The Harmony Drawstring Skirt Tutorial
I’m not sure many people intend to have their kids six years apart. It just happens because of unexpected life or body hiccups, but when the second one comes along you’re so grateful she’s finally here, you don’t really worry about the age difference.
People comment about the spread more than you might think. They’re curious, and so you come up with pat responses like, “there are definitely advantages and disadvantages!” and “I’m sure it won’t matter a bit when they’re in their 30′s. Ha ha ha!”
The truth is, raising kids six years apart does have its advantages, like the fact that you get to experience being a mother to a young child for longer. And the older one can express compassion and empathy by the time the younger one comes along. And the younger one keeps the older one from growing up too fast by engaging her in play. And the older one is a more interesting role model than you’ll ever be.
Like all families, you just love each other, try to make the most of every day, and hope you can do it in harmony. Some days are better than others.
I don’t sew “matchy matchy” things for my girls very often. The young one would LOVE it, but the older one balks. They both loved the Echino prints we had in the shop, however, so I took a chance and made them similar skirts for Valentine’s Day. In honor of the two thumbs up from both girls and the happy photo shoot, I’m naming it the Harmony Skirt. It is quick and easy and should fit girls or women (or hey, boys and men for that matter) of nearly any size. It has a drawstring waist (with elastic) and side patch pockets.
- 1/2 to 1 yard fabric for skirt body (depending on size of skirt)
- 1/3 to 1/2 yard fabric for pockets and drawstring
- 2/3 yard or more of 3/4″ elastic
- scrap of fusible interfacing
Measure and Cut
- Measure around the waist or hips, whichever is larger.
- Multiply #1 by 1.25 (ease), divide by 2 (front and back), add 1 (seam allowance). This is the width of the body pieces. For example, my 4 yo’s waist is 23″.
23 x 1.25 = 28.75
14.375+1=15.375 (round up to 15.5″)
**If you would like a fuller skirt, you can multiply by 1.4 or 1.5.
- Measure from the waist (wherever you like the waistband to sit) down to where you want the skirt to end.
- Add 2.5″ (total) for the hem and waistband. This is the height of the body pieces.
- Cut 2 body pieces using your width (from #2) and height (from #4) .
- Multiply #3 (the height of the body piece before hem and waistband) by .45 and add .5″ (seam allowance). This is the width and height of the square pocket pieces.
- Cut 4 pocket pieces using the width and height from #6.
- Cut 1 drawstring. For the little skirt I didn’t want a long drawstring but for the big one I did. The length of short one is the width of the skirt body piece (#2) x 2.5. For the long one I multiplied #2 by 3, so you could do anything in between. Both are 3″ wide. You will probably have to piece two lengths together in order to make one long drawstring.
Make Holes for Drawstring
- Turn top raw edge of front body piece down .25″ and press.
- Turn folded edge down 1.25″ and press.
- Repeat with back body piece.
- Fold front body piece in half width-wise and crease to mark the center.
- Iron a small piece (approx 3″ x 1.25″) of fusible interfacing across the crease, below both folds on the wrong side of the front body piece. The button holes (drawstring holes) are going to go through this area, so the interfacing reinforces it.
- Turn the front body piece over to the right side. Mark the bottom edge of the buttonhole placement by measuring 3/8″ to both the left and right of the center crease and 1″ down from the fold.
- Put a smallish button in your buttonhole attachment. You want the finished size of the buttonhole to be approximately 5/8″.
- Sew your buttonholes according to the procedures for your machine. My buttonhole stitch starts at the bottom and works its way up. (Always do a trial run on a scrap of fabric to make sure you know which way your stitches are going to go.)
- Open your buttonholes with a seam ripper. (You can put a pin at the top so you don’t accidentally rip through the top stitches.)
Sew The Skirt
- Pin the front body piece to the back body piece at the sides with right sides together, making sure the folds for the waistband are open and aligned.
- Sew the side seams using a 1/2″ seam allowance. You can serge the seams or sew and finish them.
- Fold down the upper edge (already pressed) to form a waistband. Sew the bottom edge, leaving a gap of approximately 2″ for inserting the elastic.
- Edgestitch around the top to finish the waistband. (This is optional, but I think it looks cleaner and helps prevent the elastic from rolling.)
- Fold the bottom edge up .25″ and press. Fold up .75″ and press and pin. Sew to finish the hem.
Construct and Attach The Pockets
- To sew the pockets, place two pocket pieces right sides together. Sew all sides using a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a 3″ gap on the bottom edge to turn the pocket right-side out. Turn the pockets out and press, making sure the unsewn gap is tucked in. (If you’d like to see a demo of how I make nearly-perfect-corner pockets, sign up for my free Craftsy class, Bag Making Basics: Reversible Tote and Zipper Pouch and skip right to Lesson 4. Trust me, it’s magical!)
- Fold the pocket in half width-wise and finger press to form a crease all the way from top to bottom.
- The placement of your pocket somewhat depends on the size of your skirt and your personal preference. I think a good rule of thumb is to place the top edge of the pocket about 1/3rd of the way down the skirt. (e.g. if the finished length of the skirt is 15″, the top edge of the pocket is at the 5″ mark.) Line up the center crease on the pocket with the side seams on the skirt and pin in place. Sew around the two sides and the bottom.
Sew the Drawstring and Finish the Waist
- To prepare the drawstring, fold each end in 1/2″ and press. Fold in half length-wise and press to crease. Fold both sides in toward the center and press. Fold in half again so raw edges are concealed.
- Sew along the outer edge of the drawstring.
- To measure your elastic, multiply the waist circumference by approximately .75. You can make it a little longer or shorter, depending on how tight you like it.
- Thread the elastic through the waistband by attaching a safety pin to one end and pushing it through. Sew the ends of the elastic together, then close the gap in the waistband.
- Attach a safety pin to one end of the drawstring, insert it through one of the buttonholes then push it all the way around to come out the other buttonhole. Tie the ends in a bow. Finis!
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