Well, firstly I just wanted to have a go and also it allowed me to choose the width of my chevrons and therefore cut them so they matched perfectly with the width of my pleats!
I love projects like this. Not a pattern to draft on paper but some maths calculations, cutting lots of rectangles and then off you go!
This skirt is definitely a project. Certainly not at all complicated but not a quick whip up. It involves quite a lot of cutting, finishing edges and sewing lots and lots of straight lines, but I think it is worth it. It also involves lots of fabric. The other name for this skirt is "The 3 trips to the Fabric Shop Skirt". I picked a fabric with lots of variation in the stripes and required 3 metres (yes that's right - 3metres!!) to make a 6 year old's skirt. Pick a simpler stripe and I am sure you could get away with a lot less. You will be seeing lots of this stripe and chevrons made from left overs on the blog in the weeks to come- I need to use it up somewhere - I don't want to let it go to waste!!!
To make this project you will need:
- some stripey fabric - I would suggest you go simple until you work out how to cut the chevrons as efficiently as possible - it will save you going to the fabric shop 3 times!! I used home dec weight fabric and I think this weight worked well in this skirt.
- rotary cutter, ruler and mat
- ideally an overlocker/serger. You can finish your edges with an overcasting foot and zigzag stitch. I did this for a few of them- it is a little slow and a little wonky because of the bias cut of the strips.
If you have lots of fabric(!) and are ready to make some chevrons, click the read more button for instructions.
Madeleine's waist is 24 inches which was just perfect when making this skirt.
The skirt has 6 pleats - so for me each pleat will be 4 inches wide (waist measurement divided by 6)
Each pleat will require 4 strips at 1/2 the pleat width + seam allowance (for me 1/2 inch).
This means that I cut each strip at 3 inches - 2 inches plus 1/2 inch + 1/2 inch.
At this stage I cut them a little longer than the finished length of the skirt (20 inches).
To make a skirt with 6 pleats you need 36 strips.
To make chevron you need to cut your strips on the bias. You will need to cut the bias strips in pairs.
Have a look at this picture:
Once you have got your 36 strips cut finish the edges on all of them.
Sew them all up into one piece of fabric taking one strip cut from either selvedge of the fabric so they zig and zag. If you have cut well, the stripes should be easy to line up. Don't forget though, all these strips are on the bias, so you can always stretch the fabric a little to make the stripes match well. Press all your seams open. It should look something like this:
Are you still there? It takes a while doesn't it?
Don't worry... you are almost there.
With right sides together sew the short sides of your piece of fabric together. Start sewing 3 inches from the top of your skirt and reinforce the beginning of your sewing by doing a few forward/reverse stitches. Iron this seam open and top stitch around it. This will be the side opening of your skirt.
Now it is time for top stitching. You will need to top stitch all the pleats that will be visible from the outside of the skirt - 12 rows of top stitching in all. It's not necessary to top stitch the pleats that lie underneath. By top stitching I mean - fold the skirt along its full length at the seam you are going to top stitch - sew a row stitches as close to this fold as you can.
Lay out the skirt so you can see the side opening you have just created. Top stitch the next seam to the left (clockwise) of the opening. Miss the next seam and then top stitch the next one. Miss the next 3 seams and then top stitch the next. Continue in a clockwise direction - miss one, top stitch the next, miss 3 top stitch the next all the way round until you reach the opening again. If all has gone to plan, you will have two seams that are not top stitched to the right of your opening:
The top stitching you have just created will act as a guide to create your pleats. Bring one top stitched seam to meet the next and line it up with the seam directly below.
Now baste all those pleats in place. I found it easiest to baste 1 inch away from the raw edges. Anchoring the pleats at this point will make it easier to get them sewn in nicely when you add the waist band. I sewed this line of basting stitch with right side facing up, so I could watch closely and make sure the pleats were butting up nicely together.
Now lets move onto the waste band
I wanted mine to be 2 inches wide finished - I chose that width because it lined up with the stripes on my fabric well.
So I cut my fabric 2 x finished width + seam allowance (For me 2 x 2 + 1 = 5 inches)
The length is determined this way:
waste measurement + finished width of one chevron strip + seam allowance (For me 24 inches + 2 inches + 1 inch = 27 inches)
Iron your waist band right sides together. These photos are a little confusing as I used a woven fabric that did not have a right and a wrong side. Iron up your seam allowance on one edge only. Sew both of the short ends together.
Now turn your skirt inside out and pin your waste band to it. Pin it so the waist band matches exactly to the width of the skirt. You will pin it so the raw edge of the band lines up with the raw edge of the skirt and you can see the right side on the top with the seam allowance ironed down.
Stitch the band in place with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. You will need to fold the upper piece of the waste band out of the way at the beginning and the end.
Now you can see how the opening in the side of the skirt tucks away nicely in the fold of a box pleats, the pleats match up on the outside and there is an overlap on the band for your button holes!!
All you need to do now is remove that row of basting stitches, make the button holes, stitch on the buttons and she is ready to go.