A Skirt With a Ruffled Train



Introduction: A Skirt With a Ruffled Train

This instructable is about a simple skirt with a little embellishment.
The skirt in this example will close with hook and eye fastenings.
For a more proffesional product, sew in a zipper.

You will need to have some experience with a sewing machine.

You will need to know:
your measurements.

You will need:
2 yards of fabric without an obvious direction.*
Sewing machine, threaded with thread about the same color as your fabric.
Tape measure.
Hook & eye fasteners.

*If you can tell if the pattern on the fabric is upside down, my layout won't be the best option for you.

In my example skirt, I am using a contrasting thread so you can see all my mistakes.

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Step 1: Wash Your Fabric

I turn the cut edges under and sew them with very loose stitches before I wash fabric.  It's your choice, you don't have to.

Unless your fabric says dry clean only, or it is mystery material with what feels like a rubber coating on the back, toss it in the wash.

For most normal cottons and blends, give it a run in the dryer and a quick iron.

Step 2: Take Your Measurements

Step on the end of your measuring tape and measure up to where you want the waistline of your skirt.
Subtract an inch, since your tape is on the floor and your finished skirt won't be.

My length: 40 inches  

Take a comfortably snug waist measurement where you want the waistline of your skirt.
Add 2 inches for seams and overlap. 

My waist after seam allowance: 42 inches

Take a measurement at your widest point and add 1 inch for seams.
If your waistline is the widest point, you're fine.
If your hips are wider, then use that number for the top of your skirt.

My hip measurement after seam allowance: 45 inches 

(I skipped this step on one skirt I made, it still fit, but it was not what I wanted.) 

Lay your yardstick on the floor and take a normal step beside it.
Double that length and add 1 inch for seams.
Now you know how narrow you can afford to make your bottom edge.  (You can choose to make it wider, though.)

My narrowest comfortable step after seam allowance: 59 inches

Step 3: Do Some Math

The difference between my widest point and normal step is about 14 inches.
If I only use 2 pannels of fabric, I have 4 chances to increase, so the bottom hem on each edge will be 3 and a half inches wider than the top.

The front pannel will be a trapazoid, with half the waist measurement at the top, and half the hem width at the bottom.

That makes my front pannel 22 and a half inches wide at the top and 29 and 1/2 inches wide at the bottom, by 40 inches long.

The back pannel will have a seam down the middle, which means we have to add a seam allowance. 

Each half of the back pannel will be a fourth of the waist measurement plus 1/4th of an inch, and the bottom will be a fourth of the hem width plus 1/4th of an inch.

So, my two back pieces would be 11 and 1/4th inches wide at the top, and 15 inches wide at the bottom, by 40 inches long.

The rectangle of fabric you need for the body of the skirt is your front pannel's top width plus both your back pannels' bottom widths. 

For my skirt, I need a piece of fabric 52 and a half inches by 40 inches.

Step 4: Mark Your Fabric

If your fabric is wider than your desired length, then lay your fabric out and fold the cut edge over to make two layers, both half of your needed width.

For my skirt, that's 26 inches.

Mark your pannels; remember that the one on the fold will be your front pannel.

From the fold, measure out half your hem width and make a mark.

Measure up your desired length, there measure out half your top width and make a mark.

My marking for the front pannel, since the fabric is folded, should be 11 inches at the top, and 14 and 3/4ths inches at the bottom. 

Line a straight edge up with those marks and draw a diagonal line.

Measure to be sure, but what is left of the folded part should be your two back pannels, upside down.

From the edge of the unfolded part, measure out a strip of fabric that is your waist measurement long and 4 inches wide.

This will be your waistband.

Step 5: Another Way to Mark Your Fabric

If your fabric is not wider than your desired length, then fold your fabric lengthways so that the machine finished edges, the selvedges, are lined up.

Remember that the front pannel goes on the folded edge and the back pannels go on the selvedge edge.

From the fold, measure out half the hem width of one pannel at the cut edge, and make a mark.

Measure up the desired length and mark out half the top width. 

Line a straight edge up with your two marks and draw your line.

Measure from the selvedge edges to your diagonal line and you will find a point where the fabric is wide enough for you to start your back pannels, upside down.

In this picture, I only show where the two top edges can meet to save fabric.

From the fabric above the hem edge of your back pannels, measure your waistband.

Remember that you will be measuring from the fold, so measure four inches high by only half your waist measurement long.

Step 6: Cut!

You're sure you measured right?

Then cut!

Keep your leftover fabric on hand, you will use it in this project.

Step 7: Sew Sides

You want all your stitching on the inside, so when you put the pieces together remember to make them inside out.  Do this by putting the outside, or right side, of the pieces agianst each other. 

When you pin, make your pin perpendicular to the edge and make a small stitch, and make the pin's head reachable when you hold your fabric so the cut edge is on the right.

When you start a seam, sew about a half inch down, then reverse the machine and follow the line you just made, then sew down it again.  This keeps your seam from unraveling.

Pin the front pannel to both back pannels down the angled sides.

Starting at the top, sew a nice seam at 4/8ths of an inch away from your cut edge all the way to the bottom.

Pull out your pins as they get near the needle.

Step 8: Is Your Fabric Fraying?

Some types of fabric fray easily.  If you see your fabric fraying along its cut edge, you can do any of the following things.

If you can make your seam allowance bigger:

Zigzag your seam: After you have sewn your seam, set your machine to zigzag and sew to the right of your seam.

Make French seams:  Make each seam in your garment outside out, as if you wanted your seams to show when you wore it, and sew it close to the edge.  Then turn the seam inside out, press it with an iron, and sew a seam as if the stitched edge were still cut edges.

Make fake French seams:  Turn your edges under and press them with an iron, then sew to the right of your seam and you will sew that fold in place.

If you can't make your seam allowance bigger:

Pink your seams: After you sew your seams, cut your edges with pinking shears, they will leave a zigzag pattened cut.

Make 'racing stripes':  Take a piece of ribbon the length of your seam, sew the edges under so they don't fray, and sew its edge to the fabric on both sides of your seam.  You could also make these seams outside out, if you wanted to show off your ribbon.

Step 9: Add Waistband

Turn the short edge of the waistband over 1/4th of an inch and sew it down on both sides.

Pin the edge of your waistband to the top of your skirt, right sides against each other.

Your skirt body may be a little bigger than your waistband.
- Fold the skirt and the waistband in half to find the center of each.
- Mark the center of each with a pin.
- Pin the center and each edge of the waistband to the center and each edge of the skirt.
- Pin from those thre points toward the side seams.
- Pinch the extra material on either side of each seam.
- Fold and pin the pinches over to make a little pleat over each seam.

Pin the cut edges of your seams to one side as you pin your fabric down.

It might be hard to make those places smooth, but don't worry.

When you reach the edge of the skirt, fold the edges of the back pannel over a small amount, and turn the edge of the waistband over a second time.

Sew a nice straight seam as much as 6/8ths in from the edge.

Sew a wide zigzag to the right of your seam.

Step 10: Finish Waistband

Fold the top edge of your waistband over by 1/4th of an inch and press it down with an iron or even sew it down.

Turn the folded top edge over and pin it to the inside of your skirt, just under the seam where you sewed it to the top edge of the skirt.

Sew the top edge of the waistband to the skirt: this stitching will show on the outside, so make a nice straight line and try to sew very close underneath the first seam.

A line of stitching just under the fold of the waistband is unnoticable, one just on the fold looks nice if it is straight.

If you pin and sew this line with the outside up, you will make a nicer looking line.

Step 11: Sew Back Pannel

Place your back pannels right sides together with their straight edges together and, starting about two inches down from the top, pin them together.

If you want a nicer fastening for your skirt, add a zipper now.
 - Leave a longer opening at the top, just shorter than your zipper.
 - Turn the edge of the opening under and sew it to the fabric on the edge of the zipper.
 - The very end of the zipper should be covered by the start of the seam. 

Two inches from the top, start sewing, and sew all the way to the  bottom edge.

Sew a nice straight seam at 4/8ths, pulling your pins out as they get near the needle.

Zigzag to the right of your seam, or treat fraying in your chosen way.

Step 12: Go Crazy

From your unused fabric, cut three or more strips from selvedge edge to selvedge edge, seven inches wide.

If you want, you can cut triangles off each end of one long edge to make the strip narrow as it gets to the end.

Hem the two short edges and one long edge of each strip.

If you laid your skirt out similar to step 5, you will also have three triangular pieces of fabric left over that you can use.

Fold each piece inside out to find its center.

Place the strip upside down on the skirt - The hemmed long edge pointed out and toward the top of the skirt.

Pin the center of the unhemmed edge on the seam at the back of the skirt, eight inches from the bottom edge, right sides together.

Pin the edges of the strip two inches in from the side seams.

Pin little folds into the strip as you pin from edges to center, until the strip fits on the skirt.

Make the folds symetrical, or increase in size as you get to the center, or make them tiny on one side and ridiculously large on the other.

Sew only the unhemmed edge to the skirt.  make a nice straight line of stitching.

Flip the ruffle  over.  Can you see any stitching at the top?  Are there any folds that you didn't catch with your stitches?

Put more rows of ruffles on in this manner.

Step 13: Hem and Add Fastenings

If you have a friend with you, stand on a chair, wear the skirt, and have them pin 1/4th of an inch all the way around.

If you are alone, pin it up, then wear it in front of a mirror.

You might have to adjust the depth of the line a little, but don't worry about it too much.

Sew the pinned line down.

Fold it over one more time, to suit your height, and sew it down.

Hand sew hook and eye fasteners at the waistband and at the opening on the skirt.

Cut any hanging threads off.

You did it!

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