Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Skort Stack 2010 ~ the skegging morph

Welcome back to garment sewing! Yes, it has been really quilty around here lately, but it's time for a little wardrobe sewing. Remember last years skort stack? Well maybe you don't, but it's that time of year again, the weather has been improving and giving us faint hints that spring and possibly summer might be around the corner which means that I need to get my backside in gear and get going on some summer sewing. My daughter once again needs camp clothes, so here we go - skort stack 2010. I promise, I'll get to the skeggings in a bit.

I received so many questions and inquiries on last years skorts, that I decided to do a full-blown tutorial for this years version. Hopefully, you will be able to take these instructions and turn them into skorts of your very own.

First off, we'll need to make some basic decisions about the sizing of the garment. You'll need to get a waist, hip and length measurement. The length is really up to you, whatever length you prefer to see on your child. Some people like their skirts long and some like them shorter, so it's really just up to personal preference.

Here is the basic layout of the skirt
I will be doing a basic 2 tiered skort, but you can mix it up and add tiers if you like. Completely up to you. This post shows several examples of different styles.
My measurements are for a size 12 this time around ~ for this size you'll need about 3/4 of a yard of woven fabric for the skirt part and a remnant of rib knit or cotton lycra fabric for the waistband. You could probably use cotton jersey, but I don't recommend it - you want some knit fabric with stretch. Here's a good primer on different knit fabrics if you are unsure. And most of all, do not be afraid of the knit! Totally do-able fabric. Really! Let's check it out ~

ETD: If you are sewing with knits - use a serger, if you have one, following the directions in this post. If you don't have a serger, use a 3-stitch zigzag or regular zigzag on a sewing machine for any seams that don't have a woven fabric in them. If you are sewing a knit onto a woven, you can just use a straight stitch.


When I add in seam allowances, this translates to cut pieces that measure:

Waistband ~ 4.5" wide by 26" long
Top tier ~ 3" wide by 37" long
Bottom tier ~ 12.5" wide by 75" long (cut 2x width of fabric if it is 45" wide and then trim to 75" after sewing)
I have allowed about 10" of ease all the way around for the hip measurement - this is a pretty full skirt. If you don't want it as full you can do less ease.

Notice that the bottom tier is approximately twice as long as the top tier. There is a reason for this I'll get to later. Also, the top tier is approximately 1/4 of the width of the bottom one. You want approximately the same proportions in yours. Sometimes it's easier to figure out what length skirt you would like - then divide up your sections by making the top tier 1/4 of that measurement and the bottom tier is therefore 3/4 of the measurement in determining the width of your tiers. This approach should work for just about any child size garment.

Seam allowances are 1/2" and included on my measurements.
Shorts are inserted into the skort at the waistband application point. I don't have a short pattern I can share with you because I usually just use pre-made patterns for ease. If you have one already that fits, go for it. If you want to draft your own, there are many excellent tutes on how to do that here, here, and here so I won't go over that part. You will need a simple elastic waist short pattern for this project. This year, I've decided to go with a knit bicycle-type short instead of a woven short but either type will work fine for this project.

Ok on to sewing ~
First off, sew the top tier into a loop, right sides together like so:

Sew the 2 pieces of the bottom tier together and then trim the total length to 75".

Then sew the bottom tier piece into a loop like you did for the top tier. It's a loop I promise (even if you can't see it really well).
At this point I do something completely unorthodox and I hem the skirt. I find it a lot easier to press and hem before the ruffles go in and I already know that my length will work but if you aren't sure about your sizing - you should probably wait and do this part last. To add the hem, I press up the bottom edge of the fabric 1/4" and iron.

Then I fold the edge over again another 5/8" and press.

Topstitch the hem in place.

Now it's time for some ruffling. I like to use my handy dandy beloved ruffler.

If you don't have a ruffler, don't worry. It isn't something you need to have for this project, but if you plan to sew a lot of ruffles in your future, then you might want to add this to your wish list. Ok, moving on. We are going to ruffle the upper (non-hemmed) edge of the bottom tier. Remember that the bottom tier is supposed to be twice the length of the top tier? That's because we will set the ruffler at 50% - so it ends up ruffling the piece to exactly half it's original length. That way, it fits nicely onto your top tier in assembly. If you are without a ruffler, you can just run a couple of lines of basting stitches along the edge of the fabric and pull on those basting threads carefully to gather up the fabric until it is the same length as the top tier. Another option is the zig zag or dental floss method which Sandi Henderson (Portabellopixie) did a great job of explaining.

Ok, now that we are newly ruffled, the top tier should fit nicely onto the bottom tier. Take the top tier and place it over the bottom tier with the right sides facing and lining up the edges.

You can pin it in place if you want to. Now sew those 2 pieces together using a 1/2" seam allowance. At this point, I serge my seams, but if you don't have a serger, just sew the seam with a regular straight stitch and then go over the edge of that seam w/ a zigzag stitch to prevent fraying in the wash.

Then topstitch over the seam on the outside as shown.
Set this whole piece aside for now.

At this point we need a pair of shorts to insert, so I'm going to sew mine together, finishing everything except the waistline.

Now grab the shorts and insert them into skirt with the right sides of the shorts facing the wrong side of the skirt. Line up the top edges and make sure that the back of the skirt (usually where the seam of the top tier is) is lined up with the back of the shorts (usually the back of the shorts are a bit longer than the front). Pin or baste into place. Set aside.

Take the knit waistband piece and sew it into a loop along the sort edge just as the you did for the top tier piece.

Ok technically here you should use a ballpoint needle on a knit fabric. But I'm lazy and don't want to switch back and forth between ballpoint and sharps since I'm also sewing on a woven fabric, so I just don't bother. I have never had a skort fall apart or otherwise be damaged as a result of this massive faux pas - take a deep breath and all will be ok. Really! Set the waistband aside for now.

Take the 1" elastic and measure the correct size for your recipient. Mine is going to be 26" long. Usually, I just cut the elastic the same length as the waist measurement and then overlap the ends about an 1/2-1". This makes it a bit narrower than the waist, but keeps things tight enough to prevent falling off. Sew the elastic into a loop taking care not to twist before sewing.

Ok we are almost done. Take the skort and place the knit waistband over the skort with the right sides facing, pin in place.

Remember to line up the back of the waistband (seam) with the back of the skort.

Take the elastic loop and place that over the knit waistband and then fold up the knit fabric in half so that it encases the elastic like so.

Now we are going to sew the waistband on. The waistband stretches, since it's a knit, so you should be able to ease it onto the woven skort with no problems. Just pin all around and then stitch it into place, gently stretching the knit fabric to fit the skort.

Fold up the waistband so that it sits like it would when worn. Fold the seam allowance down towards the woven fabric and topstitch along the top edge of the skort fabric like so

And that is it people! We are done! (Sometimes I channel Junie B Jones)

Then make a bunch more!

Doesn't it look fab!! Yes, I think it does!

Ok I know I mentioned skeggings. Can you see where this is going? The only real difference between skeggings and skorts is the length of the shorts - or in the case of skeggings it's more of a legging instead. As for the word skeggings, I have no idea where the term came from. I'll leave you to sort that out.

This pair kind of happened by accident.

Ya' see, I had left my shorts a bit long since it was an untested pattern and I had planned to trim them later after fitting. When my daughter tried them on she loved them that way and begged for more. Hmm ok, so the skeggings were born.

Just goes to show you that there are no rules to this. I hope you enjoy your new garments, whether they be in the form of skeggings or skorts or both!

Tune in tomorrow for yet another skort variation.
Happy Sewing!


random Cindy said...

I cannot believe it has been a year. This time I am going to do it. DD goes to K in the fall and I won't be around to make sure she's not hanging upside down on the monkey bars showing her undies. Skorts it is! (FWIW, I like the sound of skeggings much better than skants.)

Louise said...

Thats brilliant, I love them esp the skegging! I've read both your posts and I have a few points to clarify, mainly as I've not sewn with knit before.
1. Is the skirt made from woven fabric?
2. The shorts/leggings are made from knit? Any particular kind of knit, just t-shirt kind of fabric or something a little thicker?
3. Is the waistband made from the same kind of fabric as the shorts/leggings or from a more substantial knit?
4. When sewing the knit are you using a special knit stitch or zig zag?
5. What about the waistband, is that sewn on with straight stitch or a zig zag stitch?
6. I'm having trouble finding a knit fabric in the UK and don't know the correct terms to use to search for them, are there any technical terms that would help a google search for a supplier?

Thanks for creating such a great tute and hopefully for answering my doofus questions!

Caroline ~ TrilliumDesign said...

The skirt is made from woven fabric but you could make it out of knits as well.
The shorts in this post are made from knit, last year I used a woven for the shorts. Either works fine. The knits should be cotton rib knit, cotton lycra or cotton interlock. Just about any knit will work (except cotton jersey w/out lycra because it is less stretchy). You can use poly/cotton to - I just prefer not to because I don't like the feel of poly.
The waistband should also be made of these fabrics but it doesn't have to be the same as the shorts underneath. You want a medium to heavy weight knit. Nothing too light or tissue weight. Follow the knits primer in the post for more info on knits
Here is my blogpost on sewing with knits.
Use a 3 stitch zigzag if you don't have a serger on knits. If you are sewing a knit to a woven, you can use a straight stitch since the woven fabric won't give and cause thread breakage.

Regina of SandDance Designs said...

these are great, i can't wait to try a pair. Thank you for the tute :)

CraftCrave said...

Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [05 May 03:00pm GMT]. Thanks, Maria

Louise said...

Hey I made some, love love love love them! Will be making more of these! Take a look


Mama Lusco said...

Thanks for the great tutorial. This one was recommended on the SMS forum and will be perfect for my daughters. Added to my 'To Do' list :)

PinkPetunias said...

super cute! thanks!

sebclar said...

THANK YOU! This is fabulous. Skeggings are in my daughter's future:)

Annabelle said...

Love the simple tutorial. I have the fabric and this is my project for tomorrow when I get back home. I found you by accident this morning and just love it all and will now link to you on my new blog annabelleserendipity.blogspot.com Thanks for sharing and thanks for the inspiration - as a new crafter and new blogger I really need this.