15 March 2012

Chic Sheets!

Who knew bed sheets could be so chic, right!?
So I've been meaning to post this since yesterday but apparently Blogger hates me so..
Anyway, here it is! How to make a very cute maxi skirt from a full-sized bed sheet.
All you need is a sheet, a sewing machine, matching thread, pins, a zipper (or hook and eye) and about two hours of spare time!

(P.S. Mom, please don't let this deter you from giving me free sheets again!!)

What you'll need:
1 bed sheet (this one is full-sized)
Sewing Pins
Hook and eye closure or button
Measuring Tape

1. Measure your natural waist or wherever you want your skirt to hang. I wanted this one to be a little higher so I decided to take my natural waist measurement. I should also mention that I only used a dress form because I have one; by no means do you need to have one. My form is fitted to my measurements already so I didn't photograph taking the measurements, but you basically want to measure the smallest part of your waist, generally underneath the bust but above the belly button. Note this measurement and add one inch to it. This will be the length measurement for your waistband.
Example: My waist is 26" + 1" seam allowance to fit in a zipper = 27" waistband
2. Next, you'll want to estimate how wide you want the waistband to be. This requires no measuring, it just depends on your desired thickness. I used a 3" width plus a one inch seam allowance and the length comes directly from the previous waist measurement.
Example: My waistband is 27" L x 4" wide.
3. Figure out how long you want the skirt by measuring down the side of your body from the point of your natural waist measurement. Again, add one inch for seam allowance.
Example:My desired length is 50" + 1" seam allowance = 51" length of skirt
4.  Finally, add pleats and give the skirt the poofy look, you'll want the width of your skirt to be much wider than that of your natural waist (and waistband). To do this you will multiply your natural waist measurement by 2.5". (This is just the number I chose to meet my desired look. To make it more voluminous, use a higher number, etc.)
Example: My waist measurement: 27" x 2.5" pleat allowance = 67.5" width of skirt
So the total measurement of this skirt is 51"L x 67.5" W

1. Fold your sheet in half lengthwise.
2. Measure down the folded line the measurement you calculated for your skirt width (ex: 67.5"). Mark this with chalk or a pin.
3. Measure out from this your calculated length of skirt measurement (ex: 51"). Mark with chalk or a pin.)
4. Use a ruler to connect the lines and then cut out the entire rectangle you have drawn. DO NOT CUT ALONG THE FOLDED LINE. You should have a whole wide rectangle.
5. Decide which end you want to be the bottom and hem that end with a 1/2" hem.( I used a 1/2" hem because I will also use a 1/2' seam allowance to attach it to the waistband. This was the purpose for the 1" seam allowance that gave me the overall 27" measurement in the first place.) ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS do a couple "reverse stitches" (go backward over the stitch you just did) at the very beginning and very end of sewing a line so that the thread does not come loose at any time. Do this with pleats and the waistband also.
6. Open up the entire rectangle and begin to pin along the width for the pleats. There are two ways you can do this:
 A. You can decide how wide you want the pleats to be and mark it with chalk. You then fold the fabric onto the line you drew and pin it. Continue around until the whole 67.5" width is pinned. I used 1" pleats. You only need to use this method if you want it to be very precise and basically need all the pleats to be the exact same width.

B. You can just eyeball it and fold over and pin without measuring each pleat. I do it this way because I feel comfortable with it and for this project exact measurements of the pleats just isn't that big a  deal for me. If it is for you, though, or if you don't feel comfortable with your eyeball maeasurements, use option A.

7. When you are done pinning, use your machine (or if you can hand sew, your needle and thread) and ONE BY ONE remove this pins and sew one inch down the front of the pleat. Do this to each individual pleat until you've done them all.

8. Next is the closure. Again, you have options for thisIf you don't have a zipper foot for your machine or you just dont have a zipper, you can sew on a hook closure to one end of the pleated fabric and and "eye" closure onto the other end. If you have neither and you have an old button that may have fallen off of something else, use that the same way you would the hook and eye. After the closure is in, fold the two open sides in toward each other about 1/4" to 1/2" and pin and sew to close the entire skirt.
NOTE: The fabric should overlap each other before you close it or you'll end up giving a lil Angelina peek-a-boo leg action, which is fab but not what we're going for here. Try the garment on your body and mark where you would put in the closure so that the entire lower body is covered.
9. Now measure out the lentgth and width for the waistband the same way you did for the skirt. It should also be a rectangle, only with the measurements you calculated earlier.
10. Fold the waistband in half lengthwise and sew along the length of it.
11. Pull the waistband right side out, so that the stitches you just made are hidden.
12. Fold in each the sides 1/2" and sew. You can press this with an iron at this point.
13. Pin the waistband along the outside diameter of the closed, pleated skirt. Sew.

That's it! Tie the remaning length of the waistband into a pretty little bow and you're all set!

Tomorrow I will post how to make a top and add it to the skirt to make a dress. See you then!



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