I love maxi dresses and skirts. I can't ever buy them, because tall people are not considered in the mass production of clothes. ( I'm sure short people would say the same thing!) Bless you if you are average height and can buy whatever you want. The long length of maxi dresses and skirts in stores nearly always falls several inches above my ankle. This drives me batty! I like it short at the knee, or long at the ankle but not some weird in between! So, when all else fails, head to the fabric store.
When I saw this fabric in the store it just screamed spring to me. I had planned to make a maxi dress out of it, but I wanted to be able to wear it more than just for the next five months. I settled for a maxi skirt instead. The fabric is a soft cotton/poly mix that has a lovely drape to it. I used some white satiny feeling stuff (have no idea what kind of material it is) for the lining that I had laying around. Since smocking looks like summer to me, I used that for the waist.
Here is how you can make your own. Measure your waist = (A). Measure the length you want your skirt to be = (B). I added a gather at the bottom just for fun.
If you want this gather than you need to decide how long the top portion should be (C) and how long the bottom gathered portion should be (D). Cut out these pieces. (optional: I cut the lining a couple inches shorter than my total length...I didn't want it to peek out the bottom at all)
The first thing I did was gather the bottom strips. If your material has a pattern on it, make sure everything is going in the same direction. Mine had me confused, because it had flowers facing up and down. To gather, set your stitch length to the longest it will go and your tension to the tightest it will go.
Attach the gathered portion to the top skirt portion. You will have two pieces that look like this.
Sew up the sides of your skirt. Also, sew up the sides of your lining. Now, attach the lining to the skirt at the top. Your skirt should be right side out, lining inside out. Put the skirt inside the lining. Sew or serge around the top.
Flip your lining into your skirt and then top stitch close to the edge around the top. It would help to iron it first and then top stitch...but my iron and I are not good buddies. I only use it in extreme circumstances.
Next, make a casing for elastic. I made it wide enough for half inch elastic.
Don't forget to leave an opening to thread your elastic into.
Don't put the elastic in yet, we will do that in a bit. Now is the fun part. Smock as many rows as you like around the top. I did 12. To smock, hand wind your bobbin with elastic thread. Sew evenly spaced lines with the elastic thread on the inside of your garment. You can draw lines as guides or use your pressure foot as your guide. When finished, spritz with water and pat with a hot iron. Here is what you should have so far.
See why we are going to need that elastic around the top? I don't think that little ruffle would do any one's waist any favors! Measure your elastic and thread it through the casing. Use a safety pin to speed up things.
Sew the casing shut. Last step is to hem the bottom. I just serged the lining and left it since it won't show anyway. My preferred method of hemming is to serge, fold over and sew. All done!
Time to throw on some flip flops and soak up some sunshine!
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