A couple of years ago, we moved to a new, football-obsessed city. Every Friday when the local team plays, all the school children dress up in the team colors. The boys wear jerseys and all of the girls wear cheerleading uniforms. We don't follow sports, but when my little girl begged for a cheerleading uniform, I wanted to get one for her. Unfortunately, the official uniforms cost more than $30 each--a little steep for an outfit only worn on game days. After looking at a few of the skirts in the shops, I decided I could make one myself.
Here is how to make a great little cheer skirt for girls. It's a wonderful way to show team spirit or would make a great costume. I've also made a couple for her to wear as little summer skirts.
So, to do this you will need
Fabric in the dominant color—twill or poplin are recommended; lightweight cotton and cotton blends work, though do not hang as well.
Fabric in the flash color—use the same type of fabric as the dominant color
Half a yard of each color fabric is plenty for most younger girls
Zipper (in the example, a 7” zipper is used and cut down to size)
Medium-weight, iron-on interfacing
Desired skirt length
Length from the waist to mid-buttock
Step 1: Taking Measurements
Since this is done without a pattern, we need a few measurements to get it to fit.
1) Begin by taking measurements of the wearer’s waist.
For our example, we will assume a waist size of 22”, approximately a toddler’s size 5.
Divide this number by 6.
22 6 = 3.66666. I will round this to 3.6”.
2) Add 1” to the answer in order to create a ½” seam allowance on either side. This is to be the width of your panels.
3.6” + 1” = 4.6”
3) Measure the desired length of the skirt.
For our example, we will use a length of 8”, again approximately a toddler size 5.
Add 1 ½” for seam allowance and hem. This will be the length of your panels.
8” + 1 ½” = 9 ½”
Step 2: Cutting the Fabric
Ok, now that you've got your measurements, we are ready to start cutting.
1) From the dominant color fabric, cut 5 rectangles which are the length and width you just calculated.
For our example, we will cut five panels that are 4.6” by 9 ½”.
2) Out of the flash color, cut six rectangles the same size as the panels you just cut from the dominant color.
We will cut six 4.6” by 9 ½” panels from the flash.
1) Add 1” to the width you previous calculated. This will be the seam allowance for installing a zipper.
4.6” + 1” = 5.6”
2) Cut one panel from the dominant color that is this newly calculated width by the established length.
We will need one panel that is 5.6” by 9 ½”.
3) Cut the wide panel in half.
Step 4: Cutting the Waistband
1) Add 3” to the waist measurement.
22” + 3” = 25”
2) From the dominant color, cut a strip that is 4” wide and the length of the waist + 3” long.
4” by 25”
3) Cut a piece of interfacing that is 2” wide and the length of the waist + 3” long.
2” by 25”
Step 5: Begin Sewing
1) Begin with one of the narrow strips of the dominant color. With right sides together, sew it along its length to one of the six strips of flash color.
2) Sew the panels together, alternating between the dominant color and the flash. End with the second narrow strip of dominant color. You will end up with one long strip.
Step 6: Ironing
Now this is the trickiest part of making the skirt. Pinch the flash together so it isn't visible--
Iron each of the seams into a fold. If you have problems ironing the seams perfectly, make sure that, no matter what you do, it is the dominant color and not the flash showing at the seam.
Iron the flash panels flat so that half of each panel is on either side of the seam joining the dominant color panels.
Measure from the wearer’s waist to mid-buttock. This will be the length of the fitted portion of the skirt.
In this case, 4”.
Sew each dominant-colored panel to the dominant-colored panel next to it. The flash color should bubble out behind the dominant colors.
Sew these together from the top of the skirt to the length you just measured.
So here, I sewed from the top to the skirt to 4" down.
Step 7: Sew the Panels Down
1) Sew each dominant-colored panel as close to the seam as possible down the length of the seam, across the seam, and back up the other side, making a long, squared-off U.
I like to back-stitch across the bottom a couple of times, since this seam will take the most stress.
2) Decide on your desired zipper length. Mark the zipper length on the narrow, dominant-colored panels.
3) Sew the two narrow panels together to the mark, leaving a ½” seam allowance on either side.
4) Insert the zipper by the manufacturer’s directions.
Step 8: Finishing Up
1) Fold the waistband in half lengthwise and iron. On one half, iron the interfacing to the waistband.
2) Beginning on the left side of the zipper, leave ½” seam allowance and pin the waistband to the skirt, right sides together.
3) Sew the waistband to the skirt.
4) With right side together, sew the ends of the waistband together. Clip and turn.
5) Fold the seam allowance into the waistband. Press.
6) Sew along the waistband as close to the seam as possible.
7) Sew buttonhole into the tab on the waistband.
8) Mark where the button should be, and sew on a button.
9) Finish all the seams and hem the skirt with a narrow hem.