide by 2 - and add 3. This gives you the waist measurement.
Take your hip measurement and follow the same formula. I measure about 7 inches from the waist. Find a skirt you love the length, and measure from waist to bottom and add 1 inch. Now you have the length.

Now ready to draw out on on the Swedish Tracing paper (or any otherpaper you want to use).

Find the middle of the tracing paper and mark it. If your waist measurement was 16 inches. Place the 8 inch mark on the middle mark. Now draw a straight line to give top of the waist measurement of 16 inches. From the waist measurement, measure and mark the length. Now you have the top and the bottom. Ready for the hips and the flare?

From the middle mark, measure down 7 inches (hip measurement). Do the same as you did for the waist. Now you are starting to flare out. Place the ruler along the waist edge, draw the line to the hip mark, and continue the same angle to the very bottom. Don't want a flare? Then draw your side seam straight, instead of at an angle. Mark a straight line for your straight of grain line.
Normally for a double cut of fabric, we leave the fabric folded as came off the bolt. Fora bias skirt, open the fabric and fold the opposite direction (lay out flat, now matching selvage to selvage, bring the top raw edge upwards; giving you a double layer of fabric. My fold is not at the bottom which I don't even use). I want to find the bias and do it easily and quickly. Place the ruler at the bottom edge, lay the pattern on the fabric (at an angle). To find the bias quickly, place the ruler at the edge, and place the pattern so the straight of grain follows the same line as the ruler.
Pin and cut the pattern pieces. I choose a silk fabric so needed a lining inside it. I now have my main fabric and lining cut out. My pattern is durable and can be used again and again. Set it aside. By cutting on the bias, I now have 4 nice corners to make into silk scarves! The bottom edge is already nicely "frayed" from the selvage!

Sew the side seams. Since I added lining, I sewed the base fabric and the lining side seams. Press the seams. When adding lining, slip the lining inside the base fabric with wrong sides together. This keeps those seams from showing! Match and pin the waist and zigzag together.
If you are using only one fabric, and not a lining - ignore all the information about the lining. Sew your side seams and you are ready for the next step - adding the FOE to the waistline.

Cut a piece of FOE to match your waist measurement. I always begin sewing at a side seam. Fold the FOE at the fold line with half on top and half on the bottom (right and wrong side of skirt). Select a small zigzag stitch, stretch the FOE as you stitch. Try not to stretch the fabric, just the FOE.

Now my skirt is finished except for the hem. My fabric and lining are connected nicely at the waistline. Ready for the lettuce hems!

(FOE - fold-over elastic has a nice fold line in the center. This allows you to easily fold the elastic having part on top and part on the bottom; coving the entire raw edge. The elasticity gives it just enough gentle stretch.)

Maybe a nice red thread for the lettuce hem? Tomorrow!

Happy Stitchery!


Popbabe7 said...

Thanks for this great post. I have tried a couple of time to make my own pattern for a skirt but find it really hard to draft, mainly due to lack of space!

I really like fold over elastic but it's quite hard to find in the UK (thank goodness for eBay.)

Charlene said...

Even in my sewing room, I use the floor for patterns. Easy to work with Swedish tracing paper. FOE is fantastic, I agree - use for loads of sewing.