This pattern for a simple elasticated girl’s skirt is a true classic, with its origins lost in the mist of time!
My mum used to make these skirts for me in the 1970s and many of our customers still make them today for their own daughters, granddaughters, nieces, family and friends.
They are super easy to make, including cutting out they will take you around 30 minutes to make, and they don’t break the bank, typically using less than half a mtr of fabric and under a mtr of 25mm (1”) elastic.
We have listed the requirements for standard sizes below, but as we all know children don’t come in standard sizes! If you want to make your skirt ‘made to measure’ it couldn’t be simpler….
Fabric width = waist measurement x2 *
Fabric length = measure from the waist to preferred length + 57mm (2.25”)
Elastic = waist measurement (buy 25mm/1” elastic)
* If the fabric you want to use isn’t wide enough, or if you want to use a border print, you could sew two pieces of fabric together to get the desired fabric width. To work out the size of each piece of fabric simply divide the width figure in the chart by 2 and then add 12mm (1/2”) for the extra seam created when you join the two pieces together.
** Nothing is written in stone with this pattern, if you fabric is not as wide as you need, but buying extra fabric to make a join will leave you with a large off cut, you could just use a piece of fabric which is not as wide as directed above, your skirt will just have less fullness/gathers.
*** If your fabric is not wide enough, cut two smaller pieces and sew them together. Each piece should be half the width figure shown PLUS 12mm (1/2”) for the extra seam.
If you are planning on finishing your seams with an overlocker/serger you can get away with 25mm (1”) less on the length of your fabric pieces.
A Note About Using Border Prints
We have used two ‘border print fabrics’ in this tutorial as they work particularly well in this situation, the first is from Michael Miller’s Sommer fabric collection and is double border, with the same print running along both sides of the fabric. The second is Michael Miller’s Gnomeville Christmas print (this one has the border running down one side only).
When working out your fabric requirements, for most fabrics (with or without a clear direction) you would use the width of the fabric for the width of the skirt, and buy a piece large enough to give you your desired length. However if you are using a fabric with a border print, this would result in the border being on the sides of your skirt instead of the bottom. To get the border to run around the bottom of the skirt, you need to:
- Buy a piece long enough for the width of your skirt – you will have a large off cut for another project or your stash.
- Or if your fabric has a double border, or a single border but you are happy to have the border only on the front of the skirt, buy a piece of fabric half the width of the skirt piece plus 12mm (1/2”).
‘Rough cut’ your fabrics by cutting slightly more than you need for your skirt. Then wash, dry and iron your fabrics before measuring and cutting out your pattern pieces (the fabrics will shrink in the first wash by approx. 3%).
Step 2 – For those of you using 2 pieces of fabric (if not you skip to step 3)
If you are using two pieces of fabric you will need to join your pieces together. Place one piece of fabric on top of the other, wrong sides facing each other (you will see the right side of the fabric). Sew a 6mm (1/4”) seam down one side and then trim the seam allowance back by approx. half (see images below).
Now turn the fabric out, so that you are looking at the back of the fabric, and iron the seam, making sure the seam line runs along the crease.
Pin the two layers together and then sew a seam 6mm (1/4”) in from the existing seam line, this will trap all the loose threads and raw edges inside the seam allowance.
Turn your fabric out, so you are looking at the right side of the fabric, and iron the seam once more. You can now treat your fabric as one piece.
Step 3 – For those of you using an overlocker/serger (if not you skip to step 4)
If you are using an overlocker/serger, finish your top and bottom raw edges now.
Fold your fabric in half (from left to right), with the wrong sides facing each other – you will be looking at the right side of the fabric (see the next image). Line up the raw edges and pin together along the vertical open side.
Sew the sides together using a 6mm (1/4”) seam allowance, trim the seam allowance back by half and then press the seam.
Turn your skirt out, so you are looking at the back of the fabric, and iron the seam you have just sewn, making sure the seam line is on the crease.
Pin the two layers of fabric together and then sew a new seam down the same side, 6mm (1/4”) in from the seam you have just sewn. You have just created a French seam, trapping all the raw edges inside – doesn’t it look lovely 🙂
Turn your skirt out the right way and iron along the seam line.
Turn your skirt out the wrong way. Fold the top of the skirt over by 12mm (1/2”) and iron the crease into place (if you have overlocked your seams you can skip this step).
Fold the top of the skirt over, onto the back, by 30mm (1.25”) and iron the crease into place. This will be the elastic casing.
Sew along the bottom of the casing using a 6mm (1/4”) seam allowance – make sure the gap between the sew line and the top of the skirt is at least 2.5cm (1”) to accommodate the elastic.
LEAVE a gap of approx. 7.5cm (3”) on the back of the skirt, to one side, to feed the elastic through later.
Now feed the elastic through the gap you left earlier.
Pull the elastic clear of the skirt and sew the two ends of the elastic together using a zig zag stitch. Trim back the seam allowance and push the elastic back into the casing.
Close the gap up left for the elastic.
Finish the bottom seam by folding the raw edge up 6mm (1/4”) ironing the crease in, Fold the fabric up again by the same amount, hiding all the raw edges, and iron once again. Then top stitch or hand sew the hem.
NOTE: If you have used a serger/overlocker to finish your seams you can get away with only folding the fabric over once before hemming.
We love seeing your makes, so encourage you to share pictures of your skirts with us below, on Facebook or tag us in on Instagram (#printstopolkadots) 🙂
Materials Used: Michael Miller’s Christmas Print – Jolly Holly Gnomesville, Michael Miller’s Sommer Collection Double Border Print. 25mm (1″) wide elastic.
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