I quite often see photos of things online and say to myself “I can make that”, but then find that everything is that little bit more complicated than I thought it would be. I saw a photo of an adult watermelon skirt from a shop website and thought Harper would love a mini version because her favourite melon is watermelon, closely followed by ‘bunny dew’ and ‘cantaloopy’ coming in third (we eat a lot of melon in our house!). This project actually did have me in tears as it didn’t go quite to plan, but once it was all finished it looked ok and she loved it, so that’s all that matters right?! I thought I’d share things that I have learnt and show that not every project goes to plan.
I followed this excellent tutorial to make the circle skirt and the measurements here are for a skirt to fit a four-year-old.
To make 1 skirt you will need:
- ½ metre white cotton fabric (an old bedsheet works well)
- Coloured elastic (60cm)
- Black sequins (1cm diameter)
- Pink and black sewing thread
- Pink and green fabric dye (standard sachets)
- 2L lukewarm water and 85g salt
- Begin by drawing your template, pinning it to your fabric and cutting it out. For help with getting the sizes and measurements correct (as there is a bit of maths involved in making circle skirts) click here. Once you’ve cut out your shape, the middle circle is the perfect size to make a matching doll’s skirt.
2. Next serge or zig zag the inner circle of the skirt and turn the bottom hem over by ½ cm, pin and sew. Now you’re ready to get dyeing.
3. Mix up your pink and green dye in two separate dishes. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and only use 1/3 of the packet of both dyes.
4. Use tailor’s chalk to mark 2.5cm up from the bottom and then 5cm up from that. Have the skirt folded and dip up to the first line in the green dye. Hold for five minutes. Hang on the line until it is dry, making sure you have some newspaper underneath as the excess will drip out.
5. Now comes the tricky part…. once the green is dry, you need to dip the other end in the pink. I folded it in half and half again and then dipped it up to the second line and after five minutes pulled the skirt up a bit so the bottom edge of the pink was lighter than the top. Whilst this worked, it wasn’t as neat as I’d have liked, and there were a few too many angled lines. So after I had a little cry about this I hung the skirt upside down (pinning the green part to the line) and used a paintbrush to paint on the pink dye and make the blend between the white and pink part a bit more subtle.
6. To make the waistband I cut the elastic to the size of Harper’s waist (adding on 2.5cm). Fold the elastic in half and sew 2.5cm from the fold. Then fold the excess back on itself and sew down to flatten it.
7. Pin the elastic to the top of the skirt so it is evenly gathered and sew in place. Pinning the elastic at opposite ends onto the skirt works well at getting the gathering even. When pinning, imagine a clock face and pin at 12, 6, 3 and 9 o’clock then in-between until all the fabric is pinned to the elastic.
8. Finally, hand sew black sequins randomly onto the pink part of the skirt and you’re done! Make sure you sew them onto the front of the skirt, unlike me who sewed half on the back then had to start again.
Despite all my drama and tears over this project, Harper adores the skirt and loves twirling until she’s dizzy it in. It might not be shop-bought quality but her little smile when I gave it to her made it all worth it. I quite often forget that when I’m making things, and think that everything has to be perfect if i’m going to show you guys.
We had to do a lot of swinging, lifting and twirling in this skirt because that’s what it’s made for… that and eating watermelon in!
~ Laura xx ~