Tuesday, September 20, 2016

September Tutorial Tuesday #3 - Knit Yoga Pencil Skirt

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Hey there! It’s Melissa here from Made by Melli. I’m thrilled at the opportunity to guest post here at Whimsical Fabric! I am going to walk you through creating a knit fabric pencil skirt, custom fit to your body! I am using these beautifully soft Art Gallery knits that can be found  HERE and HERE . (Hint: Read all the way to the bottom of this tutorial for a special sale we have right now on knit fabrics!)

I don’t know about you, but even when I’m dressed up, I like to be comfortable! Most Sundays, I wear knit fabric maxi skirts with yoga waistbands. I feel like I am wearing my pajamas to church, and it’s wonderful! To dress that up just a notch, I decided that it would be great to have a knit fabric pencil skirt with a yoga style waistband. My body proportions are not your typical “hourglass” shape. I know that women come in many shapes, sizes, and heights! So I will show you how to customize your skirt to get just the right shape and length for your body!

Here is a list of what you will need to create your skirt!
  • 1-2 yards of knit fabric with at least 50% stretch and excellent recovery.
    These Art Gallery and Riley Blake knits
    are 95% cotton and 5% spandex, so they will work beautifully
  • Coordinating thread
  • Measuring tape
  • Fabric scissors & pins OR a rotary cutter and quilting ruler
  • Fabric marking pen
  • Ball point or stretch needle
  • Optional - Twin Stretch needle
  • Optional – wash away wonder tape for hemming
  • Optional – Wonder Clips

We will start by taking some measurements. I made this little diagram that you can print out to keep as a reference.
NOTE: Click on the image above to save as a PDF. When printing, choose Fit to Page and NOT Actual Size. This is opposite of most PDF patterns.
  1. First, you will measure around your natural waist. Mine is 41". (This will be a high waisted skirt) Subtract 4” from that to get Measurement A. (for me – 37")
  2. Next, you will measure around your belly, right around where your belly button is. Mine is 42". Subtract 2” from that measurement, and then divide that by 2. This will be Measurement B (for me – 20").
  3. Next, measure around your full hip, around the widest part of your bum. Mine is 44". Subtract 2” from that measurement, and then divide that by 2. This will be Measurement C. (for me – 21")
  4. Next, measure from your belly button down to your full hip. Try to get this measurement straight down. This will be Measurement D. (for me – 8.5")
  5. Next, measure from your full hip down to your knee, or wherever you would like your skirt to hit. This will be Measurement E. (for me – 16")
  6. Lastly, take your full hip measurement again and subtract 3”. Then divide that number by 2. This will be Measurement F. (for me – 20.5")
Now that you have all of these measurements written down, let’s get started! First we are going to cut our yoga waistband. You are going to cut your waistband 8” long by [Measurement A]. For my waistband, I cut it 8” long x 37" wide. You can either create a paper pattern piece using these measurements, or just use your rotary cutter and quilting ruler. If you’re using your rotary cutter but your ruler isn’t long enough, fold your fabric in half or fourths width-wise and then cut the length of your waistband as shown in the picture below.

Once your 8" length is cut, unfold your fabric once, so your waistband is now folded once width-wise. Since my waistband is folded in half, I took my waistband width measurement (37") and divided it by two, and cut at the 18.5" line. Now when I unfold the waistband, it is 8" long x 37" wide.

I am not going to create a paper pattern piece for my skirt front & back, but you can if you want to. I am just going to draw my pattern piece directly on the fabric using a fabric marking pen, and then cut it out. Make sure to test your fabric marking pen to make sure it will fully come out of your fabric.

First, we are going to fold our fabric RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER, width-wise (selvage to selvage). The front and back of our skirt will be identical, so this will make it easy to just sew up the side seams once we are done cutting! To mark the center of my skirt, I am first going to fold my fabric piece in half width-wise AGAIN, so it is now folded into quarters. Press the center seam. Unfold your fabric so it is again folded in half with right sides together.

Now I am going to mark a line at the top using Measurement B. Make sure the middle of your measurement (for me – 10”) is at the center crease you pressed.

Then go down the center crease, the length of Measurement D. (for me - 8.5") Mark this point on the center crease.

At that point, draw a straight line the width of Measurement C. Again, make sure the center point of Measurement C (for me – 10.5”) falls on the center crease.

Then go down the center crease from that point, the length of Measurement E. (for me - 16") Mark this point on your center crease.

At this point, draw a straight line across using the width of Measurement F. Again, make sure the center point of Measurement C (for me – 10.25”) falls on the center crease.

You now need to add your hem allowance below this line. Go straight down 1” and draw another horizontal line the same width as the line directly above.

Now all you need to do is draw a tapered line down each side to create your skirt side seams. We are now ready to cut!

I prefer to use my rotary cutter, but you could also use regular fabric scissors. If you are using a rotary cutter, throw a few pattern weights inside the edges before you start cutting to keep both layers of your fabric in place. If you are using scissors to cut, pin in a few spots inside the edges of your skirt pieces to keep your layers of fabric in place.

Once your skirt pieces are cut out, pin or Wonder Clip down the side seams.

I am going to sew my skirt on my serger, but you can use a regular sewing maching using a stretch stitch or a narrow zig zag stitch. Sew your side seams with a 1/4” seam allowance. Set your skirt aside for now.

Take your waistband piece, and fold it in half width-wise with right sides together.

Sew down the short side with a ¼” seam allowance to create a loop.

Now take your loop, and fold it in half lengthwise with WRONG sides together, enclosing the seam you created in the previous step.

This seam will now be the center back of your yoga waistband. Using the seam as the center back, mark your waistband in quarters using pins or Wonder Clips.
Using the side seams of your skirt, mark the top of your skirt in quarters. With your skirt RIGHT SIDE IN, and your waistband piece RIGHT SIDE OUT, place your waistband INSIDE the skirt (upside down) and align the raw edges.

Match up your quarter points, and stretch the waistband to fit. Sew the waistband on with a ¼” seam allowance. Make sure to only stretch the waistband as you sew, not the skirt.

Flip your waistband up and press.

All we have left to do is hem! Almost finished! At the bottom of your skirt, fold up the raw edge ½” and press well. You can use Wash Away Wonder Tape here to keep the hem in place while you sew, but keep in mind that your hem won’t stretch until you wash the Wonder Tape away!

Sew your hem with a zig-zag, stretch stitch, double stretch needle, or cover stitch machine and you are FINISHED!

Now you have a gorgeous and comfortable skirt custom made to fit your unique shape!

BONUS!! This week Whimsical Fabric has all of their knit fabrics 20% off! That's over 99 different prints from Riley Blake and Art Gallery Fabrics to choose from. Stock up today! The sale lasts through Friday, 9/23. And then do some self-care sewing this month. You deserve it. :)

Happy sewing!! 

Note: Links to products within this post are either links to our website or affiliate links.

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