Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My DIY Striped Maxi Skirt

This post is all about my experience in making a striped high waist maxi skirt!
I was interning at a showroom on 9th St. in Downtown L.A. and included in a Spring 2013 collection was a fab maxi skirt with vertical stripes. Another intern and I really loved it and we decided to try making it since it was simple! We walked down the street during our break and went to visit a handful of stores until we found the perfect black & white striped knit fabric (which was $4 a yard). 

It is black and white (not yellow)

Until now, I had just put away the fabric because I had never sewn knits and the thought of it was intimidating! With the help of my FIDM graduate sister, we both worked on this project, both of us learning as we went along. I am by no means an expert in sewing but I went head in!

First came the cutting.
We did not buy a pattern so I decided to wing it! These were the measurements: length (from waist to floor: 46 in), waist (30 in) and hip (44 in) measurements as well as the approximate length I needed around my knees to walk (35). So I cut a piece of fabric 47 in X 45 in because I need seam allowance. I folded this in half like a hot dog so the width was now 17.5 in (length is still 47 in).
Measuring out widest part

Measuring total length
 After measuring length from top to bottom we cut off the excess fabric with a rotary cutter to make sure the hem would be straight.
Cutting hem
From the top, I went to the fold and measured half the waist (with seam allowance 15.5 in) and marked it. I measured my waist to my hips which was 10 in. so I measured 10 in down the fold then marked the point for the hips at 22.5 in from fold. I did this same process for the bottom. I wanted the hem to be 35 in so I marked 18 in away from the fold.

Closeup of blue marks made on fabric to identify waist, hip and hem measurements

So now I have 3 points on my fabric, i need to connect these and cut. Basically I cut a straight ling between them with a slight curve.

Joining the waist to the hip measurements (fabric was flipped)

Marking hip to hem measurements

I own a Brother SQ-9050, and not a serger so already I knew this project would be difficult because all of my knit clothing was made using a serger. Browsing around a few websites, I read that a zigzag stitch is ideal for knit fabrics because it allows stretch. So I stitched the seams with the zigzag and after trying the skirt on, the fit was great but the seam could easily pull and rip because a zigzag stitch is not strong enough. Therefore, i stitched along the seam again with a regular stitch to reinforce the seams.

Using the zigzag stitch

As for the waist, I just did  a fold and used stitch number 7 which did basically what number 5 did except it added a running stitch. I did not want a waistband so this was the simplest form i could think of.
For the hem, i decided to leave as is for the time being since knits do not ravel. After wearing it out once I will decide if a slit is needed for walking and THEN I will try hemming it with a twin needle which will be another adventure!
Check out my finished product!<3

Skirt looks bumpy on the sides because i had to pull it back since the mannequin  is smaller than my own body! ha!

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