Tuesday, July 26, 2011

~Tutorial - A Child's Bandana Skirt ~

Several weeks ago, my daughter-in-law sent me an email and a bandana skirt tutorial asking if I could make one for Monkey.   Well, this looked absolutely adorable and fairly easy and so I said, if she sent me the bandanas, I would make it.

Shortly afterwards, I get an envelope with two large bandanas and this letter.  Monkey is only 4 years old so her mama wrote the letter for her.  This is what it says:

Dear Mammer,
Here are the "bananadanas" I picked out for my new skirt.  I picked out the teal because "I need a teal skirt for summer."
"If you like my skirt we can buy more for you to make more skirts."
"Mammer, thank you for making my skirt."

Now, how can Mammer (that's me) resist such a sweet request?  Let's get to work!

First of all, the list of materials is very short:
*Two large bandanas (approximately 22 inches square)
*Elastic (I used 1-1/4" wide)
*Ribbing (the original tutorial called for t-shirt fabric but I opted for a pretty rib knit fabric) 

Note:  This tutorial is going to be rather lengthy as I am want to make sure that beginning seamstresses know what to do.

Working with one bandana at a time, fold it in half, then in half again creating a square.  Make sure that your folds and seams are even...very important!  We are going to cut off the point of the fabric to create an opening for the waist.  Lay your fabric on your cutting mat.  Line up the left and right points of your diamond shape so that they are on the same line.  As you can see here, I didn't. :/ I lined up my top and bottom points and didn't pay attention to the other points.  You'll see what happens in a minute!  Anyway....using a large ruler, measure down two and a half inches and cut off your point.  If you don't have a rotary cutter, pin your fabric together, measure, draw a cutting line and then cut with your scissors.

Open up your folded fabric and now you will see a hole in your bandana!!  Place your ruler on one point and line it up making sure you have a straight line (you can probably use the fold in your fabric as a guide).  Cut along the ruler line using your rotary cutter.

Now here's the tricky part....we are going to create "open" pleats and the question is...do you want the pleats to open on the inside or the outside of your skirt?
If you want your pleats to open on the outside, you will work on the right side of your bandana.

If you want the pleats to open on the inside, you will work on the wrong side of your fabric.

I chose to make my pleats on the outside of my skirt as I thought it would make it more flouncy.  Now, I hope I can explain this clearly.  To create a pleat, make a fold along one of your points.  Pull up the fabric and kinda swing it around so that the cut line across the top is even.

Your folded pleat should look like the above picture.  Depending on the waist measurement of your child, you may need to play with the depth of your pleats.  But we'll talk more about that in just a bit.  Pin your pleat in place.  You know your pleat is straight if the inside and outside edges of your pleat are even. Continue working across your fabric piece creating pleats in each point.  I'm right-handed and I like to work left to right.  It's okay to do it right to left if you prefer....as long as you do it the same way on both pieces!  

If you want the pleats to open on the outside, this is what it will look like on the right side of your fabric piece.

If you want the pleats to open on the inside, this is what it will look like on the right side of your fabric piece.

 Hi Banjo!  He's probably wondering what in the world I am doing.  I'm only 5' 2" tall and I'm standing on a little footstool to take better pictures on my cutting table!!

Sew your two sections, right sides together, with a narrow hem.  Don't forget to use your Fray Check since we're not making a hem.

This is what happens when you don't line your fabric up properly before cutting off the point!  If you have an uneven hem such as this, make sure that you have the hemmed edges matching.  When you create your pleat, this uneven area will be covered up and caught up in the hem of your ribbing.

Create your last two pleats and pin them in place.  Your skirt should look like this now.   You may or may not need to make some adjustments at this point.  Measure the waist area of the skirt.  I wanted my skirt to be about six inches wider than Monkey's actual waist size so that she could get it over her her little bottom.

 At first, I made my pleats about 3/4 inches deep but that made the skirt too large.  So I then made them about an inch deep and that was just enough to give me the six extra inches I needed.    Hopefully, you won't have to make too many adjustments to get what you need. :)  Once you are satisfied with how it is looking, sew a narrow basting stitch around the waist to secure your pleats.  You can now remove the pins at the waist.

This is my rib knit fabric and elastic for the waistband.  Remember, the waist of my skirt is about 28 inches and so I cut a piece 28" in length.  We are going to fold the ribbing over in half to encase the elastic.  We now need to measure how wide to cut your ribbing.  My elastic is 1-1/4 inches wide and my hem is going to be 1/2 inch.  That is 1-3/4 inches, double it and add just a bit extra for a bit more room, which makes an overall width of 4 inches.
This is a such a very simple method of encasing your elastic and attaching it to your skirt....I love it!   First of all, you need to get your elastic ready.  Cut your elastic an inch shorter than the width of your child's waist.  Overlap the ends by about one-half inch and sew all the way around that little rectangular area.  I like to use a zigzag stitch.  You are going to lay your elastic circle inside your ribbing circle on the top half.  Bring the other half up and pin the edges together.  Work your way around, pinning every couple of inches and sliding the ribbing over as necessary.  Okay, we're ready to attach to the skirt!

Pin your waistband to the right side of the skirt.  If you have to gather the waistband or skirt OR stretch the ribbing just a bit as you pin, that's okay because it's going to gather anyway.  Note:  Be careful not to catch your elastic as you sew!  I used a regular stitch first and then finished the edges on my serger so that it would have a clean look.

I ironed my pleats to give them a nice crisp pleat but it's not necessary.  Our skirt is done!  Isn't it adorable?  I had so much fun making it that I decided to make a couple more but used regular fabric instead of the bandanas.  I bought about 3/4 yard of each fabric I wanted and made two 22-inch squares out of each.

I fell in love with this pink and purple striped fabric.  I decided to round off the tips of the skirt to see how it would look.  I didn't want to have to hem it so I made my own binding using a purple floral print fabric.  Once it was all finished, I decided I didn't like it as well.  Next time, I may make a circle and do a poodle-like skirt.  That would be cute, too!

This one is a bandana type fabric and I had to add the eyelet for a more western look.  I was attaching the eyelet to the hem edge when my one of the threads broke and kept breaking (lower loop for you serger people out there) no matter what I tried to do.  I spent about four or five hours trying to fix this problem. and, oh my gosh, if I was prone to #%&*#$@#, I would have been doing some &#^@%@%#*!# but since I'm not one to !%^*@@*&!%#... I didn't!  I finally gave up and finished the edge with my regular machine.  It still turned out to be my favorite!!

So, here are my finished skirts!  What do you think? They went in the mail yesterday.   I hope she likes them.   If you decide that this is more work than you want to do, let me know.  I may add these cute little skirts to my line of products.  I'm thinking about calling them "Fandango" skirts.  The name popped just popped in my head!

Hope you're having a nice, cool day ~

1 comment:

Unknown said...

So in the materials you said that there are two bandannas needed for the dress, but during the rest of the tutorial it seemed as if you only used one. Do I need one or two bandannas to make this skirt?


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