The amazing 20 minute skirt. No, really.

Finally, summer. Yesterday I finished my first summer session class (Intermediate Spanish) and now I’m officially on vacation. The boyfriend arrives tomorrow (wow is my house messy) so today I’ve been trying to finish up a bunch of sewing projects that have been cluttering up my living room for the last few weeks.

I wear skirts often during the summer. It’s hot here. They’re very, um, ventilated. And much, much easier to make than shorts.  And in the time it took me to watch one movie (Swing Kids– sorry to say it didn’t quite hold up to my memory) I made three (count ‘em: uno, dos, tres) skirts. Simplest skirts ever. But good summer staples—throw ‘em on with a t-shirt or a tank and yep, you’re fabulous. The skirts are a basic A-line; we’re going to need just one pattern piece, a yard of material and a zipper.

Here’s what you do:

First- The Pattern:
Photo1I sketched my own and it was super easy. (Prepare yourself for a moment of math. It’ll be over quickly.)
(1) Measure your waist (Where ever you want the top of the skirt to hit. Probably about two inches below your belly button.)
(2) Measure your hips (Yep, the widest part.)
(3) Divide both numbers by four and add 1 to the answer (w/4 +1= X; h/4+1=Y). So if your waist measures 26 inches (26/4 +1=X), X is 7.5. (The extra inch you add is for the seams.)
(4) Grab a piece of newspaper and ruler. Measure 7.5 (or whatever your X is) from one side, drop down about four to five inches and plot your Y
(5) Hold up your pattern piece to your waist, look in the mirror and decide how long it should be. Trim the length of the pattern piece—as you can see from the picture above, the bottom hem and the waistband should slope a bit. Grab an A-line skirt from your closet, fold it into fourths and you’ll see what I mean.

You can bypass most of the previous steps (measuring and whatnot) if you have a simple A-line skirt in your closet that fits well. If so, fold the skirt into fourths (pull the hips taut, bring them together so the hip-slope is on one side and the center fold is on the other),  lay the skirt on your paper and trace around it. Don’t forget you need an extra inch on the sides for seams.

Fabulous! Honestly, making the pattern is perhaps the most complex part of this process. 

Second- The Skirt:

Photo3(1) Grab your material (if there isn’t an obvious top and bottom to the pattern, a yard is plenty. And if this is the first skirt you’re making, don’t use an obvious pattern—you don’t want to have to deal with all that at first) and fold it into fourths. (Top to bottom first, then sides together.) Lay your pattern piece on the fold and cut around it. When you are done and have unfolded the material, you should have two basic “A” shapes. This takes longer to explain than to do. Photo2
(2) Right sides together, stitch up one side of the skirt.
(3) Lay the zipper down on the other side of the skirt, put a pin in the material to show you where the zipper will end. Stitch from the bottom of the skirt to the pin that marks the location of the end of the zipper.
(4) Switch your machine settings to baste and stitch up the rest of that side of the skirt.
(5) I just follow the package instructions for putting a zipper in. Super simple. Open up the basted seam (either press it flat or just hold it. Whatever.) Unzip the zipper, lay the zip so the teeth are in the seam you just basted in. Stitch down one side of the zipper. Zip up the zipper, stitch up the other side.
Rip out the basted stitches.
(6) Hem the waistband, hem the bottom. I do a simple rolled hem, because it’s quick and easy. And I’m all about quick and easy.

And that’s all there is to it!  Eventually I’ll post a finished product picture, but the preening necessary for that type of endeavor is not exactly on today’s agenda. The floors are still to be washed!

Photo1 (2)

I hope this is helpful and your summer is as full of bright and cheery skirts—and days—as mine promises to be. Any questions? Let me know!