Sunday, January 11, 2015

Mermaid Maxi Skirt Tutorial

Easy, cute, and comfy! I love how this turned out! I already have the fabric to make myself one, too. I decided to let my little mini-me model so I could get this tutorial published.

I've seen similar tutorials on Pinterest, but I was concerned about how comfortable the skirts would be to walk in. Adding a seam around the bottom of the already-snug skirt when attaching the ruffle would eliminate the awesome stretchy feature that makes maxi skirts so comfortable. I knew my daughter would want to MOVE in her Mermaid Maxi, so I created my own process to make this as comfy a skirt as it is cute!

Here's what you'll need: 
  • Jersey knit fabric (amount depends on size)
  • Coordinating Thread
  • Elastic Thread
1. Measure the circumference of the hips (widest part around the boot-tay), and add an inch. This is the width of your main piece. 
Measure from the belly-button to the ankle and subtract 4 inches. This is the length of your main piece. Cut this piece.
Then, cut a piece of fabric twice the length of your hip measurement, and 5 inches wide. This will be the ruffle. 

2. Fold each of the pieces in half as shown, and cut 5" curves (as shown) through both layers on each piece. I cut the ruffle curve, then laid the triangle pieces over the skirt piece to use as a guide in cutting it. 

3. Sew a lettuce edge along the curve and across the bottom edge of the ruffle piece.  I have an easy tutorial for sewing a lettuce edge here
This is an optional step, but it does give it a nice, finished edge that will help it last longer. 

4. Fill your sewing machine bobbin with elastic thread. Use regular thread for the top stitch. Sew a single gathering stitch (regular straight stitch with 4+ stitch length setting and no tying off at beginning or end) across the top (non-lettuce-edge) of the ruffle. Pull the elastic  thread to make a ruffle the length of the curved bottom of the skirt. 

5. Turn the ruffle upside down (right sides together) along the base of the skirt piece, matching up raw edges. Pin in place. Don't skimp on the pins here. Sewing on top of a ruffle is exponentially easier based on the number of pins you use to guide you.  

6. Sew the ruffle in place using elastic thread in the bobbin and tying off with a back stitch at each end. This is the key to a skirt that will move with little legs!  Turn right side out.

7. Fold right sides together lengthwise. Pin the long edge (not the ruffle edge).  Replace the bobbin with all-purpose thread. Sew with a 1/2 inch seam allowance, or serge if you have a serger.  

8. FOR THE WAIST:  Two options--First (the one I did here): make a shirred waist using rows of elastic thread along the top of the skirt. This works well if you have a small-medium waist. Instruction for the shirred waist option are found here
Second option: Make a yoga-style waist. This requires extra fabric. This tutorial shows how to make a yoga-style waist band to attach to the top of the skirt. **Note: the seam on this skirt goes in the front. If you add a waistband, the waistband seam should be in the back--opposite the front seam. 

 And you are finished!  Stretchy, even around ruffle! My little lady was running around, laying on the floor flapping like a mermaid, and wrestling her brothers in it already! And she wore it to church the next day! LOVE! 

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