Elastic Band Skirt

Friday, February 12, 2016

For some reason our post about elastic band skirts lost their pictures, and because it was 3 years old, I thought I would post a new elastic band skirt post. 
Our new metallic elastic also has me wanting to make as many skirts as possible!
Wide elastic is amazing and there are so many options:

First let me say that there are multiple ways to sew wide elastic onto a skirt. 
A. Zig Zag Stitch
B.Two Step Zig Zag
D. Triple stitch zig zag. (really any type of zig zag)
E. Elastic thread. 
F. a way I haven't learned yet.

All of these ways are just as good as the others. The idea is just to keep the stretch in the elastic so you can easily get it on and off. 
The reason I like the metallic so much is because it is hard to see your top stitch. 
All of these methods have a top stitch. The least noticeable is the elastic thread. 

Cut out your fabric. 

You can use just about any kind of fabric: quilt cotton, seersucker, tulle, knit, corduroy, suede, you name it. 


Measure the length you want on your actual model if possible, then add an 1" for the hem. If you are using tulle, for example, a fabric you do not need to hem do not add the extra inch.
I am using 9" for 3T and 11" for 4T. For myself I would use 18-20" depending on the look. If possible use a rotary cutter and ruler for a quick smooth cuts. 


For the width of the fabric it depends on how gathered of a look you want. 
Measure around the waist or where you want the elastic to sit.
A straight look just add a few inches, 
A slightly gathered look add 1/2 of your measurement,
A very gathered look double your measurement (or just use the width of the fabric).
Super gathered triple your measurement. 

For the tulle skirt I just used the width of the fabric twice, meaning I cut out 11" all the way across twice. I actually think I could have done this 3 or 4 times to get more of a tutu look. 

The first step for all methods, make your skirt. 

1.  Sew short ends together to make one large loop with a .5" seam allowance.

2. Serge, zig zag or your favorite finishing stitch on the side seam and the top. 

It is very important that you finish the top.


3. Hem the bottom: Fold it over twice about 1/2". Honestly, you can just do whatever hem length you are comfortable with (pattern allows for up to 1") just make sure you topstitch the hem near the top of the fold in the back so you catch the underneath. For a smooth finish turn your stitch length up a notch.

Next Gather

4.Change your bobbin to a different color. 
Baste the top edge all the way around (or use your favorite gathering method) go past our first first stitch by 1" for an even gather all the way around. 
Using the longest stitch on your machine go around the top edge of the fabric using 1/4" seam allowance. Do this again at 5/8" seam allowance. If you are doing a small skirt you only need to go around once. The larger your skirt the more likely it is that you will break the thread while gathering. Two gathering lines will save you a headache so go ahead and do two. DO NOT BACKSTITCH! 

Sew on Elastic`

5. Change thread color...try to match your elastic as closely as possible. 

6: Sew elastic together by first zigzagging  the raw edge and sewing a straight stitch next to it. It is not a good idea to serge the elastic. You can but it is not good for your machine and the thread color might not match (yes I still do it from time to time). Just for good measure topstitch your elastic down to one side. 

7: Gather the skirt and pin to the elastic.
Holding the bobbin string (remember your different color bobbin thread), gather the skirt. I like to over gather then slowly pull it out while I match the skirt to the elastic. When pinning to the elastic it is good to match up a skirt seam with the elastic seam. If you've got two or more seams  just choose one of them. I like to pin the skirt about 2/3 of the way down from the top edge of the elastic, or you can line your 5/8" gathering line with the bottom of the elastic. You are pinning the right side of the skirt to the wrong side of the elastic.

8: Sew the elastic on.


You want to sew about 1/4" away from the bottom of the elastic.   If you think you will be stretching the elastic a lot, put two rows in.

 ELASTIC THREAD : now is the time to change your bobbin. You will also have to sew on the right side of the skirt. When using elastic thread you can use a straight stitch. Elastic thread is great because you get a clean look on the outside and a lot of stretch on the inside. Every machine uses elastic thread differently. I strongly suggest practicing on scraps. Your elastic thread should look straight after stitching NOT wavy. It has been my experience that on all machines you need with a drop in bobbin case you need to remove the stitch plate and put in the thread the old fashion way and bring the bobbin thread up the old fashion way as well.  Also if your machine has a fix or lock stitch use it instead of backstitching. If you do not, turn your stitch down as small as it will go to create a lockstitch. 

9: Cut your threads and take out any basting stitches. 
Taking out your basting stitches to keep the stretch in the elastic. 

Thats about it!!!
Love your skirt!

My Love for Serging

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Sergers?…   uh oh!!

They are so FUN!!!!!  I don’t know why people hate sergers.  Every time we say the word “Serger” people give us “The Look”…  Now, I want to tell everyone that sergers are soooo much fun!!  They can do so much for your sewing projects.  Please take the time and get to know your serger! This year my Valentine is my Huskylock s21 serger. 

There are many different kinds out there, and they all have something different to offer you.  However, on this post I want to talk about my Serger, the Viking S21 model :).  I bought my Serger a few years ago, and I have to admit I was just like  you!…Yes! YOU…  I was very scared by my Serger.  Just to look at her gave me the blues… four to five different threads, five different needle positions, “21” different stitches -> My thoughts …. I AM NEVER GOING TO USE “21” different stitches! Yeah right!Today, I LOVE every single one of them!!!!  Especially my “Cover Stitch” option on my serger (usually you need to purchased a separate machine that ONLY does cover stitch). 

 Another favorite of mine -> The beautiful “Roll Hem”!  Yes!!  My Serger does the most beautiful roll hem . 

 And my latest favorite is the “Cover Stitch Binding”.  This presser foot is the latest creation from Husqvarna Viking specific to the Sergers.  You can use this foot on your S21 and S25 models.

Now, let me tell you about this beauty.  Like the name states, it is a “Cover Stitch Binding” foot, and Yes!!! you can now bind ANYTHING with a SERGER.  You read that right!  BINDING WITH A SERGER, and it does a beautiful job.  You name it! placemats? napkins? baby blankies, perhaps a quilt?  Why not?  You can bind anything now using your Serger.

A piping foot is another attachment you can use to quickly make your own piping.

Another exciting foot is the elastic foot. I should definitely use this more.

So, PLEASE give your Serger a chance. They are wonderful machines and I think people underestimate the “power” of a Serger. ;)  You are missing out if you have not given your Serger a chance yet!

Sew Happy Always!!


Pillowcase Skirt - A tutorial

Friday, January 22, 2016

Ever wonder what skirt we make in kids camp?
This quick and easy skirt is a staple project in our kid classes at Five Eighth Seams. It is also a skirt my daughters love to wear.
The measurement for this skirt is simple.
2 pieces

Cut 1 piece for the skirt & 1 piece for the band at the bottom. 

WIDTH- both pieces
For the width of the pieces I usually just use the width of the fabric to make it easy. Plus, the smaller and younger you are, the more gathers you should have in your skirt, right? If you do not want to use the width of the fabric, use at least 1.5 x the waist measurement. For a 20" waist you would need at least 30" for the width. You only need more then the width of fabric if the waist is over 30" then cut 2 of each piece instead of 1. This is also true if you are making an adult version of this skirt.
BAND Height
1. Decide how wide of a band you would like. ( I always use 4" for anyone 6 and over and 2-3" for any one younger, just to make it easy). ______________
2. Take the number, double it and add 1" ( 4=9, 3=7, 2=5) ________________ This will be the height of your band piece.
For 6 and over I always cut 9" just to make it a simple quarter yard of fabric. This will make a 4" band.
SKIRT Height
1. Measure from the waist to where you would like the skirt to end. ___________
2. Subtract the first band dimension (-4 for example)  ____________
3. add 1.5" for elastic and seam allowance. , 2.5" for adults _______________ This will be the height of your skirt piece.
For most 6-8 year olds I always cut 12" just to make it a simple 1/3 of a yard of fabric.  For older kids I use 3/8 or 1/2 yard.

Attaching the Band

Now that you are cut out there are 2 ways to make a pillowcase skirt: hotdog method and a regular seam. This is a personal preference. I will be honest, usually I do the hotdog method when I am giving them as gifts as the seam is concealed, but for my girls or when I really am in a hurry I just do a basic seam.
Here is a picture of how they look different on the inside of the skirt.

Hotdog Method. - Concealed Seam directions

1. Right Side up lay down your band fabric. If you are using directional fabric, lay it so that design is upside down, right side up.
2. Lay down your skirt fabric right side down, bottom raw edge matching the raw edge of your band. You will not be able to see your band any longer.

3. Starting at the top, roll the skirt fabric down until you can see half of your band fabric.

4. Fold the top of the band fabric down, matching the raw edges together. You will have 3 layers of fabric. Pin the three layers together, make sure you do not catch the rolled fabric (your hotdog).

5. Sew a 1/2" seam all the way down the raw edge. Make sure you do not catch the rolled hotdog.

6. If you would like to finish the edge you can however, it will be encased so you do not have to.
7. Pull the hotdog out of the bun (the skirt out of the band).

8. Press.

Regular Seam-  directions

1. Press your band fabric wrong sides together down the long side.
2. Lay down your skirt fabric right side up, lay your band down matching the raw edges. Pin

3. Sew a 1/2" seam and finish the raw edge. Press the band down.  That's it.

Sew the side seam

1. Folding the skirt over, right sides together, match the side seam. I suggest making sure the bottom of the band lines up. I like to fold the bottom corner over. Sew inside the selvage - any seam allowance will do.

2. Finish the edge, making sure the bottom corner is folded. I like to use Fray Check on the bottom of my serge.

Create a casing

1. Fold over the top raw edge about 1/4". I just eyeball this, just trying to be consistent. Press.
2. Fold the edge over a second time about 1/2" or a little larger then your elastic. If I am making an adult skirt, I fold it over an inch. Use your elastic to measure this.

3. Top stitch the casing down using a little longer stitch. Make sure you stay close to the bottom folded edge. Leave an opening to put the elastic in.
4. Cut your elastic. I cut 1" shorter then the waist measurement. (If a 20" waist, I cut 19")
4. Thread the elastic through using a safety pin. Sew the elastic together at the end. (I use a zig zag for this). Pulling the skirt flat, sew together your hole shut.
That's it!  Your skirt is complete!
Three cute skirts made in 6-8 year old class by three even cuter girls.

Fabiana showing off the skirt she made in her first real sewing class

The final 2 skirts

Variations of the Birthday Dress

 Click here for Debbiebrooke.combirthdayvariations

I have made so many birthday dresses, more then I can count. My girls love wearing the dresses so to make more I have been changing them just a little bit just to mix it up.

 This summer I made two dresses with more variations.

For Mackenzie's Dress I omitted  the sleeves, added a gathered ruffle around the pleat, only used one piece for the skirt instead of two and shortened it by 3 inches.



For Braelyn's Dress I removed the pleat completely by making the front piece like the lining. I also added piping aroung the neck, arms and back line, I omitted the sleeves and only used one piece for the skirt. I also shortened it by 3 inches. For the bow I cut one long piece on the fold to the selvage. I used 55" seersucker so it was very long. I placed it on the bodice with the seam of the skirt about half way up. I then sewing down the side seams to tack it down.



This is Elise she made this dress in Kids Camp, I've always thought that for the older girls the dress looks best without the angel sleeves.  She also only used one piece for the skirt instead of two for a less gathered look. She also added an invisible zipper. To add an invisible zipper just cut 1" off both back pieces and the lining then add the zipper!


Here are a few of the other variations I have made.

You may remember I made the Cinderella and Snow White versions of the Birthday Dress for our one day Disney World trip last year. Creating those were really just fabric and color choices and with a few added elements.




This is Mackenzie's Care Bear Dress made with a vintage pillowcase.

Please share your Birthday Dress Variations on my facebook group or page  to win a free Together Tank pdf pattern!


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