Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 6: Bubble Skirt

Better late than never, here is the sixth installment of the 7 Skirt Styles in 7 Days challenge. Be sure to check out Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, and Day 5. I loved bubble skirts in the '80s, and unlike my affection for zippered ankles on jeans and slouch booties, my adoration for bubble skirts never disappeared. So get ready to rock a billowy and sassy getup (just...please...not with neon fishnets and hightop sneakers!).

1 yard of 45" wide cotton or cotton/poly fabric (top weights or light bottom weights work best)
1/2 yard 45" wide muslin or other woven lining fabric
Thread to match fabric
1/2" wide elastic
Ribbon or pre-made bow

Begin by determining the desired waist and length measurements of your finished skirt. My waist/length measurements were 20"/14 1/2".

To cut the yoke, multiply your waist measurement by 1.5 (that made mine 30"). Then divide that number by 2. Cut two rectangles from the skirt fabric that are this length (15" in my case) and 4" wide.

For the skirt portion, cut two rectangles that are twice your waist measurement (40") long and the length of your finished skirt (14 1/2").

Now cut the lining. Cut two rectangles with the same dimensions as your yoke fabric pieces and two rectangles that are 1.2 times your waist measurement (so mine was 24) and your finished length measurement minus 4" (10 1/2" for mine).

With right sides together, serge or zig zag the short sides of the yoke fabric together to make a loop of fabric. Repeat for the yoke lining, the skirt fabric, and the skirt lining.

Set your stitch to the longest length and sew a gathering stitch (don't backstitch) around one of the long edges of the skirt lining loop and both long edges of the skirt fabric loop.

Gather the skirt lining until it's the same width as the yoke lining.

Now repeat this mantra several times, because we're going to use it a lot during this process: "Right sides together, gathers on top. Right sides together, gathers on top." Good. Now, slip the gathered edge of the skirt lining into the yoke lining with, you've got it, right sides together. Line up the seams on each side, pin, and sew along that edge with...yes...gathers on top. Placing the gathers on top under your needle will prevent the feed dogs from ruining your gathers.

Another handy tip is to sew this seam with a regular machine first and then serge around it to prevent fraying. I learned the hard way that the blade on my serger frequently cuts through my gathering threads and leaves me with a stretched-out mess instead of a neatly-gathered ruffle. It adds a step, but it's totally worth the extra 2 minutes in the end.

You'll end up with this:

See how the seams line up?

That's what you want, and we'll use the same method of gathering, aligning side seams, pinning with right sides together, and sewing with gathers on top for the rest of the skirt. Now take the big loop of skirt fabric and gather one of the edges (this will become the bubble hem of the skirt) until it's the same width as the bottom of the skirt lining.

Repeat the mantra and the steps to sew it together.

Now, gather the other side of the fabric skirt until it's the same width as the yoke fabric loop.

Mantra time! Use it to sew the skirt to the yoke. You'll end up with a reversed hourglass shape of fabric: yoke lining, skirt lining, skirt, yoke.

Take the seam where the yoke meets the skirt and iron it toward the yoke.

Flip the skirt right side out, up and over the lining, and bring the top edges of the yoke and yoke lining together. Check the pull of the bubble at the bottom. It should billow nicely and no lining should be visible. Serge or zig zag around the top edges of the yoke and yoke lining, joining them together.

Topstitch around the outside of the skirt where the yoke meets the skirt. This is the seam you ironed previously, and if you align the presser foot with the outside seam, you'll catch the inner seam while you topstitch the skirt to the lining.

Fold the top edge of the skirt toward the inside 5/8" and iron flat to make a casing for the elastic waistband.

Stitch along the edge but don't go all the way around. Leave about 1" open. Cut your elastic to your waist measurement plus 1", thread it through the casing with a safety pin, and sew your elastic together. Pull the elastic into the casing and stitch it shut. Distribute the fabric around the waistband evenly.

If you want to add a bit of charm, sew a bow to the topstitching about 4" over from the side. I found these little gems in the $1 bin at Walmart, so I couldn't resist.

I just used my machine and sewed right down the middle a few times. Cute!

Now stand back and admire that '80s bubble glory which, in my opinion, seems to be working its way onto the timelessly classic list. I love that my cute daughter was thrilled when she saw this hanging in her closet. It made her first-tooth-lost day even better, and that made my day!

Adorable! Come back tomorrow for Day 7.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there! I found your tutorial on Pinterest and I just wanted to stop by and tell you how much I loved it! I have been wanting to make a bubble skirt for ages and your tutorial finally gave me the courage to do it. :) Your instructions and pictures were wonderful and made it very easy. Thank you for taking the time to share this and helping me make my girl a lovely skirt.