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Embellished Gathered Skirt {tutorial}

2016 March 1

I have a good stash of ribbon… well, maybe more than a good stash. More like an entire cute Ikea garbage can full! They collect much faster than I can sew them into all the things. This skirt , however, saved me a bit of stash-guilt by using up about 44″ each of 10 different ribbons – all in one skirt, hooray! Plus, I got to play with lots of fun stitches on my On-Loan Janome Skyline S5!

I decided to use some gray Essex linen, left over from my Camber Dress a few years ago. After checking with my “anti-gray” oldest child to make sure she’d wear it, I got to pull out my bucket ‘o ribbons and decide which ones to use. I wanted to add in some decorative stitches and since my oldest loves to draw, I found a few quotes to add in.

Love, love being able to personalize this skirt for her! One quote says “Creativity takes courage. ~ Matisse” and the other is “Everything you can imagine is real. ~ Degas” The Skyline S5 has a 50 stitch memory. After programming it, all I had to do was start stitching and it continued the pattern until I stopped it at the other edge of the skirt.

After using this machine for about 6 months, one of my favorite features is the automatic tension. It is so nice not to have to think about it when sewing through multiple layers and different thicknesses. I used a pink bobbin throughout this project, to match the lining, and it doesn’t show even once on the outer fabric.

As a word of caution, I am new to the world of embroidery and stitching and did not have any stabilizer on hand. *collective gasp* Yes, I know, I did just do that. #liveandlearn You can do better than me and make sure to have some behind all of your decorative stitching. Thankfully the waviness pressed out with a bit of steam – whew. I did put a layer of woven fabric behind my linen, because I was worried the loose weave and the stitching wouldn’t play well together. This helped a bit, but stabilizer is now #1 on my shopping list.

Materials

  • 44″ wide outer fabric – see sizing/cutting instructions below
  • lining/stabilizer - see sizing/cutting instructions below
  • various ribbons/embellishments
  • 3/4″ elastic, non-rolling
  • thread to match ribbons for top-stitching
  • removable fabric pen/ruler
  • decorative stitches and thread (optional)
Note: Make sure your ribbons are machine washable, and the colours won’t run. Pre-wash them if you can. Be sure to test if they are colour-fast with hot water as you would another fabric. If you are worried, wash skirt in cold water and hang to dry. It is also recommended that you check to see if the ribbons can be pressed Some synthetic blends will melt when heat is applied. It is best to press the skirt from the wrong side with not much heat unless you are sure the ribbons can take it. 

Prep Work:

  • Pre-wash fabrics & press
  1. Measure the desired length of your skirt (I used a ready-to-wear size 7 skirt as an example and measured 15″)
  2. Add 3″ to your length to leave room for hemming and an elastic casing.

Sizing: If your child’s waist/hips are between 21″-27″ a 44″ width of fabric should be fine. If not, fabric should be cut to the final length x double your child’s waist measurement.

Cut Your Fabric:

  1. Cut your outer fabric from selvage to selvage at your desired length (including the 3″ from Prep Work Step 2).
  2. If using a lining fabric, cut this to the same size as the outer fabric. If not, prepare strips of stabilizer to be adhered behind decorative stitching.

Here We Sew:

  1. If using a lining fabric, place lining and outer fabric wrong sides together. Baste if desired, from now on treat this as one fabric.
  2. Use a removable fabric marker to mark the casing on the outer fabric at 1 1/4″ down from the top long edge. Mark the hem with a line 1″ up from the bottom.
  3. Lay ribbons along the width of the skirt in your desired layout. Place stiffer ribbons near the middle/bottom – since they won’t gather as well. It is good to leave about 1″ of room under the casing and before the hem. Be sure to leave room for some decorative stitching, too! If you don’t have fancier stitches on your machine a zig-zag stitch or some closely sewn straight stitched lines would be cute too.
  4. Mark the ribbon placement on a short outer fabric edge. It is helpful to take a temporary photo or write down the order so you can remember it later!
  5. Mark lines for the top edge of each ribbon across the width of the skirt, so they all end up straight! It helps to fold the skirt so the two short outer edges are lined up and transfer the ribbon placement marks- this way the ribbons will hopefully match up along the back edge of your skirt.
  6. Add your decorative stitching and ribbons as desired. Switch thread colours as necessary to top-stitch your ribbons neatly.
  7. Trim the ribbons to match the fabric edges and finish the sides so the fabric does not fray. I used the “M” overcast foot that came with this machine, and a double zig-zag overcasting stitch. This fabric is NEVER going to fray now! You could also finish the edge with a serger or a zig-zag stitch and some Fray Check.
  8. Pin the short edges of the outer fabric right sides together, matching ribbon placement as you go. Stitch with a 3/8″ seam. Press the seam open to reduce bulk.
  9. Fold and press the hem under 1/2″ then under 1/2″ again. Top-stitch a generous 3/8″ away from the folded edge.
  10. Fold and press the casing under 1/4″, then 1″ to leave room for the elastic. Stitch near the first folded edge, leaving a 3″ opening.
  11. Insert the elastic into the casing and feed it through with a safety pin. The elastic will be roughly the length of your child’s waist measurement + 1″. Though, it is best to try the skirt on and fit it accordingly.
  12. Overlap the elastic and stitch it together. Push it back into the casing and stitch the casing closed. Remove any marked lines. You are finished!
Enjoy your fancy skirt! My oldest was so cute and made sure to thank me “for the most beautiful skirt ever.” She’s a keeper! ;)

Thanks for reading to the bottom of the post. Join me for “thread ride” so you don’t miss more great content!

Disclaimer: Janome Canada has kindly allowed me to borrow this loaner machine on a 1 year contract and I am so grateful to them!  I want to say again, as with all the products I write about – I always tell you my own honest opinion. I have bought and worked with Janome products for 90% of my sewing life and used their products long before they contacted me. I am so happy to give them a great review because I already love and support this product. 
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One Response leave one →
  1. Seams Sew Laura permalink
    March 1, 2016

    This is absolutely gorgeous! And your daughter is right – it is the most beautiful skirt ever!

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