Monday, May 16, 2011

{Tutorial: Fat Quarter Twirly Skirt}

Squirrel LOVES skirts. If it weren't for my occasional nagging that she at least put on leggings (and sometimes warm pants) in the winter, she would happily freeze to death in order to only wear skirts and dresses. She loves spring and summer because it means she can wear a skirt every day, with none of those cumbersome limitations her mother puts on her. One of my goals this year was to make some of the kids' summer clothes, and I figured I would put together a couple little tutorials while I was at it.

This is a fun little project that can be easily adapted for your own girl's measurements or the amount of fullness you want.  (Squirrel currently wears about a 4T, but this is easily adjusted by changing the length of the skirt and the waist size.)

For this skirt, I bought 4 fat quarters, 2 of each fabric. However, I have done this skirt in as many as four separate prints with lots of success. You will need your recipient's waist and hip measurements, as well as a measurement for the length of the skirt.

First, lay out your fat quarters on top of each other. (As always, I am inordinately lazy, so I neither washed nor pressed them. Enjoy the creases...)

Once you have them laid out, cut off about four inches from the end. (A fat quarter is about 18"x22", make this cut along the longer end, so you get the most length out of the strips.) 
This will become the waistband of the skirt later, so set these aside. 

(*Note: This skirt makes a length of about 16 inches, so if you need it shorter than that, now is where you will cut off some more length. The waistband will add about 1.5 to 2 inches to the length of the strips you cut, so keep that in mind!) 

Now you will be cutting several strips that are wider on one end than the other. I like the easy math of 5" on the wide end and 3" on the short end, because it makes the angles easy to figure. (But again, feel free to experiment with wide/narrower strips here!) 

Start with your cutting guide one inch in from the edge of the fabric and, in a diagonal, cut to the other end, headed for the corner. (Meaning you will have a one inch difference between ends on this cut.)

Next, do the same on the other side, but with the diagonal headed the opposite direction. You will measure 3 inches of width on the top, and 5 inches of width on the bottom. 

Here's your first set of pieces! 

Now, repeat this again, but this time, the first diagonal is cut for you and this piece will be upside down. 

Continue this across the fabric until you have cut all your pieces. 

Next, you will sew your strips together in alternating fabrics. 
If you are using more than two prints, mix them up however you like. 

You can stitch them together one by one, or you can do them in pairs and then sew the pairs together. 

Once you are finished putting the pieces together, sew the ends together to form a circle. 
Altogether, I used 16 strips for this skirt, though 12 would probably have been enough. 
Just make sure that at the narrow end (which will be the waist) you have at least a couple more inches than the hip measurement so that your little lady will be able to pull it up once the elastic is in!

Next, go back and grab that waistband you set aside. 
You will really only need two of the strips, so choose whichever fabric you prefer. 
Cut them down so that it measures the same as the waist of the dress, leaving space for your seam allowances. 

Sew the strips, right sides together, on each end to form a circle. 

Once you have your circle sewn, fold it in half lengthwise, 
creating a band with a folded side and an open side. 

It should look like this: 

Then sew the waistband along the open edge, leaving an inch or two open. 
This is where you will slide in your elastic. 
(*Note: You can skip this step and simply sew it on to the waist of the dress, leaving space for the elastic. I find that sewing the waistband separately first just makes my life a little easier.) 

Then, cut a piece of elastic about an inch shorter than your model's waist measurement. 
Run the elastic through the waistband, being careful not to twist it. 
Then stitch the elastic ends together. 
(This is also a great place to try the waistband on your little model, just to make sure it isn't too big or too small, and while you can still adjust the elastic in the waist!) 

Once that is done, pin the waistband to the waist of the skirt, and stitch it on, closing the elastic opening. 

Finally, add a hem to the bottom of the skirt. 
I used a small rolled hem all the way around, 
but I have also tacked on some eyelet lace for a fun ruffle at the bottom. 

Put it on your little lady, and let her twirl to her heart's content! 



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  1. She looks absolutely adorable in this! My little Firework would LOVE this!

  2. definitely going to make this! thanks kierra!

  3. Love it! Thank you. I just inherited some "princess" themed fat quarters and didn't know what to make my size 6 girl.


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