How to Make a Vintage Skirt

As we continue this month of holiday clothing, I've got a tutorial for you guys!  One of the easiest way to add holiday style to your wardrobe is to make a skirt out of a fun novelty print.  You can use holiday fabrics or even repurpose old tablecloths.

Another plus?  A pleated or gathered skirt is super easy to make... without a pattern!  I've outlined my steps in making a pleated skirt below (with a gathered variation after), and if you have any other questions, need clarification, or would like some additional photos of a step, just let me know.  I'm glad to help!  Vintage skirts for everyone! You'll need 2-3 yards of fabric (depending on how full you want it and your waist circumference), a zipper at least 7" long, interfacing for the waistband, hooks and eyes, and coordinating thread.

1. I made a waistband.
This waistband is my waist circumference + 2" (1/2" seam allowance on each end and a 1" underlap).  I wanted a thicker waistband than my Egyptian skirt, so the waistband rectangle is 5" wide.  (This is a 2" wide band that is folded in half with 1/2" seam allowances on each edge.)  I also added a layer of fusible interfacing on the back to strengthen the piece and ironed up 1/2" of the edge that will be inside the skirt to make it easier to sew down later.

2. I sewed up the side seam of the skirt fabric and made a giant fabric tube.
Sew up the side seam of the skirt to within at least 5-6" from the top where the waistband will go.  Insert a zipper. 

3. I marked the waistband in fourths. I marked the center front, center back, side, and zipper placement on the waistband. (Remember to ignore the 1" underlap at this part, since the skirt fabric won't extend that far on the waistband.)  I just marked them with pins.

4. I measured out and marked the skirt fabric in fourths. Your skirt fabric will be your length (the 2-3 yards), and you can choose how long you want it.  I usually measure from my waist to below my knee, then I add 1/2" seam allowance to sew it to the waistband at the top and a 3-4" extra at the bottom for a deep hem.  (So 1/2" + desired length + 3" hem = total rectangle height) With this long rectangle, do the same as for the waistband: front center, back center, side, and zipper side.

5. I pleated the skirt fabric to fit the waistband.
I lined up the fourth markings on skirt and waistband and then sort of eyeballed my way through adding pleats to each skirt section until it fit the waistband.  I'm 100% sure there's a more exact way to do this, but I can't be bothered with maths in sewing if there's any way around it. In the picture below, you can see the center front of the skirt and the direction of the pleats on either side.  I pleated my skirt to have the zipper in the back, but you can do it on the side if you'd like. I put my "center front" pleats on the exact opposite side of the zipper.  

If you want the zipper on the side, then put the center front pleats 1/4 of the way to the side of the zipper.  If you just lay out the skirt and waistband and visualize it, this makes a lot more sense!

If you'd like to make a gathered skirt, run two rows of basting threads (one above and one below your 1/2" seam allowance line) at the top of your skirt fabric.  After marking the sections with pins, pin the skirt fabric to the waistband. Carefully draw up the basting threads and pin to the waistband.

6. I sewed the waistband to the skirt with a 1/2" seam.
First, sew the end of the waistband that will be on the top of your closure (the part that will have the hook or buttonhole) right sides together, then flip it right side out. Next, sew the skirt fabric to the bottom of the waistband front. Then put the underlap bit right sides together and sew, then flip right side out again.  I like to do all the machining first then finish out the skirt with my hand sewing while watching a movie.  

Finish sewing the waistband back to the inside of the skirt with a whip stitch, remembering to close the hole left at the bottom of the underlap. Sew on your closures of choice to the waistband. I find hooks and eyes to be most secure. Next, blind hem the skirt. 

8. Give it a good press, and it's ready to wear! 

For instructions on how to make a gathered skirt, check out this post.

Have any of you made holiday skirts?  If so, please share links and show us!  Any other tips you'd share for a pleated or gathered skirt?  Do you have any questions or need some clarification on the instructions?

If you haven't already, subscribe on the right to FS emails to get more holiday tutorials! I'm rounding up lots of DIY resources to up your holiday style game!

This post was originally posted here.

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