I've been thinking a lot about how to use quilting techniques in clothing lately. After making the little hexagons for this outfit, I was inspired to do more. So, now, from my crazy 3 a.m. big lightbulb idea, I'd like to introduce: the Dresden Plate Skirt! And tutorial! (really, really long tutorial.)
Are you guys ready for this? Because it's a doozy. Not for the faint of heart. And I don't recommend doing it in one sitting unless you are heavily armed with many rounds of caffeine and chocolate artillery.
- Main fabric. I used 9 fat quarters and barely made a dent in them for a size 4-5 kid
- 1/2 yard lining fabric
- something round to form scallops
- 1 inch wide elastic, long enough to go around skirt-wearer's waist
- all the other regular sewing accoutrements (that includes chocolate and caffeine, in case you were wondering)
Cut out a whole bunch of trapezoid-y shapes. I cut 18 strips (2 of each print) that were 2.5 inches at the top and angled down to 4 inches at the bottom. If you're certifiably crazy, you could cut enough of these to make a true Dresden Plate, ie: a full circle. Have at it. Tell me how that went. Your only guideline here is to use algebra to make sure the inner edge of your half circle (or full circle, you crazy people) will fit nicely around the hip circumference of your skirt-wearer, with a bit of ease. And in case you're wondering, C=2πR. (thank you, internet)
Here are my strips, all lined up in a pleasing order. Ignore the severe lack of ironing.
Sew 'em all together! As with any patchwork/strip sewing, I recommend having some eye-candy on in the background. Preferably something you've seen a million times so you don't really have to pay attention.
Here comes another Adrianna method of sewing, where I forgo any type of math in favor of my super scientific method of "eyeballing it". First, fold your lining fabric. Then, fold your skirt in half. Then place it down over your lining fabric. Make sure the skirt fold and the lining fabric fold are lined up:
Using a rotary cutter, follow the lower edge of the skirt from fold to raw edge, then cut up the raw edge about 3 inches. Move your skirt out of the way and cut a parallel line so you form a long curved strip, like so (fold is still in place, on the right side):
Finish the inner, or short end of that strip by serging or zig-zagging. Then iron the edge down just above your stitching. With that fold facing up, pin your strip of lining fabric to the right side of your skirt:
Use something round (coaster, glass, protractor....um yeah, I said protractor. My husband's an engineer. We have those.) to draw curves on each of your fabric trapezoidy things. Start your first curve a 1/2 inch from the raw edge, and make sure each curve thereafter starts and ends right on the seam. When you get to the last strip, make sure that curve ends a 1/2 inch from the edge also. You want to keep the bottom edge of the curves a few millimeters away from the skirt hem. Keep the curve fairly shallow. The more curved your curve is, the more you will hate yourself in the next few steps, just fyi.
Sew directly on all your marked curves! See? I told you this would be fun! Or, you know, long and tedious! When you're done sewing, clip the seam allowances all around, coming as close to the stitching as possible at the points.
Flip your lining piece to the inside of the skirt, and using your fingers, push out each scallop and press. You'll know you're doing it right if you iron off all of your fingerprints on the non-iron-holding hand.
Sew your skirt together at the raw edge using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. At the hem, you should be joining two scallops together directly at their highest point.
Now for some more eyeballing where there should be math! Cut a strip of fabric to be your waistband/elastic casing. I made mine 6 inches wide and about 6 inches longer than the circumference of the top of my skirt. This extra bit is important if you want to avoid any math-doing.
Press the strip of fabric in half, length-wise, wrong sides together. Pin the raw edges of the strip around the top of your skirt, leaving the ends free, like so:
Bring the two loose ends together and mark where they meet. Sew them together at that point, trim the excess fabric, and press. Now your waistband strip should perfectly equal the top of your skirt circumference. Don't sew it down yet though. Because...
...you need to insert the appropriate length of elastic into the casing first! (sorry, it's been a long tutorial. I'm trying to amuse myself. At your expense, I imagine.) The elastic should be the waist measurement of your skirt-wearer minus an inch. After the elastic is in there, sew the elastic together at the ends, then finish sewing the waistband strip down to the skirt. Flip the waistband up.
Now it's time to hand-stitch the hem! Wait, I didn't mention that part at the beginning? Oh, I'm so devious! I just wanted to make sure you'd reach this point of no return first. (insert evil laugh here). So, yeah, we're going to do a blind hem stitch by hand. It's much nicer, and it won't take long. I promise! (unless you did indeed do a full circle skirt, in which case we all know you're willing to hem it by hand, given your previously established crazy-ness.)
Insert your needle at the very tip of the lining fabric, and run it through the little tube created by the fold. Then pick up just one or two threads from the skirt front, and repeat. And repeat. And repeat.
Ok, this is not a step, this is just me showing you what your blind hem stitch should look like when you're done. Oh, you can't see it? That's because it's BLIND! What WHAT!! (ok, remember the caffeine and chocolate artillery I mentioned? Perhaps you can have too much.)
You're done! Both with your skirt and my incessant, annoying commenting throughout this tutorial! Congratulations to you for making your way through both!
Note: Yes, you observant readers, I made this with purple fabric. No, my daughter will definitely not be wearing it. It'll hang out here until I find an appropriate gift-ee or open an etsy shop.
update: If you don't want to hand-sew the hem, check out Mandy's alternate hemming technique over at Sugar Bee Craft Edition. Also, Jaya in the comments below left some nice instructions to fully line the skirt, eliminating the need to hem at all.