I must admit, I am a LAZY sewer. This is mostly the case when I am working on a personal project and not necessarily when sewing for other people. In fact, I am quite OCD when it comes to things I make to sell or gift away, but if I can find an efficient way to cut corners and save time, then I surely do! Any other fellow sewists out there feel the same?
Lately, I’ve mastered the art of the gathered skirt and can pump these beauties out in a few hours max! I absolutely adore the full, vintage look this style produces when sewn in a lightweight cotton fabric. It is incredibly easy to knock off this skirt yourself…. WITHOUT any pattern! Sound daunting? Well never fear my friends, I am here to show you exactly how! My hope is that this project will help those of you that might want to venture out of the “paper” pattern realm and try creating something entirely from scratch. It is a fun process that you can be completely proud of upon finishing! Here’s a little secret- this skirt is made up ENTIRELY of rectangles! No tricky curves to deal with so it is really simple to cut out! Of course, my pockets are curved, but I suppose you could make them square too if you prefer the idea of only sewing straight lines.
Here is a list of your SUPPLIES:
- Approx 2.5 yards base fabric (the floral print shown above)
- Approx 1.5 yards contrast fabric (the red solid shown above)
- Matching zipper of at least 7″ length
- 2 skirt hooks/bars
- Fusible interfacing (same size as waistband)
- Trim (lace shown above)
Now keep in mind, you can customize this design HOWEVER you’d like! If you prefer only using one fabric and no contrast, then I suggest buying 4 yards. You can also disregard the lace trim if you’d rather a simpler look. The choice is yours!The first step that you should always do is WASH THOSE FABRICS!!! Particularly if they are 100% cotton. As a lazy sewist, I’ve often been tempted to skip this step, but this was always a horrid mistake. I’ve broken my heart too many times after eventually washing my proud creations and seeing them shrink or warp out of shape. Don’t fall into this trap… the hotter the water the better in my opinion!Next up… bust out that iron!! Here is another place I’ve often slacked myself. It is certainly possible to cut your fabrics without first ironing, but cotton in particular wrinkles fairly easily (especially if you forgot it in the dryer too long) and it is much easier to cut crisply ironed fabric. I promise this is still a DIY for lazy sewists…Now that you’re freshly ironed, lay out your yardage and see how much it shrank after washing. Odds are you’ll be shocked! Good thing you chose to do those steps or your new skirt might have become a mini next time you threw it in the wash!The first thing you want to determine is the skirt length you would like. I wanted mine to finish at 20″ long. The self would finish at 13″ and the contrast would finish at 7″. With 1/2″ seam allowances on all ends, I knew I needed to cut the self at 14″ length and the contrast at 8″ length. Since pieces we’re cutting are merely rectangles, you can leave the width as is, selvage to selvage, which will be gathered around the waist. You’ll be surprised how much gathering you can fit into your waistband! My fabric was 48″ width and I sewed 4 rectangles together… that’s 192″ gathered into my 28″ waistband!!!
Fold your fabric into fourths lengthwise (hamburger style if you’re a fan of elementary school terminology). You’ll see how I’ve done this in the photo above. Now cut along the edge with the four folded layers together… see photo below for guidance.Starting from your freshly cut edge, take out your measuring tape or ruler and mark the length you will cut your self fabric at. I know most sewists will be appalled that I used a sharpie, but it was the quickest object I could find! The marks will be cut off anyways and any possible trace would be hidden in the seams… lazy or efficient??
As I mentioned, I cut mine at 14″ so it would finish at 13″ with 1/2″ seam allowances on the top and bottom. Cut along your marks and now you have your first 4 rectangles! Remember, if you’ve decided to stick with just a self fabric then cut your length accordingly. Now moving on to the contrast fabric, fold this one into fourths that are wide enough for the measurement you need to cut. You should have a good amount of extra hanging down one end to cut the waistband and pocket pieces from (see below). My contrast length was cut at 8″ so it would finish at 7″ with 1/2″ seam allowances on each side. Next up you are ready to cut your waistband from the leftover fabric! Measure around your waist and then add 2″ to that number. My waist is 27″ so I added 1″ for the center back overlap and 1/2″ on each side for seam allowance, totaling 29″. The finished width of your waistband can be whatever you’d like, but I recommend at least 1″ wide. I chose to go with 2″ finished on a fold, so that would unfold at 4″ and then adding 1/2″ seam allowances, I needed to mark at 5″. Thus, I marked this rectangle at 5″ x 29″ and cut it out. You can now cut your fusible interfacing to be half the width of your waistband, so I cut mine at 2.5″ x 29″. This doesn’t need to be exact and if you’d rather a sturdier waistband, you can cut it exactly the same size. For the pocket pieces, I folded the remaining fabric into fourths yet again and found it to be just the right size for a hand to fit! Cut along the double folded edge to detach your layers. Place your hand on top and draw a lazy “U” shape similar to mine below. Don’t stress over this shape… as long as your hand fits inside and you leave the straight edge opening around 5-6″ you’ll be good! This is hidden under your skirt and will never be seen.Cut out your pieces so you have 4 identical shapes like these… two for each pocket!And VOILA! You now have all the pieces cut out that you need to complete this skirt! They should be as follows:
- 4 Self rectangles
- 4 Contrast rectangles
- 1 Waistband rectangle
- 1 Waistband fusible piece
- 4 Pocket pieces
Nicely done!!! Stay tuned for my post tomorrow where I will explain exactly how to sew everything together.