Inspired by No Big Dill’s Coastal Curtsy Skirt, I ordered some ruffle fabric from Marie Madeline. It very clearly in the listings says that ordering is by the 1/2 yard, yet I ordered 3 1/2 yards and ended up with 1-1/2 yards instead of the intended 3 yards. So while I thought I’d have enough to make the single seam skirt, I now did not… not at all. I was pretty sad because I was looking forward to wearing this skirt as an airy cover-up on our cruise and I only had a few days left! So I did what any determined sewer would do… improvised. BTW, the elastic from Marie Madeline in their ruffle section is AMAZING! I really really love it.
I called this the Coastal PLUS skirt because it makes a bigger (plus sized) skirt with less fabric (though not as long, which is okay, we’re going Caribbean!) but it’s ultra-fluffy in the back!
First, I split the fabric in half. MAKE SURE the ruffles are running in the right direction! Cut along the dotted lines, and use a pivot point for the second half, just like the original pattern (I know, mine isn’t very round).
So this is no longer a 1 seam skirt, it’s 3 seams. Make sure when you’re sewing the 2 side seams that the ruffles are pushed back or you’ll catch them in the seams and then they won’t flop properly… this isn’t an issue in the original because you can’t really see the seam in the end.
After the two side seams, finish as the original directions instruct, with a seam up the back. I attached my waistband at this point (purple in the diagram) and then sewed right up the back and up the waistband in one go… this saves you from having to try to distribute the waistband around the inside seam of the skirt, and any extra length in the waist that’s not needed ends up in more fluffiness in the back too!
Voila! Now action shots!!!
This skirt took a lot longer than I thought it was going to. It was originally my “girls day skirt”, then it was my “canada day skirt”, and when it still wasn’t finished, it became my “day at the zoo skirt”. Here is a picture of me sitting on an elephant seat at the Calgary Zoo right by the elephant enclosure. (you can see the seating for the elephant area behind me!)
Here’s a closer-up view of the hairband… it’s probably the comfiest one that I’ve ever owned! This time it’s me and G in front of the flamingos! (I know you can’t see them, but they’re there!!!)
So here’s the low down. I used some more of those beautiful Patty Young knits, which I pre-washed and machine dried on HIGH to get them to shrink as much as possible. I found that all of my Patty Young knits shrank quite a bit, but overall quite evenly. I layed the fabric out folded selvage to selvage (like it comes off a bolt) and then folded it over one more time again. I cut the entire thing into 12″ sections (I think it was 42″ or 45″ wide) and since I ordered it from Fabric.com, there were a few inches left over at the end (which I set aside for the hairband). I divided the fabric up and stared at it quite a few times, but eventually I ended up with 3 tiers:
I gathered each tier at the top and attached it to the tier above it to make a nice ruffle, hemmed the very bottom edge, and put in an elastic casing and wide waistband elastic.
For the hairband I just took the left over strip and divided it in half and sewed the right sides together. I figured out how long I wanted the flat part (to behind my ears) and ruched the rest of it with an elastic to hold it around the back of my head.
So in summary, things that went well:
- I ❤ Patty Young knits, they’re so soft, but they don’t stretch all out of shape.
- I remembered to pre-shink my material BEFORE I started cutting!
- I love ruffly skirts and the way that they twirl!
- It was nice and cool on the hottest day of the year so far!
- I got the stretch in the right direction!
Things I would do differently next time:
- I didn’t pay close enough attention to where the seams were when I attached the tiers, but there are a lot of seams as you get closer to the bottom, so I don’t know that I could have done any better.
- I should have made the elastic tighter, I always forget to take into account the weight of the skirt. One good tug from a 2 year old and it might have been around my knees!!
- When working on the bottom tier I broke my last stretch needle and resorted to a normal one. This made the thread catch when I tried to gather the basted thread to make the ruffles. I broke that thread and had to re-baste it, that’s why it didn’t make it for Canada Day.
- When I ruched the hairband, I used a zigzag stitch, but it still lost some of its elastic-y-ness. Am I doing something wrong? I can never get elastic-y stuff to stay elastic-y after I’ve stitched it!!!