Do It Yerself


Cardigan: Cocolatte Remixed

Skirt: DIY

Shoes: Schuh


Apologies for the dark photos: I had a splendid day out with my friends Fiona and AdeleΒ today, and didn’t get home ’til after dark, but I wanted to show off my new DIY project, so you’ve got some twilight outfit shots.

Late Friday afternoon after I finished work I dropped by Spotlight to see if I could find some charcoal wool-blend jersey for a drapey skirt, but instead I left with a meter and a bit of this amazing striped drill cotton, a steal at $9 a metre. They had it in navy, green and yellow as well, but after a brief flirtation with the other colours I decided to go with my favourite staple of red.

I whipped the skirt up on Friday evening in a few hours, but went patternless, so excuse my dodgy instructions below:

Step 1. Measure out how long and full you want the skirt & cut out two rectangles of fabric with the stripes running horizontally along the fullness measurement. Match up the stripes if you can be bothered (I couldn’t. Lazy, I know)

Step 2. Cut out another strip of fabric for the waistband. I decided to go for vertical stripes for the waistband, but you could easily go for horizontal again. Make sure its twice as wide as you want the waistband to be because you’ll be doubling it over.

Step 3. It’d be crazy easy to make this skirt gathered, but I thought I’d go with pleats. I folded each rectangle of skirt fabric in half then half again, and once again (length wise) then put a pin markerinto each fold.

This way I got seven pin markers at regular intervals along the waistband of the skirt to show where to put my pleats.

Step 4. Now the maths part. I measured the width of the skirt piece, and subtracted the measurement of half the waistband. The remaining measurement – divided by the number of pins – was the amount of fabric that was going to go into each of the pleats. For example: My skirt fabric width was 57″ and my waistband length was 17.5″, so 57-17.5=39.5. Overall I had 39.5″ to go into seven pleats, so 39.5 divided by 7 = 5.64. To get good even pleats I divided the 5.64 in half (2.8″) put that halfway point on each pin, then pinched the fabric from 0 to 5.7 and pinned it behind.

Step 5. Sew a seam along the whole width of the skirt at the waist to secure the pleats. Rinse & repeat for the other side of the skirt

Step 6. Sew the two pieces of skirt up one side, and most of the way up to the other – leaving enough space to insert the zip. Now you’re ready for your waistband!

Step 7. Iron a bit of interfacing on the back of the waistband, then while you’ve got the iron out fold the waistband in half and give it a good knife edge.

Step 8. With right sides together first pin, then sew the waistband to the skirt.

Step 8 into infinity. I kind of forgot to document the rest of the process, but flip the waistband up and over, then finish the inside edge and sew a second seam just above the join of waistband to skirt. This will give the waistband a crisp finished look, and secure the other side to the skirt too. Insert the zip, then hem the skirt, and voila! A carnivalesque skirt most worthy of being teamed with a bunting cardigan!

29 thoughts on “Do It Yerself

  1. It turned out beautifully! I somehow always manage to hem my home-made skirts all wonky. Maybe using a horizontal stripe might help πŸ™‚

    1. Here’s a secret: I didn’t actually hem it at all! The edges of the skirt were the edges of the fabric, so I just left them raw. I get your grief about hems though. I’m SO bad at them. And hemming a circle skirt? IMPOSSIBLE!

  2. very cute skirt, Lilli ^_^

    Here’s a few pro-tips that I think could be mentioned – when sewing for yourself, always -always- pre-wash your fabrics before cutting and sewing, since many fabrics can shrink and do odd things once a garment is made. The most advised way to pre-wash is to zig zag stitch the raw edges (so they don’t unravel) and wash the fabric however you want to wash your finished garment. hang to dry, and iron before cutting. Yes, you might want to get that project started straight away, but treating the fabric (and any lining you plan to use) might save some heartache in the long run.

    There are also pest-control treatments that bolts of material can be exposed to during shipping, and if you have sensitive skin you can experience a reaction/rash/hives

    Also, ironing any seam or pleats after you have sewn them is a really good idea, as it settles the fabric into place, making mistakes less likely to happen.

    Just wanted to share some tips – sewing is awesome, sewing your own clothes is one of the most rewarding creative pursuits a person can have, but some times when something doesn’t work, one can get discouraged from trying again (for instance, if a skirt shrinks after making it)

    also: when pre-washing a colour mix such as the strong red and white stripes, a colour-fast treatment might be handy, I’ve had things bleed into the white in the past.

    all in all, a super cute skirt Lilli, hope the colour stays where you want it and the fabric survives its first wash o__O

    1. Cool – thanks Estherosita! I didn’t pre-wash the drill (I should have, but I wanted to get cracking, lol!) fortunately it’s survived its first wash unscathed! No runs, no shrinkage (hurrah!) I did pre-wash the merino wool jersey I’ve bought for my next DIY project though. At $40 a metre I figured I’d be mad to do so.

  3. you’ve made an amazing skirt!
    I always thought pleats would make us curvy looking more big, but I have to say that on you is really flattering!!!!

    xxx Ylenia | Longuette
    check on my vintage giveaway!

    1. I was surprised too, Ylenia! I actualy had the pleats sewn flat to start with, but it ended up being more flattering with them loose so I unpicked the seams.

  4. Aw. I’m really, really envious of your DIY skirt… and your skill at sewing too. Thanks for the step-by-step instruction for this though. Would definitely try this when I get a chance. πŸ™‚

  5. Country Road/Trenery do some drapey skirts, quite generously sized too, if you cannot find the nice charcoal grey material.
    or I have one I can loan you πŸ™‚

    1. LOL, thanks Cilla – I actually tried the Trenery one on, it’s what made me decide I NEEDED a drapey grey skirt. I couldn’t quite rationalise the $100 price point though.

  6. This skirt is so wunderfull! I’m in love. Sadly I am not talented in DIY…. Why don’t you do a collection on etsy? I would buy this skirt!!!!

    1. LOL, you’re a sweetheart Nadine. My sewing skills are pretty rudimentary, I can’t imagine charging people for my wonky hems and dodgy seams. Maybe one day when I’m better at it though πŸ™‚

  7. This is amazing, I love it, thanks for sharing! I’m getting a sewing machine for christmas and a pleasted skirt is definitely on my list of things to try making πŸ™‚

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