Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tutorial Part 1- Katy's Avalanche Skirt

Don't be intimidated by the mounds of fabric on this skirt.  It is a basic gathered skirt with a twist on the bustle.  In fact, it is similar to my Ruffle Your Bustle Tutorial with a few changes.

Let's start with the fabric I used.  This is actually a blanket from IKEA.  If you don't live near an IKEA, perhaps you have a nice relative who does?  It is the OFELIA BLANKET made of 80% polyester and 20% acrylic [it is not the OFELIA throw, which has wool in the fiber content, so check, if you're uncertain].  It is stretchy, but forgiving, because it hides mistakes really well ;).  

For the front of the skirt I used a FLANNEL BACKED SATIN, a yard and 1/3 should do it, depending on the size you're making.  If you have never used flannel backed satin, you are in for a treat.  It makes wonderful pajama bottoms, as you still get that slickslideinyourbed feel on the outside, but the cozybyafireplace feel on the inside.  It's also not as fussy as regular satin.
For the back panel base, I just used some polyester lining, but on the thick side, as it will be holding a lot of weight.  A mid-weight cotton would also work fine.
This shows the back panel, folded in half.  For a size 6 and bigger, use a width of 32".  Any bigger and you'll have to buy more than one blanket.  Adjust the width and length according to your child, including seam allowance of 1/2" on each side plus 1" for the waist.  Round the two bottom corners and open it up.

Next cut the layers of the bustle.  Each layer is folded in half, hotdog bun style, so cut them accordingly [for example, each of my layers is about 2" longer than the previous one, so layer one is cut 10", layer two is cut 14", etc.]  The last layer is significantly larger.  Pin each layer across, slightly slanting them on each end to match the curve of the base fabric.  Sew, starting from the bottom [narrowest] layer, flipping the other ones out of the way as you sew.
Next comes the scalloped edges of each layer.  I experimented many different ways and found it was easiest to do this by hand.
o1  Using a double stranded thread or a single thicker thread, tie a knot and loop around the folded portion of the layer [obviously, though, you'll use a matching color thread.]
o2   As long as your needle is, weave it back and forth, perpendicular with the fold.
o3  Continue until you reach where you've sewn the layer onto the base.
o4  Pull thread to create the scalloped edge and secure with a knot.

I did the most amount of scallops on the bottom layer and did increasingly less the closer I got to the waistband.  Make sure you also gather each end of the layers.

 Next comes the gathering.  I also tried several methods and found the best was to gather it with a cord.  If you've never used this method, don't be afraid ;).  What you need is a foot with a groove on the bottom.  This one is my baby pin tuck foot, but a lot of invisible zipper feet have grooves as well.  The cord is nylon which makes it easier to gather, as it slips easily through the thread, and can be found by the piping in fabric stores.  It doesn't really matter what size you use, as long as it slips under and is guided by your presser foot.
All you do is feed the cord through the groove of your foot and zig zag stitch back and forth over it.  Just be careful not to stitch through it or you won't be able to gather the fabric.  Leave a few inches on either side of cord.  Once you zig zag across the entire top of the bustle panel, tie a knot on one end of the cord and push the fabric as much as you can to gather it and tie a knot at the other end.  Leave the cord ends hanging out [we all like a little time to hang out, right?], as you will sew them in the side seams for extra stability later.

I used about 1 1/3 yards for the remainder of the skirt.  Fold the top down 1/4" and press.  Fold it down again 1" and press and stitch along the first fold.  This creates a casing for the elastic.  Insert 3/4" wide elastic using a large safety pin attached to one side and gather the front panel.  Pin to the bustle and try on your child for fit. 
Next pin and sew the 2 side seams, making sure you catch each layer of the bustle, the cord you used to gather the bustle, and the elastic--everyone wants in on this one.  Hem by folding under twice and stitching.  And there you have your very own Avalanche Skirt!  If you have any further questions or need clarification, don't hesitate to contact me over at my blog.

Thanks Katy! Check back tomorrow for Part 2-  The Furry Muff and Randomly Pleated Sash Tutorial!

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  1. I am so beyond impressed right now - that skirt was a blanket to begin with?!! GENIUS!!! Thank you so much for the tutorial!!!

  2. Looiks like I will be making a trip to IKEA very soon. Thank you for sharing the tutorial with us!!! My daughter will be beyond thrilled when she gets her dress like this :0)

  3. Thankyou for the tutorial! It is So beautiful! <3

  4. Love this, Katy!
    And this is too funny- Piper Jane is standing/laying on that same blanket in some of her Winter Wonderland pictures. It is so winter-y and fabulous! :)

  5. This outfit is gorgeous!! I linked to your tutorials at Craft Gossip Sewing:


  6. I am in shock at how gorgeous this dress is! I've included it in my link round-up on the FaveCrafts Blog:

    Would you like to publish your tutorial on FaveCrafts? Email me if you're interested :)

  7. Oh my gosh... that is GORGEOUS!!!


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