Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Guest Post: A Panel Skirt Tutorial

**Looking for the Linky Party?  Scroll down!!**

For this week's Tute {Yourself} Tuesday, I have a guest blogger!! My first ever in fact. I've mentioned her a before, she's none other then my friend Natalie from Corduroy Dreams! I'm super excited to have her here today! Take it away...

Hey there! I'm Natalie, from Corduroy Dreams, and I am going to share with you my tutorial on how to make an Easy Panel Skirt. Before I get into it, I have to tell you that I am so excited to be guest posting at Little Eme today. I have known Maleah for a few years now, and I love her blog. Aren't her cute little hats the cutest? Sometimes I think she must be up all night crocheting all of those hats, but if you ever get the chance to watch her crochet, you'll know how she does so many of them... She is so fast! 

Anyway, here's how to make an Easy Panel Skirt.

I had this skirt from college {black & white one below} that didn't fit me anymore.
Can I blame it on having babies? I pretty much blame everything on having babies, so yeah, I'm going to blame not fitting in any of my clothes on having babies. Anyway, I loved this skirt because the vertical lines gave it a very slimming effect, and I will take all the slimming effects I can get. Since it didn't fit me anymore, I used it as a pattern to make a new {bigger} skirt.
And, here's how!

Supplies you'll need for this skirt:

Fabric- Any cotton fabric will work fine. I've used this pattern with a regular quilter's fabric, and it was very lightweight and breezy, but fine. The fabric I'm using here is a little thicker, and it was actually in the apparel section at Joann. You'll need about 1 1/2 yards {45" wide}. I wanted my skirt 28 inches long, so I got double that amount of fabric {56 inches, which is just over a yard and a half}. I do, however, have SUPER long legs, so just measure and see how long you want yours. My model skirt was only 26 inches long, but I wanted to add some length. Oh, and make sure you get a fabric that you don't have to match the pattern. Stripes would NOT look good because of all the different pieces.

Piping- 3 times as long as your length. Mine was 28", so times 3, I needed 84 inches, plus a few inches just in case.

Bias Tape- One package {3 yards}. This is to go around the top and bottom.

Zipper- Mine was 9 inches. I like invisible zippers, but use whatever you have.

Scissors, sewing machine, matching thread

The skirt is basically made of 7 panels. I know it looks intimidating, but please don't give up. I promise, it's easy. Here is how the panels go together to make the skirt.

I used my son's drawing paper to make my pattern. You can use newspaper or tissue paper, whatever.

All of my measurements I'm sharing with you are based off of my old skirt. I'm not sure what size it was, but it had a 28 inch waist {THAT'S why it didn't fit!!!}. Add to it or take away if you need to. I'll show you when.

So... 6 out of 7 of your panels are the same shape. It is this shape {below}: So, you need 6 of these. Don't forget to add 1/2" seam allowance.

One side of the panel is straight. The other side is slanted. So on a straight edge, just cut in 4 inches on top and 7 inches on bottom. {plus 1/2" for 2 seam allowances} then cut the top to the bottom and it should make this shape.
I forgot to label this, but it's panel A.

Your 7th Panel is just the above panel {panel a} doubled. You don't need to cut a pattern paper for this, because you're going to cut on the fold, so just cut a pattern paper for panel a {the one above this}, and you're good. This is your back, center panel. Like I said, this one needs to be cut on the fold.

Here is the diagram of how I cut my fabric.

I messed up and started cutting from the biased edge in, but start with your straight edge on the fold {for panel b} and start cutting outward, toward the biased edge.

Here are the back pieces laid out, ready to sew together.

Remember how I said that the back middle piece {panel b} is just panel a doubled, well..... if you want to make your skirt bigger, add a few inches to panel b. Just move it away from the fold as much as you want to add. Really, it's better to make it bigger and take in the side seams, than to make it too small. Or, if you want to make it smaller, just cut panel b smaller.

And here is my front all ready to be sewn together {below}.
This part might get confusing... Stick with me.
Sew the center pieces' straight edges together. {Right sides together}
Then the outside pieces' slanted edges get sewn to the center pieces' slanted edges.
You'll know it's right if you've got the straight edges on the side seams, which will be sewn to the back. And you'll know you've sewn the back part right if you've got the straight edges on the side seams too.
So, always sew slanted to slanted and straight to straight.
{the picture below might confuse you, but trust me.}

I started sewing the front. Sew the two center pieces together. Right sides together. You're sewing the straight edges to each other.

I used my serger, but you can use a regular machine, whatever.

Once you've sewn the center seam, then sew the outside panels.

Be a good little seamstress and iron your seams.

Now you need to add your piping. Cut it the length of your skirt. Mine is 28 inches, but I added half an inch, just in case.

You'll need to cut 3.

You're going to top-stitch the piping on top of the seams on the front of your skirt. No piping on the side seams or back of the skirt.
Make sure not to pull the piping too tight or your skirt won't lay flat. Don't ask how I know that.

Sew down one edge of the piping and back up the other edge.

As long as your thread matches your piping, it shouldn't matter if you sew {perfectly} straight, but at least stay on the piping... oopsie!

Then cut off the excess on the bottom.

Once you've got the piping on, then sew the back piece to the front piece on one side. Right sides together. We are only sewing one side because you still have to add the bias tape to the top and bottom and add a zipper before you sew the other side up.
You might want to try the skirt on at this point, because it's still easy to take in a seam if you need to, or cut a bigger back panel {panel b} if it's too small.

Start sewing the bias tape onto the top {waist} and bottom of the skirt.

If you are standing in the sewing isle of your local craft store and you're thinking to yourself... "hmmm, what kind of bias tape should I get..." Let me show you what kind NOT to get.

You really need to get the kind that just folds in half rather than in thirds, but since I had been back to the store TWICE already, and my second trip made me re-think having children anymore....
I made the kind of bias tape I had work. I had to zig-zag it so that I could stitch down both edges, but if you had the right kind, you would just have to do a straight stitch.
Please, just get the right kind.

And since I had such a hard time with the {wrong type of} bias tape on the waist, I opted to just serge the bottom and then top stitch the extra piping on top. You could really do this instead of using bias tape at all. But you would need a serger, or you'd have to finish the edges.

Make sure you don't let the serged edge hang below your piping.

Then sew your zipper in and sew up the other side.

If you need help sewing in your zipper, refer to the package for instructions, or you can check out this post by Michelle at SewMamaSew. {I didn't do it the way Michelle did it, so I'm thinking I probably did it the wrong way, but meh.... It still worked.}

The zipper is the only thing that holds the skirt together, so if you are nervous about that, you can add a button and a loop at the top just in case. I didn't, because let's face it, I'm sort of lazy.

And there you have it!
This skirt took me about 1 1/2 hours, and cost $13.00, but you could make it for much cheaper if you found a fabric on sale!

I also made one using green and brown.

And, on a side note, I take back the thing I said earlier about not wanting kids anymore. They're just too cute!
{By the way, it took me 7 shots to get one of this skirt without either kid or The Mr. lacing up his bball shoes.}

Thanks for reading, and if you made it all the way to the end, good for you!
Please feel free to stop by my blog anytime to see what I've been up to!


Thanks so much for sharing with us today Nat! I can't wait to give this a try... just as soon as I get a working machine. :/ Yeah, my machine is outta commission. :'( That's why all the crochet projects of late. Hopefully I'll have a new one soon.

Do any of you have a great Tutorial that you'd like to share on Tute {Yourself} Tuesday? If so, I'd love to feature you! Please email me at maleahbliss@msn.com Can't wait to hear from you! :)


  1. So beautiful and classy!! I can't wait to try it!

  2. This skirt is soooo cute! I am very impressed you made your own pattern! I love it!


Thanks for stopping by! I'm so glad you did. :)