Saturday, April 25, 2009

Panel Skirt Tutorial - Part One: Cutting

Well here it is at last, the long promised skirt tutorial! I am sorry it took so long, I really did not mean for it to. Because it is so long (I took lots of pictures) I decided to publish it in three parts: cutting, sewing the panels and sewing the ruffle. After they have all been posted they will be linked together on the sidebar. Please let me know if you think there is anything that is not clear enough or needs revision. You can click the pictures to enlarge them. As you scroll down it will look like a lot of steps but it is really very easy. I hope you enjoy!

List of Materials:

- 100% cotton Fabric in the following amounts:
1 yard for middle panels and ruffle
1/3 yard each of two fabrics for the side panels
- A Skirt that fits you in the waist and is made of a heavy weight material
- Gridded quilting Ruler or a Yardstick
- Scissors
- Straight Pins
- Iron and Ironing Board
- Sewing Machine
- Thread that matches your ruffle fabric
- Tape Measure
- Jeans/Denim Needle

Seam allowance: 1/2 inch

1) Wash and dry both your skirt and your fabric.

2) Lay your skirt out flat making note of the placement of all the pockets. If there are any in-seam pockets pull them out so that you don't cut them accidentally.

3) Lay the ruler on the skirt so that the bottom edge is one inch below the lowest pockets. Or, if you are using a yardstick place it across the skirt so that the top edge is up against the bottom edge of the lowest pockets

4) Place a row of straight pins across the bottom of the ruler or yard stick to mark your cutting line then remove the ruler and cut straight across just below the pins. Remove the pins.

5) Now you need to decide how wide you want your side panels to be. You don't want them quite as wide as your middle panel (the focal point) but still wide enough that they are not drawfed by it. When you decide measure the distance very carefully from the side seam on both sides and mark with a pin (you should have four pins in your skirt). Set your skirt aside.
6) Iron one of your side panel materials folding it lengthwise with a fold at the top and both selvages at the bottom. Mark the approximate middle of the top edge. Add one inch to the width you decided on. Mark the side edges of your panel centering your middle pin.

7) Use your top mark to find and mark the middle of the bottom edge.

8) Mark your panels bottom side edges. You will want the bottom wider than the top to create an A-line. Then using your ruler or yardstick as a guide pin straight down from your top edge pins to your bottom edge pins.

9) Cut out your side panels using the pins as a guide (just like on the skirt). Then take out the pins and cut the two panels apart along the fold line.
10) Iron your second side print the same way you did the first. To cut your second side panel print just lay one of your first ones on top of the fabric and cut around it.

11) Measure between your pins on the front and back of your skirt to find the top widths (the front and back may be different) of your middle panels.

12) Iron your middle/ruffle fabric. Cut off 1/3 yard of your fabric for the middle panel then cut it in half along the fold (your front and back will probably be different and will need to be cut separately. Repeat steps 6 through 9 to cut the middle panels.

13) Decide how wide you want your ruffle (I usually do 4-6 inches depending on the height of the wearer. Cut three pieces the total width of the fabric (selvage to selvage) the width you decided upon. I used my rotary mat and cutter for this but the pin method used for the panels works as well.

Now you have everything cut!
I am afraid I may have to delay posting the next part for a little while. It took me three days to do this one and I have a few things that need to be done right now. I will get back to it as soon as possible though.

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