Thursday, June 7, 2012

Below the Belt--pants, shorts, skirt!

So, it all started with a pair of pants.
My friend needed some shorts for her summer vacation so she asked me to help her change a pair of pants into shorts.  Done in a quick 20 minutes!

I was left with scraps from the legs that I just couldn't throw out (I blame my frugality on my mom).  

 I loved the top stitching on the inseam and that it was a nice stretch denim so I decided to use the scraps to make a skirt for my daughter.

I used my seam ripper and ripped out the outer seams.

With the fabric right sides together, I lined up the top stitching seams and cut out a very slight A-line shape....  I know my daughter's waist measurement is 20 inches so I added an inch (for a 1/2 inch seam allowance on both sides) and then divided 21 inches by 2, getting 10.5 inches.

I wanted the top stitching to be centered on the front of the skirt so I measured 5 1/4 inches out from the center of the top stitching in both ways.  I marked each measurement with pins.  Make sense?  So the total measurement across the top of the skirt would be 10.5 inches, with the top stitch centered.  

So, that's the top of the A-line.  For the bottom, I just added another two inches to the original waist measurement.  So, 22 inches divided by 2 equals 11 inches across the bottom (again, I divided that by 2 and measured out 5.5 inches from the center of the top stitching to the edges).

Sounds complicated.  :(
Basically, the total waist measurement (plus the seam allowance) will be divided evenly between the front and the back pieces.

Anyway, if you're still with me, once everything was marked with pins I cut the fabric and sewed up each side seam then zig-zagged to finish the seams.

I wanted to make a stretchy waistband for the top of the skirt so I took an old knit t-shirt and cut up the sleeve, making sure the waistband piece was an inch shorter in length than the skirt top (19 inches).  I wanted it to stretch to fit when pulling up the skirt but then I wanted it to fit snugly around her waist. 

This is how the sleeve looked once I cut it.  I would say that it was probably about 4 inches tall, by 9.5 inches long (again, two layers for the front and the back pieces equaling 19 inches-and I didn't worry so much about a seam allowance this time because I knew the knit would stretch). 

 I zig-zagged up each side.  I didn't use a straight stitch because I was working with a knit and didn't want the stitches to break as the fabric stretched.

 I folded the fabric from the top down all around the loop.  You'll know you did it correctly if you  have a top fold and an unfinished bottom edge.

Next, I pinned the waistband onto the skirt.  The skirt was right side out and the folded side of the waistband was pointed down while the unfinished edge was up.  I pinned and stretched the knit to fit around the skirt.  I also tried to match up the side seams of the skirt with the side seams of the waistband.

I wanted a tag so once it was all pinned securely, I took a two inch piece of ribbon, folded it in half and stuck it into the back of the waistband so that it was tucked into the two layers of the waistband (if it's stuck between the waistband and the skirt, it will show).

I then used the zig-zag stitch to sew all the layers together, again, stretching the knit to fit the skirt.  I think I went around twice for extra security. 

I opened the top up.... 

 ...and making sure to push all the layers of the seam down into the stitch path, I sewed a top stitch.

(all the layers stitched into the top stitch)

 I wanted to try to mimic the original thick top stitching on the pant legs so I put two spools of grey onto my sewing machine.

  I folded up the hem and stitched. 

 I had some grey threads that I saved from another project so I tied them together into a bow and stitched in securely to the front of the skirt.

And here it is finished! 

(The look of a four year old who would rather be playing with the neighborhood kids than getting her picture taken.)

I'm linking up to Crafty Cousins:


  1. That is absolutely adorable! Oh goodness, so is your little model. Thanks a bunch for linking up! :)

    P.S. Your links are always my favorite. Ssshhhh....don't tell anyone I'm playing favorites! :)

  2. Sooo cute! I love it! What a great idea!