I’m sure many of us have scraps and scraps of material stuffed in a drawer somewhere. Being the frugal that I am, I can’t bring myself to buy more material, knowing I have a tote full of scraps that can be used. I haven’t made a skirt yet for my daughter, and knowing that patchwork was back in, I decided to put those scraps to use.
With a little research I found that you can use any skirt pattern (for the most part)to make a patchwork skirt. Its just a matter of making your patches the correct size. I wanted something fun and playful so I went with a twirl skirt.
(The skirt originally did not turn out as twirly as I had liked, so I added dart style patches to allow for more play.)
What you will need:
1-1/2 yards of scrap fabric
1/2″ Waist Elastic
Decide on the size of your patches. For a toddler I did 4.5″ square patches (.25″ for seam allowance on all sides). My daughter’s waist is 20″. This is where you can either use dart style patches to allow for the twirl affect, or you can double the waist size. I originally did not double the waist size. I used 6 patches = 27inches. I was hoping this would give a little twirl, but it just wasn’t what I was looking for. Since the skirt was pretty much finished by the time I realized this, this is why I used dart style patches to finish. So enough rambling, you can either double, or do what I did. Just depends on what look you are going for. I’ll try to remember to throw in the tutorial on doubling as i’m showing how to use the darts.
Next measure how long you want your skirt. I made mine 4 patches long = 18inches. The top row of patches becomes part of our elastic casing, so keep that in mind. You can also cut a contrasting fabric to create your casing.
Now we have our base measurements. Since the length is 4 patches, and I want to create 2 layers for my skirt, I need to decide how short I want the top layer. I used 3 patches since once again, the top row of patches is taken up mainly by our casing.
If you are doing darts, you need to decide how many you want. This will depend on how much twirl you want, and again how you want it to look. Since I didn’t want mine to appear too pleated. I used 4 dart style patches on each layer. Since my top layer is 2 patches in length (9″), my darts with be 4.5″ x 9″ for the top layer. For the bottom layer since my length is 3 patches (13.5″), my darts will be 4.5″ x 13.5″.
Now that I have an idea on how many patches we will need and size. The most time consuming part of this is cutting the patches.
Once you have all your patches cut, start laying out and assembling as you like. I tried to make it to where some of the same patterns weren’t touching, that’s just me and i’m weird. Honestly probably the more random the better.
If you are doubling it will start to look something like this:
Whew…I got to where I quit pinning everything because I was only sewing for a couple inches. It helped things go a little faster.
Ok so if you did the darts, you probably have short sections of patches together, go ahead and sew in your dart patches where you want them if you haven’t done so already.
(My picture will show my elastic already in, this is because I added my darts after the fact…the joys of trial and error!)
You should now have two layers of patches. (Once again my elastic is already in place from a previous attempt.)
Next we need to decide how we want the hem to be. You could use bias tape, or just a strip of fabric. Bias tape and I just recently came to an understanding of each other, we have a very love/hate relationship. I went with a strip of fabric cut to the width of the bottom of the dress x 3″. I folded the strip in half, pressed, pinned to the right side of the skirt bottom and used a serging style stitch. I then pressed the strip down flat so it flows how it should with the skirt.
Now is where you need to decide whether you want your top row of patches to be the casing for the elastic or if you want a seperate strip of fabric.
– Using first row of patches – Press .25″ all around the waist, fold over and press again .75″. Sew hem. Make sure to leave a small opening to allow for the elastic. I’ll admit, it’s a little difficult with the seams from the patches, but it’s possible to use the first row as your casing.
– Using strip of fabric – Cut a strip the length of the waist size x 2″. Fold in half and press. Pin to right side of waist line on skirt and sew. Make sure to leave a small section open to slide the elastic in.
Since my daughter’s waist is 20″, i’ll need to decide my length. I made mine 20.5″ (.5″ for seam to sew elastic ends together). I wanted my daughter to be able to wear this skirt a while so I made it right at her size now.
Try and slide the elastic through. My husband has some soft metal banding that I attached the elastic to and was able to fairly easily slide through the casing.
Sew together the ends of the elastic and finish the casing.
And ta-da! It’s done! I wanted this to last a while so it is a little big for now. But it’s something she can rock in the fall with tights, boots, and a cardigan; and still be twirly in the sun come summer time with sandals and a top.