Monday, July 22, 2019

Sew A Softie Tutorial: How To Make A Twirly Skirt For An 18" Doll

This is my third time participating in the Sew A Softie Blog Hop, which is the creative brain child of Trixi from Coloured Buttons. I really love this program, because it combines two of my favorite things: sewing and teaching. Sew A Softie is geared towards teaching people of all ages how to sew, sharpen their skills or to learn a new technique. It's even great for those of us that can sew just about anything but just want a simple, adorable, or quick project to make. 

Today, I will be demonstrating how to make a very easy twirly skirt for an 18" doll. This skirt is designed to fit American Girl, Our Generation, My Life or any other similar doll. This is a scrap and/or fat quarter friendly project-which is good because that means you probably have everything you need to get started! If you don't, or you're using this skirt to teach a new student, this is a very low cost project to start with. How great is that??

For this project, you will need:
-1/4" elastic, at least 11" in length
-Main Fabric, a Fat Quarter is perfect
-Accent Fabric, scraps are excellent
-safety pin, extra-large dull needle or elastic puller
-pins, fabric marker, ruler, scissors, sewing machine, iron and ironing board

**Seam Allowance is 1/2", unless otherwise noted** 
Begin by pressing both fabrics. Then cut the following pieces:

From Main Fabric 
(measurements are given vertical x horizon for easy directional print cutting)
-Cut Two  a 5 1/2" x 15 1/2" (front & back of skirt)

From Accent Fabric
(measurements are given vertical x horizon for easy directional print cutting)
-Cut Two at 1 3/4" x 12" (waistband)
-Cut Two at 2 1/2" x 15 1/2" (hem)

Cut one piece of 1/4" elastic at 11"

Set the stitch length on your machine at 2.0 or 2.5, make sure your bobbin is full, you have a new needle in place, your machine is threaded correctly and you know where your 1/2" seam allowance is on the throat plate. Here we go!

With right sides together, sew both side seams (the short ends) of the hem.

 Press each seam open, then, with wrong sides together, fold the length of the hem all the way around, pressing as you go.

With right sides together, sew both side seams (the short sides) of skirt front and back; press seams open. 

Usually, I prefer to press seams to the side (towards the back of the garment) but since we will be adding this type of hem to the bottom of the skirt, I choose to press the seam open. Doing this lessens the bulk of the side seams, making it easier to sew together and topstitch later on.

Now, turn the skirt right side out and match the side seams together. Fold the skirt in half and finger press. This gives you a center front and center back mark; put a pin in place here, or mark with a fabric friendly pencil. 

If you're using a solid, it won't matter which way you place the hem along the bottom of the skirt. If you're using a print, pay attention to the direction the fabric is going. You don't want to end up with an upside down hem! I forgot to take a picture of this step, so I'll do my best to explain it. Keeping the skirt right side out, insert it inside the circle of the hem; pin in place, then stitch together, keeping the side seams, center marks and raw edges even.

Press seam towards the top of the skirt, then adjust the stitch length to 3.0, then topstitch 1/4" away from seamline.

Set your machines stitch length to the biggest it can go, usually that is 4.0-5.0. Beginning at a few stitch lengths after the side seam, and making sure you have about 3"-4" of a thread "tail" sew a line of stitches 1/4" away from top edge of skirt. Make sure to stop just shy of the next side seam, and leave a "tail" of top and bobbin thread about 4" long. Repeat for the other side of the skirt. (I forgot a picture for this step, too, can you believe that?) Set the skirt aside so you can work on the waistband.

With right sides together, sew just one side seam (the short edge). One the other side, measure up and in 1/4" from the bottom and side edges; make a small mark using your fabric pencil.

 Measure up 3/4" from this spot, make another mark. You will not sew the seam between these two marks. Stitch the waistband on either side of the mark, making sure to backstitch on either side and at the edge of the fabric. Backstitching will strengthen the seams for when you put stress on it while inserting the elastic. Press both side seams open, then fold and press in the same way you did as the hem. Mark the center front and center back using your pencil or pins.

Follow the same directions as the hem to attach the waistband to the top of the skirt. Remember to keep directional prints in mind! To get the skirt to fit inside the waistband, pull up either the tail of the bobbin thread OR the tail of the top thread, but not both. Pulling the thread will cause your fabric to gather along the stitch line, allowing you to adjust it to fit. Use as many pins as necessary to keep the raw edges even so you can make a neat seamline.

 If you haven't alraeady done so, adjust thestitch length back down to 2.5-3.0 and sew the waistband in place. Go slowly, and be extra careful not to catch the skirt in the seamline. Adjust the fabric as you go along.

Insert the elastic through the opening you left in the side seam of the waistband using a safety pin, extra large needle or thread puller. Be very careful not to pull the other end of the elastic inside the opening or you'll have to start over. I like to pin the end to the skirt near the opening of the waistband to prevent that from happening. Sew the ends of the elastic together, then adjust the gathers along the waistband.

All that's left to do now is to hand stitch that little opening shut and you're done!

Now that you've made one, the next will go a lot faster. Before you know it, you'll have a whole collection of scrap busting twirly skirts! What a great gift to give at the next child's birthday party. You and/or your child can make a few in an evening and stash them away until the next time you need a gift!

Thanks for following along! Make sure to take a look at the other participants in the blog hop, there are some seriously fabulous projects coming out of this tour! Click here to be taken to the Sew A Softie website.