Easy Gathered Skirt

These instruction are intended for a light to medium weight fabric. I suggest 100% cotton broadcloth as the least costly and most comfortable, cotton/poly blends are cheaper but warmer. Check it in sunlight to make sure there is no "plastic" shine if you opt for a blend. Linen is lovely and period but more expensive, the same with lighter weight woolens. For more expensive and/or bulkier fabrics, check out my instructions for the simple gored skirt. Usually two skirts are worn, one on top of the other...but if you've made an ankle length chemise, you can wear just one and the bottom of the chemise can serve as the underskirt.

Basic gathered skirts need no pattern and very few measurements, just around the waist and waist to desired length.( I measure to the floor and subtract a 1/2 inch.) If you will be wearing a bum roll, measure over it for the length.

Once you have the desired finished length, add an inch and a half for the top casing and about two inches for the hem. If it's for a growing girl, you may wish to add more to the hem and let it down as she grows.

Most fabric is 45" wide, so if your resulting length is less than that you can use the width of the fabric as the length of your skirt. The advantage to that is you can save time and use the selvage edge as the top (waistband). If you can do this, you will only need about two and a half to three yards of fabric. (I prefer three but 2 1/2 is okay unless you are quite rubenesque.) You will also need 1 inch non roll elastic, cut to your waist measurement plus one inch. If your length measurement plus 3 1/3 inches is longer than your fabric is wide, you will need to use the alternate directions for the easy gathered skirt.

Pre-shrink your fabric and make sure both ends are straight (on the grain)...either snip the selvage and tear straight across, or pull a thread and cut along it. Press entire length of fabric. It's a pain but will make it much easier to work with. I suggest using a spray mist bottle of water to speed the process. Measure from selvage (top) across to the length required. Snip and rip or pull thread and cut. Fold fabric in half across the width, WRONG sides together, matching selvages and raw edges. (If you wet with the water mist and then press, you won't even need to pin it in place!) Stitch from top (selvage) down using ONLY 1/4 inch seam allowance. You should have a giant tube of fabric. Press the seam to one side, turn wrong side out, fold on seam and press. Sew again, this time using 3/8" seam allowance. (This is known as a "French Seam" and conceals the raw edge) Press to one side.

gathered skirt casingTurn down selvage edge 1 1/2 inches, press, and sew a 1 1/4 inch casing, leaving an opening to insert the elastic. Using the desired finished length, measure and mark the hem fold. Turn raw edge under 1/4" to 1/2", press. Turn on fold line, press and stitch hem in place. Feed elastic thru casing, adjust gathers and try on skirt. Adjust elastic to fit snugly...remember your waist will be compressed by your bodice and you don't want the skirt slipping down! Pin the elastic, sew and then sewing the casing closed. A drawstring cord may be substituted for the elastic in you prefer...just cut the cord long enough to pass over your hips so it doesn't slip back into the casing. Tie the ends together in a square knot. You're done!

Questions or suggestions about these directions?  Just contact me.

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