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Simple Fat Quarter Skirt {a tutorial}

2014 April 8

I have way too many fat quarters and I don’t quilt (yet!).  I have seen many tutorials for fat quarter skirts, but I hadn’t really found one I was happy with. I love that you can use one fat quarter to make a simple skirt for a very small child, but as they get older the skirt may fit, but it ends up too short. I worked this tutorial out a few weeks ago.  I was teaching my friend’s daughter a bit about her new sewing machine and seeing me teach someone else to sew was enough for my daughter to want to make something herself. The simple two fat quarter skirt was born! It is very easy to sew, so as long as you can stitch a straight line you’ll be fine. This was a good project to do with my daughter (she’s six), though she got a bit tired of finishing all of the seams properly!

Today also has the advantage of being the second day of Kids Clothes Week (sew 1 hour a day for your kids each day this week) and I’m fully ready and on board! I’ve even got my patterns printed and some of the fabric cut. Though I finished these fat quarter skirts on Sunday I think I will post them on the KCW blog anyhow, I also need to stitch up some knit skirts that have been waiting for over a month now, two Easter dresses (very important!) and I am hoping to finish a pair of jeans for my youngest who has been asking to “match Mommy” for quite some time. I don’t think I’ll finish it all in 1 hour a week – so I’m trying to dedicate the whole week to the process instead. Of course there are normal other things going on… ha! Who am I kidding – I’ll likely be lucky to finish one or two of my ideas but hopefully I will surprise myself!

Want to make the skirts? I’ve included all of the steps you need below. The fat quarter skirt has a great contrast band at the bottom, and an easy to sew separate casing. Use non-roll elastic for a more comfortable fit.

Please email me if you have any questions, sherri@threadridinghood.com, and I’ll do my best to help you out. And of course, I’d love to see your creations! You can share your projects on Twitter and Instagram @sherrisylvester with the hashtag #alongforthreadride or #threadridinghood, or post them on the Thread Riding Hood Facebook page. (As usual, this tutorial is for personal/charitable use only – thanks!)

To Sew this (check below for sizing information), you will need:
  • 2 fat quarters (18″x22″, pre-washed and ironed)
  • 3/4″ elastic (non-roll recommended, length 1″ longer than your child’s waist measurement)
  • matching thread
  • safety pin
  • measurements as per instructions below
  • your normal sewing supplies
Before you begin:
  • Measurements needed: 1) Your child’s waist measurement, 2) The desired length of the skirt – measure from the waist down to the desired length.
  • Will this skirt fit my child? This tutorial uses 2 fat quarters – 22″ wide by 18″ high (after they are pre-washed). Measure around your child’s waist and then their hips. If the separate measurements are both between 15″ and 27″ this tutorial should work to fit your child. If the hips are slightly larger you should be fine as well, the fullness and loose fit of the skirt allow for some extra room. Also check the desired length of the skirt – the longest you can make this (when working with two fat quarters) is about 11.5″.
  • My child is too small, what should I do? The main reason this may not fit is the width of the fabric. If your child is very small, and the width is more than triple their waist measurement, the fabric will become bulky in the casing area making it impossible to gather it small enough to fit your child. Instead of using the full width of the fat quarter, use a width that equals the waist measurement of your child. (ex. Waist = 18″, use two 18″ wide pieces of fabric as indicated when cutting)
  • My child is too large, what should I do? You will need to account for the extra fabric needed and ignore the cutting instructions. The main instructions will work fine once you have your pieces cut. Your main skirt should be as wide as your child’s waist measurement (use two pieces as indicated in the cutting directions). The contrast band can be any height you’d like, so: double the desired height and add 1/2″ for seam allowances. The width of the casing (which is always 2″ high) and contrast band are the same as the main skirt width.
Here we go – Cutting your fabric:
  1. Casing Height: The casing pieces will always be 2″ high so the 3/4″ elastic will fit through them. Cut two pieces from your contrast band/casing fat quarter that are 2″ high.
  2. Contrast Band: You now have a fat quarter that is approximately 14″ high by 22″ wide. You need to get two contrast bands from this piece. To calculate how high you would like the contrast band, double the desired height and add 1/2″ for seam allowances. Example: If the desired contrast band height is 3″ – double that to get 6″ and add 1/2″ for seam allowances. This gives you a contrast band height of 6 1/2″. You need two bands, so the total fabric height needed is 13″. This will fit within the 14″ of fabric you have left after cutting the casings. If it does not fit, choose a smaller contrast band height – when working with a fat quarter, the height of the contrast band fabric pieces cannot exceed 7″.  I cut my 6 year old’s contrast band at 5 1/2″ (for a 2 1/2″ desired height) and my almost 4 year old’s at 4 1/2″ (for a 2″ desired height). 
  3. Main Skirt: Find the desired length of your skirt (“Before you begin, Measurements needed” above) and subtract the desired contrast band height. Add 1/2″ to this height to account for seam allowances. You will need two main skirt pieces. Example: If the desired skirt length is 9″, and the contrast band height is 2″, the skirt length will need to be 7″. Add 1/2″ for seam allowances to get a main skirt height of 7 1/2″. You will need two main skirt pieces, so the total height needed is 15″. This will fit within the 18″ fat quarter height. If it does not fit, choose a shorter skirt length – when working with a fat quarter, the height of the main skirt cannot exceed 9″. I cut my 6 year old’s main skirt at 9″ and my almost 4 year old’s at 8″. 
Here we go – Sewing the skirt:
  1. Prepare the casing, main skirt & contrast band:(a) Place each matching fabric piece right sides together. Pin the short ends. (b) Stitch with a 1/4″ seam. (c) Finish the seam allowance with pinking shears or a zig-zag stitch. Press the seam open or to one side. You will now have 3 tubes of fabric. 
  2. Prepare the contrast band: Fold the tube sides in half lengthwise with the wrong sides together, matching raw edges. You will have a large tube with right sides showing on both sides, one folded edge and one raw edge.
  3. Add the contrast band hem: (a) Place the contrast band tube over the bottom of the main skirt matching the seams and raw edges. Pin. (b) Stitch with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Finish the edges with pinking shears or a zig-zag stitch. (c) Press the seam up towards the main skirt. Top-stitch along the bottom of the main skirt aprox. 1/8″ away from the edge of the contrast band.
  4. Add the casing: (a) Place the casing tube over the top of the main skirt matching the seams and raw edges. Pin. (b) Stitch with a 1/4″ seam allowance. (c) Iron the casing up from the main skirt. Iron the raw edge of the casing under 1/4″ all around. (d) Fold the casing over at the seam line around the main skirt top edge. Press well. (e) Pin the bottom edge of the casing. Mark a 2″ opening along the casing bottom, I like to use 2 pins to indicate the ends of my opening. (f) Stitch around the bottom of the casing about 1/8″ away from the bottom edge. Begin and end on either side of your marked opening.
  5. Insert the Elastic: (a) Attach a safety pin to one end of your elastic. Use the safety pin to thread the 3/4″ wide elastic through the casing. (b) Use a safety pin to secure the elastic and try it on your child if possible to check the size. Cut to size, leaving 1/2″ for seam allowances. (c) Overlap the ends of the elastic by 1/2″ and pin. Stitch over the overlapped area with a zig-zag stitch to secure. (d) Pin and stitch the casing opening closed.
  6. Finishing the Skirt: (a) Even out the elastic through the casing so the gathering is relatively equal. (b) Pin through the elastic and casing at each side seam. (c) Stitch from the top to the bottom of the casing along the seam line (stitch in the ditch). This will secure the elastic and help prevent it from rolling.

All done! I hope the little person who gets this skirt is super happy. They are great for twirling (just a hint!).

 
17 Responses leave one →
  1. April 8, 2014

    What a great tutorial!! I have seen these all over Pinterest, but reading how to sew them was way confusing. Yours is the first one that I think I can follow, and actually make one!! Thank you so much. If you have a moment, I would LOVE for you to link this up to my Link party. Monday Morning Madness, for all beauty/fashion items. Please and Thank You
    -Kat
    http://www.confessionsoftheperfectmom.com/2014/04/07/monday-morning-makeup-madness-party-9/
    Kat Ryan recently posted… Baby Sign and Benefits of ASLMy Profile

    • April 9, 2014

      Thank you Kat. I’m glad you like it. I’ll check out you link-up!

  2. April 8, 2014

    These are all so cute! And I love that you can make them with a fat quarter. My daughter wants to wear skirts every day, so I guess I should whip some of these up! :)
    Lisa at Mabey She Made It recently posted… Double-sided Infinity Scarf TutorialMy Profile

    • April 9, 2014

      Hi Lisa! So true – And the youngest has just decided to follow in the oldest’s steps! Skirts for everyone and lots of bike shorts for underneath :)

  3. April 9, 2014

    Thanks for this detailed tutorial! The skirts are so cute and how sweet is it that you made them together with your daughter… I’ll have to wait a couple of years before my little one is old enough to sew together.. But in the meantime I can make her cute fat quarter skirts :) ..
    Lysette Williams recently posted… Cassia DressMy Profile

    • April 9, 2014

      I”m glad you like it Lysette! I love that she made her own as well – such a good sense of accomplishment for her!

  4. April 9, 2014

    Cute skirts – love all the fabric combos!

    • April 9, 2014

      Thank you Kim :) I’m glad you like them! The kids did a pretty good job of matching them up – with a little help of course ;)

  5. Esmari Taylor permalink
    April 9, 2014

    Oh cute! And you used the cool ‘mystery fabric’ I couldn’t figure out!
    They’re all lovely!

    • April 10, 2014

      Thanks Esmari! The kids did an ok job on the matching I think!

  6. April 10, 2014

    While these skirts are adorable, your daughters steal the show!!! Love their little legs and awesome footwear. But your skirts are really fun too!!

  7. Janette permalink
    April 10, 2014

    That one has CATS! It’s my favourite! :)

    • April 10, 2014

      Hee Hee – thought you might be partial to that one Janette! :)

  8. April 11, 2014

    Great tutorial!! And such a cute skirt!! I have a Craft Gossip post scheduled for later this morning that links to your skirt:
    http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-fat-quarter-skirt-for-a-little-girl/2014/04/11/
    –Anne
    Anne recently posted… Tutorial: Stroller cell phone carrierMy Profile

    • April 11, 2014

      Thanks so much Anne. I really appreciate it :) And I’m super-happy you like it!

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