I’m a big fan of making clothes without a pattern. I’m just not good at following instructions. The last two patterns I followed were for skirts, and both of them came out too small (what did I do wrong? Did I just get too fat in the making process?! Blame the pattern, blame the pattern…). Its really easy to make kids clothes without patterns because they don’t need a lot of shape. I made Amelie a little ruffle skirt and it took less than an hour – this is a really simple little project. The same principles would apply for making an adult version. All you need is a button and some fabric – half a metre would do for a toddler.
How to Make it
1. First take the waist measurement and double it. You could add more, or less, depending on the amount of ruffle you want. Now cut a piece of fabric to this width by the length you want the skirt to be (plus an inch for the hem). Now cut the waistband – this should measure 3″ by the waist measurement (plus 2″)
Do the hem and seams first. Take one of the long edges and turn under twice. Press, pin and sew. Do the same with each edge of the fabric so that only the top of the skirt has a raw edge.
Now to ruffle and gather the fabric. Oooh this is a fun bit! Set your sewing machine on the longest straight stitch length (3 or 4). Pull the machine thread so there is a lot of excess.
Sew two lines of stitching along the top of the skirt 1/2″ and 3/4″ from the top of the fabric. When you get to the end, cut the thread so that there is a long tail once more (at least 4″).
Now take the top threads on one end with your right hand and pull the fabric towards you with the other hand. Do the same on the other side. Once the length of the fabric has reduced by half, tie each of the ends to secure.
Adjust the ruffles so that they are even across the skirt. Secure them in place by sewing once more over the bottom row of stitches (set your machine back to a normal stitch length for this).
Take the strip of wasitband fabric and press a fold 1/4″ along each length. Fold again, in half lengthways, and press once more. Position and pin along the top of the skirt, leaving an inch at each end of the skirt.
Sew in place with a neat stitch.
Okay, this is the hardest bit of all. Get your toddler to try the dress on for size. For me, this took about an hour. And a box of raisons. Place pins on the edges of the waistband based on the fitting to work out where to put the button. Tuck the raw edges of the waistband in and sew. Sew on a button and button hole.
Take the two side seams and place one side over the other. Sew the two sides together with a neat top stitch.
If you like you can finish the hem with some pretty embroidery stitches (I have a new machine… EVERYTHING now has pretty stitches on it).
You’re finished! Get your toddler to try… no, put it in the cupboard and go and have a cup of tea.
p.s. the final look isn’t as puffy as it looks in the picture… it was a windy day!