Here’s my first sewing tutorial posted! It’s a really fun to wear wrap skirt with pockets. Super comfy. This isn’t a new thing I just made, however I just finally got everything together and pictures shrunk to web size, so now I can share it with you. Oh, and we’re nearing the end of National Sewing Month. If you haven’t done any sewing yet, maybe this wrap skirt tutorial will help?
Sometime around June 2011 I did two things. One, I went to Borders (not long before they closed) and bought Heather Ross’ Weekend Sewing. Two, I found internet blogs about sewing! I’d been eyeing the book for awhile, and I won’t lie that the Yard Sale Wrap Skirt was a big part of making that purchase decision. I know I’m not the only one that’s fallen in love with it. I was all set to make it too, until I read the directions, measured the patterns, and measured me. Then some Google-fu led me to many reviews saying it just didn’t work right. Enter the craft blog inspiration.
So I got to work making my own version of a wrap skirt. I had yards of this really pretty floral that was probably bought by my great grandmother. I come from a long line of fabric hoarders. I’m a fairly plain person, so this print is nearly wild for me.
I decided I did not want six smaller panels, and thought that it would look prettier without the middle seams. So three panels. As two overlap, you’re going to want each panel to be half the width of your waist at the top. I folded my fabric in half lengthwise and marked the bottom of the skirt. I then went 28” up and marked. Then I placed my French curve ruler, starting from the fold, and measured over a quarter of my waist, plus half an inch for seam allowance. If your waist is 36”, a quarter is 9”, plus 1/2” is 9 1/2”. (OK, I was way too generous actually and so my skirt wraps too much. Don’t do this.) If you don’t have a French curve and aren’t in the sewing tools investment mood, just use a tape measure and curve very gently upward. An inch at most. Now, the fullness of the skirt depends on how far out from the bottom hem you measure next. I did not quite double. This is pretty much the same width as if you were using quilting cotton, say 21”. Feel free to personalize. Then I took my tape measure held with the 28” mark on my waistline and the end at the original hem mark and sketched along outward until I was at the edge of the waist and the width of the hem. You’ll need three of these. I just stacked to cut the next two.
Pockets. I crave pockets. I saw it mentioned on another review somewhere… and where is lost in my brain. I traced around my hand to get a good shape. Nice and deep for a skirt makes sense to me. So, two pockets. Four pocket pieces. Here’s the fun part- two go on one skirt piece, but the other two skirt panels get one each. On opposite sides. I placed them to be at my hip, top of the pocket at 3 1/2” down from the top of the skirt panel. Feel free to play with this on yourself. Front panel right side up, place a pocket on each side, right side down. One panel gets the pocket on the right, the other on the left. On these, I serged along the cut edge all the way down the panel to finish the raw edge. Alternately, sew just the pocket on with a 1/4” seam allowance. A little trick so when the skirt gets seamed together at 1/2”, the pocket seam just sort of disappears. Poof. Press pockets out, seams to the pocket.
Once all four pocket sides are on, place one skirt side panel on top of the middle one. Starting at the waist, sew a 1/2” seam until you reach 1/2” down on the pocket. Stop sewing, and turn 90º to sew the pocket. I did a few backstitches here, optional. Probably not needed if you also topstitch on the outside later, but better safe than sorry. Sew the curve of the pocket until you reach the skirt seamline again! Backstitch, pivot, continue 1/2” seam to the end. Backstitch. Do the other side the same way. Press seams and pockets to the front/middle panel. From the outside, I did a little tackstitch at the top, topstitched down along pocket opening, then tacked the bottom. Just in case I carry heavy stuff.
My next step was the side hems. I think something more than a rolled edge or 1/4” hem is good here for a little weight. I also realized at this point that I overestimated my girth, and did not mind taking an extra inchish out here. So, each skirt side, turn and press 1/2” then another 1/2” so raw edges are enclosed. Topstitch.
I did my hem next. I love having hems done before everything else. Doing hems last ruins the process for me. Blah. And since I despise 1/4” turned hems and own a serger, a nice rolled edge it is! Super easy process once you know. Three needles, settings on your machine according to the manufacturer, blah, blah. I trim off a teensy bit to get a nice finish, but I like my skirts long and hate to waste fabric in seam and hem allowances. If you are serger-less, by all means burn those fingertips on a 1/4” hem. Or hem it bigger for more weight. Or if you think you’re going to get taller and want some room to grow. Whatever. Just make sure to keep the side seams pressed in to the middle. Nothing worse than twisting seams. OK, maybe there are worse things, but I hate it when seams press one way at the top of a garment, and the other way at the bottom. They’re sure to bunch up somewhere in the middle. Oh, and another fun serger tip, run off a bit and finish it off nicely by threading back through the other stitches with an embroidery needle. If you just cut them off, they tend to fray and that’s not so pretty.
OK, just the waistband left! I wish I’d done this better. But I was crafting with three children, working it out in my head, and well… Here’s what’s wrong. I cut three curved pieces to match my skirt panels. The curved pieces didn’t match up with the panels, and then the additional ties were too short. Here’s a bit more like what you should do. Two straight grain strips of 4” wide by 2x your waist + 20”. Our hypothetical 36” person would do 92” (36×2= 72, +20= 92”). If you need to piece because you don’t have unlimited lengths of yardage, do it. Just make sure to cut enough for seams. Say, 2x 20” for the front ties, and 3×19” for the waist. Double that, so you have an inner and outer band. But you’re still cutting with the fabric folded, right? Instant second set. If you want to tie on the side instead of the front, do one tie 11” and the other ½ waist + 11” (29” for our fake person). Alright, moving on…
Once you’ve got two full waist band strips, place them right sides together and sew the top edge with a ½” seam allowance. Here’s a semi contrary to the rules of sewing part. Place the skirt wrong side up. Center the inner waistband wrong side up on top. Make sure waist outer is left free. Align to center the ties as desired. Sew together with a ½” seam. Fold waist band inner and outer back again, right sides together, and sew sides and bottom where the band is a tie and not attached to the skirt. Turn right sides out, poke corners, and press, flipping outside of waistband to the front of the skirt. Press ½” (or 3/8” maybe) raw edge under and pin well, enclosing previous seam. Topstitch all along skirt top.
Tie it on. Twirl. Tell me if you make one, or if you’ve made anything else from the same book! Or did you make anything for National Sewing Month??
Disclosure: The link to the book on Amazon is an affiliate link. I add affiliate links to some posts to help pay for hosting costs.