For Lucy’s birthday party last month she mentioned, “Mom, let’s have a fiesta! And everyone should wear a cute Mexican dress.” I loved the idea. And I love a girl with a vision. But I wasn’t sure if everyone would have a fiesta-looking dress.
So I rummaged through my trim box, grabbed yards of bright fabrics, and started sewing amped up versions of the Simple Skirt for her little fiesta friends.
And they were so much fun! Originally I thought, I’ll just keep it simple….one row of trim per skirt, 1 yard of fabric and I’m done (and you could do that…and it would be totally cute). But I found that as I sewed, I wanted to add more and more. More trim, new skirt layers, rows and rows of thread on the hemline. I couldn’t stop! Even at 3am (when my husband was out of town so I could let my creative OCD go crazy). Seriously, you’re gonna love making these.
And when you pair them with Wallflowers, Easter Egg Maracas, and Ruffled Streamers, you’ve got a full-on Fiesta ready to go!
Here’s what you do.
If you’ve never made a Simple Skirt (or any sort of gathered skirt) please read through the tutorial first and then move on to the next steps….
FABRIC and PREP
What really makes these skirts fun is the amount of fabric used. In the Simple Skirt tutorial we measured the waist and then doubled that for the width of the skirt fabric. Here we want the width to be 3 or even 4 times the size of the waist, which means you’ll probably need to cut two long rectangles of fabric, with two side seams (rather than one rectangle as we did in the Simple Skirt).
Here are the dimensions to cut (more details about measuring/cutting in the Simple Skirt tutorial):
Of course you can make your skirt any size/length you’d like. These are just the parameters I used to make skirts for Lucy and her 7-year-old friends.
If you’re making these for a friend and you’re not able to measure their waist, simply ask their mom if she’ll measure for you (she can use a piece of string and a ruler if she don’t have a measuring tape)….or if it’s a surprise gift, measure the size of a skirt at the store so you know what an 8-year old waist-size might be, etc.
TYPES OF FABRIC
I prefer colorful solids in either:
• 100% cotton (such as Kona Cottons) found at most fabric shops and comes in a variety of colors, runs about $6/yard, or….
• Broadcloth which is typically a polyester/cotton blend, runs about $3/yard, and also comes in many colors. The fabric doesn’t wrinkle (which I love) but can also be thin and a bit see-thru. So you’ll probably have to double layer the fabric. You can do this by sewing two layers of fabric together as if it’s one piece of fabric, or you can add a white muslin layer under it, or you can sew both layers separately as we did in the double-layer Simple Skirt tutorial (except that we’re leaving off the bias tape binding). Also, for these skirts I cut the double-layer only 1 inch longer than the top layer so there’s just a bit of color peeking out.
Bottom line, do what works with the fabric you have and the amount of fabric you need (do the math before going to the fabric shop). And just have fun, of course. Which leads me to the next point….
Okay the trim is really makes this a ¡Fiesta! Skirt.
I’m sort of a trim-hoarder and whenever I see a fun one I just buy it, knowing that I’ll find a project for it one day…like this one! My favorite spot for trims is the FIDM Scholarship store and Michael Levine (more on both of those HERE). Now obviously that’s less than helpful for most of you…so grab whatever fun trims are at most fabric shops and online. The trim should be at least the width of the skirt. And if you can’t find any trims (or can’t afford what you find)….simply sew rows and rows of thread around the skirt! Or hand-sew rows! Cheap and cute (more on that later).
Here are my favorite trims:
Pom Pom Trim
And with your fabric, trims, and elastic cut, we’re ready to sew!
Refer to the photo below.
1. After cutting my skirt fabric I typically serge the top and bottom of the fabric just to make my hemming and casing easier. You don’t need to do this. But what you may want to do is either: sew the hem in place first (if you think you’ll sew trims over the top of the hem)….or….iron the hem in the place just so can see where the hem will be so you don’t sew trims over the top of it. It’s all your preference.
ALSO…if you originally cut the skirt fabric as two pieces, sew one of the side-seams together so that you have one very long piece of fabric to work with here.
2. Start arranging and pinning trims to the fabric, down the entire width of the skirt and remember that pretty much anything goes. I love the look of a dark trim next to light, and pastels mixed with bolds. The most important thing here is to make sure your trims are spaced the same distance on both ends of the fabric, so that when you bring the other side seam together, the trims match up (refer to photo #4)
3. Sew your trims in place on top of the fabric. For standard size ric rac you can sew one line right down the middle. For this over-sized ric rac above I actually sewed down each zig zag…which. took. forever. But I wanted it to stay put and not flop around.
4. When all your trims are in place fold your skirt in half (with right sides together) and sew the other side seam.
To top off the look, I sewed rows and rows of thread in various colors next to the trims and around the hem. Some rows are close together, some are spaced out. It makes the fabric look rich and festive.
You can also hand-sew with embroidery thread for a chunkier look.
When you’ve embellished enough, finish the skirt by sewing the waistband casing, string your elastic through, sew the hem and you’re done! All these steps are outlined in the Simple Skirt tutorial (along with steps for making a double-layered skirt)
With one fabric down, pick up the next color and go ¡crazy!
Before you know it, you’ll have a stack of skirts just waiting for senoritas
(Details of Lucy’s party coming later this week…so you can find out the fun way we gave the skirts to the girls!)