The first consideration in making the skirt is how you’d like it to fit and where the waistband will be worn. Some like the skirt to sit a little lower towards the hip rather than tight around the waist. In this example we are using two different fabrics for the skirt. The directions for the skirt portion is found in the Color Block Ruffle Fabric Tutorial.
Ruffle fabric & elastic
FIGURE TWO MEASUREMENTS
Many professionals suggest deducting one-half to one inch from the waist measurement so the elastic fits nice and snug. (This is especially important when using our 3” elastic. We deduct a full inch.) If when the measurement is taken, the tape is pulled snug, no deduction is taken. Because we overlap the ends of the elastic to sew it together, add 3/4" or so.
Our waist measurement for this skirt was 19.5 inches- we cut the elastic 20.5 inches
The length measurement is taken below the elastic to the desired length. Some prefer above the knee, some below. When using 2” RUFFLES the length needs to be flexible—an inch longer or shorter. Because we cut between the 2” RUFFLE, the length is usually an even number. (When using the 3” elastic, we opt for a shorter length because the skirt slips down slightly, even when the elastic fits snugly.)
We also consider the hip measurement (for adult-sized skirts) to determine if the full width of the ruffle fabric being used will allow the skirt to drape nicely in the back- we would not want the gathered skirt to be tight around the bottom. (This is also a consideration in determining the length of the skirt. Will it be too short in the back after draping over the buttocks?
For infant sizes up to 5-6 toddler sizes, we use approximately 36 inches of the RUFFLE width, leaving 12” or so for another project (embellishments, etc). It is an individual preference how much fullness or how many gathers to put into the skirt. In some instances, with a large adult waist size, we have used a number of inches from an additional width of ruffle fabric, adding to the full width of the fabric.
If uncertain, cut the skirt one extra RUFFLE longer. It can easily be trimmed off at any time during or after the skirt is completed.
Decide which cut end will serve as the top of the skirt. (See note for sewing with Cotton Candy 1” RUFFLES and Candy Cane 1” RUFFLES.) There is no need to hem the bottom of the skirt as it will not fray. But if you desire to serge, it will add a little weight to the bottom of the skirt.
We like to serge the ends of the elastic and apply a drop of Fray Check to the ends of the threads. Set it aside to dry. (optional step)
After fray check dries, trim the thread on the elastic.
Stitch elastic ends together, reinforcing at both edges.
Stagger the ends to reduce bulk in finished elastic
Turn right side out, then stitch 1/4” from seam (stitching down the seam allowances), then again, 1/4” away from the first seam line.
Second seam 1/4" away from the first
Finished elastic, wrong side showing
Finished elastic, right side showing
SEAMING THE SKIRT
We have found this to be the fastest, easiest way to sew the skirt together. The seam becomes the SIDE rather than the back of the skirt.
Serge off (or baste) the right selvage so that it holds the RUFFLES in place. Then after determining how much of the width to use, serge on the wrong side of the RUFFLES, which holds the RUFFLES in place on the left side.
Make sure all ruffles are facing down when serging (or basting). This will hold all the ruffles in place for the next steps.
Place right sides together, matching RUFFLES. Using the lines on the wrong side of the fabric, pin the fabric together.
If the lines match, the RUFFLES on the right side will be perfectly (or nearly) matched. Serge off the previously serged edges of both sides as you seam the skirt together.
GATHER THE TOP OF THE SKIRT
There are several ways. If you have a serger and have not yet used your serger to gather your RUFFLE FABRIC, you may want to check with the manufacturer to see if you can increase the tension, lengthen the stitch and change the differential to allow gathering. Another way to gather the top is to sew a long stitch, then pull the top thread to gather the FABRIC. Or zigzag over a heavy thread (dental floss even works!), then secure one end and pull the other to create gathers.
zigzagging over thick thread (dental floss shown here)
Divide the elastic into fourths and mark with a single thread. Repeat with the gathered top of the skirt. Match the two seams, then half mark, the fold to find and mark quarters.
Bring the tacks from the elastic to the corresponding ones on the skirt top.
Adjust gathers to fit elastic, and pinning with the point up to the top of the elastic. (Take care to prevent the RUFFLES from catching on the pins!) The elastic will line up at the top of the RUFFLE (Note exception for 1” Cascading Brown, Pink and Yellow with White Dots).
STITCHING ELASTIC TO SKIRT
Professional/industrial Cover Stitch machines deliver a flawless dual seam to join the elastic and skirt together. You can create a similar finished product by using a twin needle.
Using a twin needle, the top of the waistband will have two adjacent rows of stitching. The underside has a zigzag stitch which allows the elastic to stretch without breaking or popping the stitch. Twin needles come in various widths. You will need to explore which widths are compatible for your sewing machine. We use the 4.0 or 6.0 (the 6.0 makes the parallel stitches further apart than the 4.0). When sewing over the seam of the elastic and skirt, it may be necessary to “walk” the machine over the multiple layers by moving the wheel by hand to prevent skipping stitches.
CANDY CANE AND COTTON CANDY RUFFLE FABRICS – have a definite one way design to allow the RUFFLES to cascade, showing the fine colored edge beautifully. Cut the fabric one RUFFLE longer than the desired length of the skirt, then trim the top RUFFLE, leaving both parts of the fabric between RUFFLES, the opaque strip and the sheer strip. Both parts are needed to allow enough room to gather and attach the elastic.
BROWN, PINK, AND YELLOW POLKA DOT 1” RUFFLE FABRICS – When attaching elastic to skirt, we drop the elastic down slightly (about 1/8”) to cover the portion that is not colored, otherwise there is a white strip between the elastic and the beautifully colored design of the fabric.