Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thursday's Craft: Ballet Skirt

If you have been following me on Facebook, you might have noticed that we are right in the middle of birthday season. Besides November, I think September seriously has the most babies in the world (do the math, it may make sense as to why). This month, alone, we are averaging 2 birthday parties a weekend. As we approached the parties, one mother (hey, Kim...again!) asked for me to make a ballet skirt that her daughter could slip on over her gymnastic leotard as they leave to go to ballet class (one busy mom of three, I must say!) I accepted the challenged, and offered it to two other mothers as birthday gifts for their girls for their birthday parties this month.
And so the massive sewing of ballet skirts began! 
I must say that I tend to do a few trial and errors on Abi before I try to make something for someone else. It helps me get through the kinks so I don't give someone a gift that is second rate. With the ballet skirt, the first one took me 4 hours (!!!), a lot of stress, and some nasty thoughts toward the tulle I was using. The first one I cranked out was a mess, I used too much tulle and I didn't make the skirt wide enough, so it would fit like a pencil skirt on my itty bitty little one. After taking a break (a two DAY break), I came back to the sewing machine with a purpose to conquer this skirt. SO glad I did! The ones I finally ended up making came out great! 
So here's how I did it: 

  • Two colors of tulle (I got 2 yards because I was making 5 skirts)
  • Matching thread
  • Matching quilt binding (yes, I said quilt binding. It's my new favorite thing to use)
  • elastic 
  • Safety pin 
  1. Measure the child's waist (A) and length from hip to knee (B). 
  2. Cut the tulle as so: (A + 3 inches) and (B +1 inches) 
  3. Cut elastic: (A -1 inch) 
  4. Cut quilt binding (A) 
  5. About 1/2 inch from the top of the tulle, sew a gathering stitch. Basically, run a stitch across the top back stitching ONLY at the beginning. You are going to need the loose thread at the end to gather into pleats or ruffles. 
  6. Gently (and I mean gently. You have no clue how frustrating it is to get halfway through and then have it break) pull the base stitch. This will cause the material to gather. Do this until it reaches the length of the child's waist, and adjust the ruffles so they are equal. 
  7. Open the quilt binding. Place the top of the gathered tulle in the crease that is already in the binding. Pin close. Along the bottom of the binding, sew a zig-zag stitch. Not only will this help keep any material from unbinding, but it will sew the tulle into the skirt and look pretty. 
  8. (ALMOST DONE!) Place a safety pin at the end of the elastic. Thread the elastic through the opening end of the quilt binding. Be careful to watch the other end. Since the elastic is shorter than the binding, it will get lost in there and you will have to fish it out. Once the unpinned end of the elastic reaches the opening, pin it. Finish threading the rest of the elastic through until it gets to the other opening. Pin. (This will cause the quilt binding to gather...and that is what you want)
  9. Place the open ends on top of each other and sew the waistband closed. I run the stitch and the back stitch a few times to make sure it is secure. 
  10. Voila! Done! 
Once I got this down, I made 3 in about 30 minutes. You really could make quite a few of these really quickly. Perfect for a girly sleepover or party! 

Picture 1 is an example I did by adding a bit of ribbon on the bottom of the skirt. You could also cut the bottom into little loops or points if you want. I liked it just simple. The other one is without. I guess whatever is your fancy. :) 

And PS: I looked, and looked, and looked, and looked for a tutorial on how to do these. I couldn't find one. Now I know why, it was EASY! So, I hope this helps for those who need a visual and steps. 

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