You might recognize this fabric from my Pencil Skirt! Hannah liked it so much and wanted one for herself. I had a few remnants left over so thought I’d give it whirl.
Well as cute as it is it is a little too short for a 7 year old! It’s not really a wear tights underneath kind of skirt either…
Simple solution add a knit ruffled hem!
I don’t know about you but I think that is much cuter, and a better length for a little girl! And extra brownie points as it now twirls!
Now for the tutorial, well tutorials really!
What You’ll need
Fabric – Knit mine is ruffled but any knit you like is fine!
25mm (1”) Elastic for the waistband
Thread, Pins, Measuring tape etc
Step 1 – Measure and Cut your fabric
You will need to measure the pieces there is no printed pattern. You need the waist measurement, Hannah’s is 21”. You don’t want the skirt too tight but not too lose either. Take the waist measurement and add 3 inches (this is for a size 7/8) if yours is much bigger add a little more, or if smaller add a little less. Roughly between 3 and 5 inches as a guide. Due to my fabric size restrictions I did two pieces with two side seams, you can just to do a single seam if you like.
I was restricted in the length too but you can make yours any length you like. A great way to work it out is to measure a skirt that you already have. Take this measurement and add 3 inches for waist and hem allowance. Or you can use an online chart to get the average measurements! As a quick example Hannah’s is, 21” + 3” = 24”.
Step 2 – Overlock Bottom Edges (Optional) * Only for ruffled fabric
Overlock the underneath layer as it is difficult to hem the ruffled fabric. You can just leave it raw most knit fabrics won’t fray, it’s up to you!
Step 3 – Pin and sew the side seams
With ruffled fabric you need to be very careful when pinning to make sure it lines up and the ruffles are not caught up the wrong way.
Repeat for the second side.
If you overlocked and are not hemming you will need to tuck in the ends of the thread. This just prevents it coming undone while wearing.
Step 4 – Adding a Waistband
Cut your elastic 2 inches smaller than your waist measurement, for example Hannah’s is 21” – 2” = 19”.
Join the elastic using zigzag so that it sits nice and flat. I have a full tutorial on that here.
Pin the elastic evenly on the inside of the waistband. I use the seams and pin the elastic in quarters to ensure it is even. I showed all the steps in the Colour Block Rugby Shorts tutorial in Step 5.
Sew the elastic in place using an overlocker (or zigzag works great too), just be careful not to cut the elastic with the overlocker!
It should look a little like this!
Fold the waistband over and pin in place.
Sew the waistband in using zigzag stitch, stretching the fabric as you go. There you have it a perfect waistband without any chance it is going to twist inside the casing or roll up for that matter. All big plusses in my world!
Step 5 – Hem
If you are hemming go ahead and do that however you like! You can just fold over and zigzag or use a double needle. Another cute finish is a lettuce hem which you can do using your regular sewing machine. Check out Step 9 below for the details!
Step 6 – Adding the ruffle hem
Cut a strip of knit fabric twice the length of the original fabric. This allows for the ruffles! I cut mine 48 inches (Hannah’s waist 21” + 3” allowance equals 24” x 2 equals 48” for this piece. I made mine 6 inches wide to get the length I wanted.
Step 7 – Gather one long side of the strip
I use a very easy technique to gather fabric. Only one line of stitching and minimal pulling. Set your thread tension as high as it will go (mine is 9) and your stitch length as long as it will go (mine is 4). Then sew straight down one long edge (top) about 3/8” in from the side. And there you have ruffles! DON’T lockstitch and leave the threads at the start and end long. You can pull on one thread (I find the lower works better for me) to make the gather tighter, or you can wriggle it along to loosen it off. Again I have a Superhero Cape tutorial with all the photos and instructions!
Step 8 – Sew
Now if you were doing this from the start you could attach the ruffle hem before sewing the side seam(s), it’s probably a little easier but as all layers stretch it’s not too bad this way! Sew the side seam either with the overlocker or zigzag.
Pin the ruffle hem in place under the bottom layer of the skirt.
Sew the new hem in place with zigzag stitch close to the edge.
Here is the inside, not super tidy but not too bad for a fix up!
You can stretch out the seam so that the gathering stitch snaps. That way the skirt will still be stretchy with the zigzag. You can unpick it if you really like, but I’ll deal with it if any stray threads come lose later! It won’t cause it to unravel the zigzag is holding it securely.
Step 9 – Lettuce Hem
Fold up the hem by about an inch, and pin in place.
Set your machine to zigzag and the stitch length to F, for me this is just after 1. As you can see above I had it set at about 1/2 but that was to wide, so I reduced to F. Sew on the folded edge so one side of the zigzag goes around the folded edge. It also helps if you pull the fabric from the front and back while sewing. This is just to hold it taught don’t pull it through the machine.
There you have a wiggly lettuce hem!
Just trim off the excess and you are finished!
Great simple summer staple and so comfortable and stretchy!