Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The "Better than Sweatpants" Skirt

Recently I scored a queen sized jersey knit bedsheet at a thrift store for only $3.00. I planned to make a few yoga waistband skirts with it. Because a few of you asked about my method of sewing a yoga waistband, I thought I'd share the process.

But a few caveats - There are a ton of yoga waist sewing tutorials out there in blog land. This method is not unique to me but it is the method that I like and fits my shape. Second, I am not an expert seamstress. I do, however, have a fair amount of experience, mostly from the school of hard knocks. I also am not a great photographer, due to a crummy camera. So bear with my dimly lit and slightly blurred photos. Apologies in advance!!

Let's get sewing!

Like I said, I got this queen-sized bed sheet. It's KNIT, not a cotton bedsheet. So it stretches, which is precisely what will make this yoga waistband maxi skirt sooo comfy. Do not try this tutorial with a cotton woven fabric. You will not be able to get into your skirt!

If you don't happen to have a large knit bedsheet laying around, you can always purchase yardage of knit fabric. There are different types of knits that are more or less suitable for certain applications - again, I'm no expert, and when shopping the thrift store I snatch up whatever I can find. I think this particular bedsheet is a jersey knit. It's stretchy in both directions, but more so one way than the other. My fabric has pinstripes, and the stretch is across them.

1. Lay out your fabric with the stretchy direction running sideways (this will go around your body). I folded it over about 30". If you want a larger hemline, fold over more.

2. Near the top, mark a center point with pins. I like to make an X. Time for some simple math. Really, I'm an artist, math is not my BFF, but this isn't hard! Measure around your waist and divide that number in half (my waist= 33", cut in half is 16.5"). With a tape measure mark either end of that measurement putting the pin X in the center. This is the waistline of the skirt. (Midpoint of my waist's 16.5" is 8.25", shown below). 

3. Now measure down from the waist center point about 7". This is the hipline center point. Mark with pins.

4. Measure around your hips. Divide that number in half and center the measurement on the hip line marked on the fabric. (My hips are 40", cut in half is 20"). Mark each end of the hip line with pins. In the photo below you can see the waist and hip center and endpoints marked with pins. 

5. Figure out how long you want your skirt. I am making a maxi skirt, so I want mine to go down to my ankles. Hold a tape measure up to your waist and let it fall. I drop the 0" end so I can read the measurement at my waist without having to bend over. For my maxi skirt, I measure 39" down to my ankles (yeah, I've got long legs! Now you know why I'm sewing my own skirt!) Your measurement will vary. Remember to leave some extra length if you plan to hem this. Because we're using knit fabric, it won't fray or unravel. I often leave my hems just cut, and they might roll up a little. It's a casual look. Mark the length with a pin and put pins on either side of the hemline. I ended up with a 27" wide hem, because I estimated the 30" fold.

6. Now it's time to draw the seam lines! I use my tape measure as a guide and basically connect the dots that we've pinned. Cut about 1/2" outside the line. You will now have two pieces - a skirt front and back. Congrats! This was the hardest part!

7. Sew the side seams of the skirt. Remember to use a ball point needle when sewing knits! I don't have a serger, so I just use a medium stitch length and go back and zigzag the seam edges to finish them. You don't have to zigzag, but it does keep the seams from rolling in. Be careful not to stretch or pull the fabric as you sew. It's a good idea to try it on to make sure the fit is what you want.

8. Let's cut the yoga waistband! Make sure your fabric is folded over and the stretch is oriented the same way as the skirt. I once made the mistake of cutting a waistband with the stretch going the wrong way - I could not wriggle it up over my hips! Stretch should go sideways, around you!

Take your half your waist measurement and subtract an inch or two, depending on how stretchy your knit it. You want the waistband smaller than you (called negative ease) so it hugs you and your skirt doesn't fall off while you're walking through the supermarket. I cut it 20" high so that it can be folded in half when sewn on and still have length to fold over, thus the yoga-ness of the waist band.

9. Sew up the side seam. Then fold the waistband in half. You'll need to pin it to the skirt right sides together. I have the skirt inside out in the photo below and am in the process of sliding the waistband inside. The skirt is wider than the waistband, so you'll need to stretch it gently to fit the diameter of the skirt. Use lots of pin, they're your friends!

10. Sew the waistband onto the skirt. I like to do a double line of stitching, just to make things really secure. Remember to stretch the skirt while sewing. This allows the line of stitches to stretch when you pull it on over your hips. Finish the seam with a zigzag. Below is the skirt and waistband, inside out.

11. Turn it the right side out and give it a gentle pressing with an iron. That evens out any wonky stitching. Try it on and do a little dance! If you want to hem the bottom, do that now. I left mine unhemmed, perhaps to add a ruffle later. I could hem it later too. Wear with the yoga waist band folded over for that uber-comfy fit! 

It's a nice, wide, comfortable waistband with just the right amount of give.

A finished skirt! I'll definitely be wearing this a lot this Spring and Summer.

A long post, but this only took about 45 min to sew, including stopping to take pictures. 

Let me know if this was helpful - and I'll love to see pics of your hand sewn yoga waist band skirts!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That was great - thanks for sharing!