Friday, April 9, 2010

DIY Fashionista: Denim and Ruffle Skirt Tutorial

Here is the skirt tutorial from my "All Ruffled Up" post as promised. :) It was a fairly simple, although a wee bit time-consuming project (due to the ruffles) and has become one of my favorite skirts. Whatever length you make it or whatever fabric you use, it's the perfect cute and comfy piece for your summer wardrobe!

It all started with a little jean mini skirt that came in a bag of clothes that was passed on to us. Of course, I would never wear something so tiny (lol!) but I wanted to put it to good use. It appeared that the seams at the bottom of the skirt had already been opened and the edge was uneven and ratty. I decided to leave it this way for a "distressed" look but trimmed off the extra long strings that were hanging.

This fabric came out of my stash (90% of which has been given to me by random people). I have no idea of the content (it was apparently cheap) and it had faded everywhere it had been creased and folded. I decided to use the color graduation for a nice effect (more on that later).

1 - Once you've got your jean skirt (this could also be a pair of old jeans cut straight across at the hip) and fabric, you'll need to determined how much length you want to add to the skirt. Cut out a piece that is as long (in my case, 9 inches) as needed and as wide at the total width of the bottom of the skirt (leaving an additional 1/2" for seaming up the side). Sew the "side seam" at 1/4" seam allowance and made sure to zig zag the entire top, bottom and seam allowance edges so they won't fray. This will be the main base of the skirt

2 - Next you'll need to determine how many ruffle you'll want. I decided on three ruffles, so I divided the length of the skirt base (9") by the amount of ruffles I wanted (3) and determined that each ruffle would have to be at least 3" long to cover the skirt base.  I cut the three ruffles at 4" long (so I'd have extra fabric to hem and overlap the ruffles) and made them twice as wide around as the skirt base. (This is  where I put the faded fabric to good use. I cut my ruffles along the faded lines to get a general change of color down each one.)

3 - Take a ruffle piece and seam the short edges together so that you have a complete circle. (BTW, the fabric I used had no right or wrong side, so I'm not really mentioning that here. If your fabric does have a right side, you'll have to take that into consideration.) Zig zag any raw edges to prevent fraying. Hem the bottom edge of each ruffle by pressing it under 1/4" and stitching it down. Then run a basting/gathering stitch all around the top edge (about 1/4" from the edge).

4 - Next you'll need to mark where each ruffle should be sewn on the fabric of your skirt base (I did this with a writing pencil :). You will want to make sure the ruffles will be place evenly and will overlap each other slightly. I actually started with the top ruffle, lining up the top edge of the skirt base with the top edge of the ruffle. Lining up the side (vertical) seam on your ruffle with the side seam on your skirt base (pin it) and marking the halfway and quarter points on each piece (more pins) makes it easier to  make sure the piece is distributed evenly all around. Pull up on the top string of your basting stitch to gather the ruffle fabric to meet the skirt base. Distribute it evenly all around and and pin it securely. Stitch the ruffle down all the way around your skirt, right along where the gathering stitch is.

5 - Repeat step 4 for all your ruffles. In the first picture you can see how the sewn ruffles look from the inside of the skirt and, in the second picture, how they look from the outside. Each one overlaps the next just slightly and they cover the entire 9" long skirt base. (You can also see how I sewed small squares of the fabric on the inside under the distressed holes on the jean skirt. I didn't want those to be see-through. :P)

Once all of your ruffles are completed, you can take the entire skirt base piece (now with all the ruffles attached) and sew it to the jean skirt. I overlapped the jean skirt over the skirt base by about 1/2 and sewed it down securely. Lastly, I added some trim over the stitching line for an extra detail.

And there. You've got a fun, cute and casual skirt that is just waiting to be worn. :)

I hope that tutorial wasn't too super confusing. I really just kind of hacked my way through the project (goodbye proper sewing techniques!) and so it was hard to write down clear instructions. I also stopped taking detailed pictures about half way through sewing the skirt, so I had to catch up with some shots of the finished project today. Feel free to experiment and be creative with this! You can tweak it any way you want. :)

P.S. Sorry if the posting schedule has been a bit sporadic this week. I'm still "recovering" from last week's event and am also planning some different stuff for the future. We'll be back to "normal" soon, I promise. :)


Bets said...

Very cool! I love the results. I'm going to give that a try with a micro skirt I've saved over the years because I love the print... but could never figure out how to wear. :)

One Small Voice said...

This was a cool tutorial. I love the ruffles! I have a fashion/beauty/faith blog and have been searching for other girls who have the same passion as I do. I finally found this blog and love it! Keep up the great work!

(p.s: It was cool seeing Rebecca in the vote/contest thing. I'm one of her friends.)

BK said...

That is cute!! I would have to have it longer though, I wonder if I could make it longer (long enough to cover the knee when i'm sitting) and still have it look "chic"?

Meg said...

Thanks for putting that up Amanda! I would love to try it as soon as I get back to the land of thriftshops :). I would probably add four ruffles rather than three, as my modesty rule is that it must cover the knees when sitting. Again, really cute idea!

Amanda Flynn said...

Bets - Ooh! Be sure to post pictures!!!

One Small Voice - Just visited your blog - nice! Keep up the good work! :)

BK - Maybe get a denim skirt that's a tad longer. A lot of ruffles can make it look like too much. Four should be fine, though, and you could make each ruffle a little longer for even more coverage.

Meg - My skirt did end up a little shorter than I originally intended. I considered adding a fourth ruffle but decided that since the skirt is really just a casual piece for me (for summer cookouts, hanging out) and not something I'd wear to church or something, it wasn't such a big deal. I'd love to see what YOU come up with! :)

Holly Renee said...

That skirt is super cute and I didn't think the directions were too confusing at all.

Modesty is Pretty said...

I love your skirt! Thanks for the tutorial. =)

Amanda Flynn said...

Holly Renee - Oh good! :)

Modesty is Pretty - Thank you!