This is a set of instructions for a D.I.Y. panel skirt, one that we'll be wearing during our performance at Burning Man. Well, we'll be wearing it if we don't mind that it flagrantly displays lots of ass. I sort of mind, so the next instructable will be how to create a somewhat more modest skirt from a Lakers t-shirt or some other big purple tee. It will be the same idea but the slit won't go all the way up.
Yes, I know it's fuschia. Yes, I know we agreed on purple. Sorry, it was what I had sitting around.
A note on fabric: look for stretchy but not elastic-y "cotton jersey," the kind of fabric used in t-shirts. When you go to Joanne's Fabrics and say "Where's your cotton jersey?" and they look at you with that "I've just been hit by a brick" expression (no one there seems to know a THING about fabric or sewing), grab your own t-shirt, shake it at them, and say, very slowly, "T-SHIRT FABRIC. WHERE IS YOUR T-SHIRT FABRIC?"
Try to get purple--yes, "Lakers" purple--a cool, bluer, royal purple. If they don't have it, buy blue or pink & dye it. More on dying in the next few Instructables, or email me.
Make sure your fabric is mostly, if not all, cotton. A little synthetic is okay, but too much will make it dangerous when exposed to flame.
Step 1: Get a Prototype.
Grab a skirt from your closet that already fits you snugly.
Step 2: Laying Out Your Template
Fold the fabric you've purchased in half so when you cut it later, you'll be cutting two pieces.
Lay the template-skirt from your closet over the fabric. Align its top with the top of the piece of fabric.
Step 3: Tracing
Using chalk, trace your skirt.
Step 4: Remove Your Template
Looky, an outline! That's the chalk there in the middle.
Step 5: Tweaking It Smaller
About an inch in from your dotted outline, draw another line for the actual edge of your panel skirt. Make it as long as you want your skirt to be; I'm making mine a bit longer than the template skirt, because the template skirt was too short for this project.
Step 6: Cut It Out.
Uh, yeah. Cut it out.
Step 7: Get Your Elastic
You can use any width of elastic; I just happened to have some really wide stuff hanging around. It would look good with any width, really. I think. Maybe.
Step 8: Cut Your Straps
I cut mine about five inches long, but you can cut them as long or short as you want. These will end up spanning the empty space on your thigh between the two pieces of skirt, so if you're a hoochie, make 'em extra long, and if you're all shy, make 'em shorter.
Step 9: Pin in Your Elastic
Align one set of straps at the top of the skirt, at the waist; align the other pair a little lower.
I'm using safety pins to hold the elastic straps in place until I'm sure about how loose or tight I want the dress to be; then I'll sew them in place.
Step 10: All Four Sections
Both pair of elastic are in now. You'll see I'm pinning them to the outside, with the pins upwards facing me; later I can turn the skirt inside-out, making the pins and the raw edges of the elastic on the inside, which is really how we want it.
Step 11: Get a Little Closer
A closer view of the straps held in place with pins.
Step 12: Give It a Shot.
So, flip the skirt inside-out so the raw edges of the elastic are now on the inside, and try that little puppy on. Here, I try mine on and think it's a little too much.
Step 13: Adjust 'til You're Comfortable
While I had the skirt on I pulled the elastic in and pinned it tighter, shortening the open space between the panels. See the next step for how much closer I made the panels.
Step 14: A Comparison
Here you can see two versions of the space between panels: #1 is the new, tightened version, and #2 is the original width, which made me feel a little too...breezy.
Step 15: Ah. Now That's Better.
It just feels like the thing fits better.
After you get it looking how you want, use a needle & thread to sew the elastic in place, so you can take the pins out.
The top in this series of photos is the one I'm working on for the costumes as well. More on that in another Instructable.