Let me just start this post by saying, I LOVE me some fabric! In fact, I have way, way, way to much of it. Every time I take one little step into the fabric store, I can't help but see something I know absolutely cannot live without. I can probably thank Pinterest for this dirty habit, considering my sewing board is filled with an endless amount of projects that I WILL one day complete! Ha, who am I kidding? Most of the tutorials will go unattempted, but they sure do look pretty sitting in cyber space, and they definitely do inspire.
Since I've started sewing about a year ago I tend to look at everything, and I mean EVERYTHING I can get my hands on. I turn items inside out, I examine stitching, I determine type of material used, I attach a value, and I figure out if it's makeable by me. And, to be honest, most things that I hold in my hand are makeable, but not necessarily cost effective or time reasonable. But, I never let that stop me! Sewing isn't always about those things, sometimes it is about gaining skill, or better yet having fun.
Recently as I was putting clothes away in Giulietta's closet, my eye caught hold of an almost too small light gray tulle skirt that we both have loved over the past year. It is puffy, but not too puffy; it twirls wide, but not too wide; and, it is fancy, but not too fancy. It is pretty much perfection in the form of gray tulle and satin turned skirt, and I wanted more. So, I did a quick inspection, made notes for what type of material i could use to replicate this gem, and headed off to the store.
With Halloween right around the corner, I decided on 1 yard of stylish red spider tulle for the top layers, 1 yard of red 100% cotton for the bottom layer, and a few yards of 1 inch thick elastic for the waistband.
I started my project by taking the gray skirt I was trying to model after, and measuring the waistband (you want to do this carefully in order to not stretch the elastic), and length. Giulietta's original gray skirt was a size 4t, and measured 19 inches around (elastic band) , and 10 inches in length. Since I wanted her to be able to wear this skirt a while (maybe two Halloween's if I'm lucky), so I decided to add an extra 2 inches to the waistband and length respectively.
I cut my 45 inch wide red spider tulle fabric into four separate 6 inch strips.
Then, I took two 6 inch strips of the red spider tulle right sides together, and serged them into one (you can sew them as well). I repeated the step above with the other two 6 inch strips of fabric.
Taking one of my two long strips of 6 inch wide red spider tulle fabric pieces, I gathered one edge by simply running the fabric through my serger. You can gather on your sew machine as well, it really makes no difference. The amount you gather is solely up to your preference, and it can always be adjusted for the length of material you are connecting this layer to. If you have never gathered on your serger, you are missing out on a real treat! In fact, that was one of the main reasons I bought my serger. I hated gathering like the next person, but loved the look of it, and wanted something that would make the job way easier. I found an awesome Tutorial over at Everything Your Mama Made & More! that is worth checking out if you need help gathering on either type of machine.
With both stripes of 6 inch red spider tulle fabric gathered and placed to the side, I found my 45 inch wide red fabric and cut it to 14 inches in length.
I then took my piece of red fabric and hemmed the bottom 1/4 of an inch or so that way it would not fray during playtime or while washing. Next, I stretched my red strip of fabric out all 45 inches, and began pinning my gathered red spider tulle fabric to it. I made sure that the tulle overlapped the bottom layer of red 100% cotton by about a quarter of an inch.
I think it is important to mention here that when I make skirts for my girls, or anyone else really that when I want to figure out how much fabric I will need to fit nicely around I simply double the length of the waistband. So, with this skirts planned waistband at 21 inches, I would typically use 42 inches of fabric, but I figured 3 more inches of fabric would only make it that much more full and fun so I continued on with the 45 inch wide red fabric!
Once I had the first layer pinned, I went ahead and ran it through my sew machine making sure I locked in my stitches on both ends.
I then laid out my red fabric with one layer of spider tulle attached, and followed the same step above while connecting the second layer. I paid close attention to make sure that the top layer overlapped the bottom one by about 1/2 an inch this time. Once pinned, I quickly ran this second row through my sew machine using a straight stich and making sure both ends were locked securely in place.
With my almost complete skirt laid out again, I folded over the top of my skirt 1/4 of an inch, and then again another inch and pinned. I made sure that my waistband tube that I was making was low enough to cover the top of my red spider tulle, so that the seams were hidden.
When the length of the skirt was pinned, I again ran it through my sew machine using a simple straight stitch locking both ends.
Setting the skirt to the side, I measured and cut my elastic to 22 inches. Considering that I wanted my waistband to be 21 inches when complete, I decided to add an extra inch for a hem allowance.
I picked up my skirt and guided my elastic through the newly sewn waistband.
Once the elastic was guided all the way through the waistband, I folded my skirt in half, lined up the two edges, pinned and ran them through my serger (a sew machine will do the job just fine, but my serger gave me a nice finished edge).
I turned my skirt inside out, and pushed the fabric around the waistband to my liking.
After cutting all the loose threads, and attaching a tag on the inside, I excitedly called Giulietta in from the other room so that she could give her new skirt a try.
With her smile spread from ear to ear, my girl danced, my girl twirled, and my girl held her new favorite skirt tightly between both her hands as she bounced around our backyard singing and dancing.
With this two tier skirt being such a hit with Giulietta, I decided to make my little Presley a matching one too with the leftover fabric. Her response when she saw it was, "Cute Momma, Cute!" The simple pleasure my girls get from me making them fun things truly melts my heart and reinforces the reason why I stay up to all hours of the night sewing, creating, and having fun.
Since making these Halloween skirts for the girls, I've already ventured to the fabric stores nearby and stocked up on more tulle in addition to some fun coordinating cottons in order to make the ladies a few more two tier skirts to add to their collection.
If you aren't savy sewing, or don't have the time to make these skirts, you can find a generous selection of them for sale on my ETSY store. Keep in mind if you don't see something to your liking, it doesn't mean that I don't have it or that I can't make it; I just haven't. So, please contact me with a simple e-mail, or an Etsy or Facebook message, and ask! I'd be happy to give anything a try!
Happy Sewing & Shopping!