Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Winner's Tutorial--Sew Together's Gored Skirt

Today we have Maryanne and Caroline from Sew Together sharing their darling skirt from last week win with us.  I am amazed at the amount of upcycling they did----I seriously would have thought that most of their outfit was new materials.  What a credit to them!  

Take it away ladies....

We are very excited to share a tutorial from our Earth day outfit  Liberté, Egalité, Frugalité today. All of the outfits from last week’s challenge were so fantastic, weren't they? We were amazed by the diversity of designs and skills seen in the projects last week, all using what would sometimes be seen as useless.  Participating in the Earth day challenge has certainly changed our perspective - moth holes are no longer a tragedy, they are actually an opportunity!!!

Today we have decided to show you how to make a sweet 6 gored skirt from a jumper (pullover). If you don't want to upcycle you could use exactly the same ideas to make a skirt from any stretch fabric.

Please excuse the infrequent and poor quality photos. They were all taken in the middle of the night when we were rushing madly to finish our project!

What you will need:

·         ruler, pencil, tape measure and paper to draft up your pattern

·         an old jumper, the bigger the better. Slightly moth eaten is OK, but you will need to be able to work    around the holes. We were lucky to find a 100% wool very soft fine knit jumper in Madeleine's grandfather's cupboard. Don't be tempted to use a hand knit because it will unravel when you cut it - stick to a machine knit.

·         lots of bias binding - you could buy some or make your own. We used beautiful vintage bias that was 15mm wide

·         Elastic (we used 2.5cm wide) for the waist band

·         an overlocker (serger) makes this project very easy. We'll give you some tips on how to do it with a standard sewing machine but we are sure the overlocker would make the whole skirt a little stronger and less likely to pull with washing.

The first step is to find out how much fabric you have to work with.

Following the seams of your jumper cut the arms off at the arm holes and cut through the underarm seams so they will lay out flat. Cut up the side seams and a cross the shoulder seams of the main body of your jumper. You should end up with 4 pieces - two sleeves, a front and a back. We cut one gore from each sleeve and two from both the front and back

Drafting up the Gore Pattern

You only need 3 numbers to draft up the gore pattern

1.       width of gore at the waist

To work out the width of the gore at the waist use the following formula (sorry, I have a soft spot for maths, but I promise it’s not tricky!!)

(Your child’s waist measurement divided by 6 )+ (2 x seam allowance)

So for example Madeleine’s waist measurement is 60cm

(60 divided by 6) + (2 x 1cm seam allowances) = 12 cm

2.       finished length of the skirt

This one is easy – just measure your child from the waist to where you want the skirt to finish

3.       width of gore at the hemline 

This was determined for us by the size of the jumper we used. We measured the widest part of the jumper front (which was at the bottom edge of the arm hole) and divided it by two (because you need to fit two gores on to each front) Play around a bit and work out what will fit for you.

Draw up all these measurements on to your piece of paper, just like in this picture.

This is your pattern and it includes seam allowances.

 Cutting out

You will need to cut out 6 gores from your jumper – one from each sleeve, two from the front and two from the back.

The waist and arm bands of the jumper will become the casing at the top of your skirt. So, you will need to lay out your pattern like this


If you have an overlocker you can sew the gores together and attach the first part of the bias binding all in one step.

1.       Iron out one of the folds of your bias tape

2.       Take two of your gore pieces and lay them out wrong sides together, lining up at the waist band edge. Pin the gores together with the bias on top lining up all the raw edges. Make sure there is a 5cm over hang on your bias binding. This will make finishing off the casing easier and neater.

3.       Being careful to remove the pins as you go, overlock all three edges together

4.       Iron the seam out flat

5.       Iron the bias binding back so it sits flat and covers the over locking. We find the more ironing you do the flatter the final seam.

6.       You will need to fold the bias binding over the seam edge

7.       We found it necessary to baste the bias binding in place before we could top stitch it flat. A very rough hemming stitch did the job. It doesn’t need to be flash so it won’t take you long.

8.       Top stitch your bound seam flat

Do this for all six gores and you should end up with something that looks like a skirt!

If you don’t have an overlocker, we would suggest that you complete steps 1 and 2, sewing the seam in step 3 with a straight stitch. Then edge stitch all 3 edges together with a zig zag stitch. Keep going from step 4 as described above.

Finishing the waist casing

The top of the skirt should look like this

Fold the waist band in half, to the wrong side of the skirt. Tuck in the extra overhanging bias binding and then stitch in place.

Don’t forget to leave a small opening in the casing to thread your elastic through. Once it is in place and you have checked it is a good fit you can sew up this little opening.


Use exactly the same technique described in the sewing steps to add bias to the bottom edge of your skirt to hem it

Aren't you excited to make one?  Thanks ladies!

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  1. This is such a great and useful tutorial! Thank you ladies! (And your pictures look GREAT for night-time. Aren't you glad you took them?)

  2. Great tutorial! This is such a darling outfit

  3. this is a wonderful tutorial. i can't pass up a good wool sweater at a thrift store. i usually felt them for crafts. i'd much rather be recycling or upcycling them into clothes for my two grandchildren


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