My love of making clothes/bags/gifts or anything really out of other abandoned things came more from a love of beautiful and unusual fabric than anything else. My passion grew into a desire to see less waste and a choice to try to dress in more ethically sourced clothes. On a tight budget and working for a small agency having just returned to the UK from a few years away I began to find treasures tucked in charity shops. I realized what great outfits could be conjured up from a scrap of fabric, an old bed sheet or a discarded dress being sold off extra cheap because of the gaping hole in the shoulder. And so my love of colours, sewing, fabric and clothes grew – and I spent many a weekend nestled away cutting, pinning, gathering and sewing to make all sorts of creations.
So today I’m setting you a challenge. Delve into the depths of your linen cupboard, head to your nans to rummage through hers or go on a charity shop/jumble/car boot sale rummage in search of the funkiest pillow case you can find. I usually find you can pick one up for about 50p sometimes a bit more for a pair. Today I found a matching pair for 60p – bargain!
And out of this you’re going to make a cute, gathered skirt!
What you need . . .
- A pillowcase (2 for sizes more than UK14) in a pattern you love
- A plain pillowcase or piece of fabric of similar size for the waistband (because I am using a pair I used the other side of the pillowcase)
- A ribbon or strip of fabric that is about 15cm wide and 30cm longer than your hip measurement
- Dressmakers pins
- A sewing machine or a needle
- An un-picker (not essential but helpful in any task involving salvaging fabric)
Measure around your hips (or waist if you prefer to wear your skirts there)
Take that number and make a note of it. We will call that number X. Now follow the formula below.
X ÷2 = Y
Y + X = T or the total length of fabric you will need
T ÷ 2 = F or the length your two pieces from step 2 need to be.
So let's go . . .
1. U npick the stitches that are holding the pillowcase together and pull
out all loose threads. Trim the edges that are unusable from
previous stitching but try to only cut off what you have to.
4. Now set your machine (if you’re using one) so it is set to sew the longest stitch. Using this setting sew along the top of the fabric two parallel lines ensuring they do not touch and are around 1 cm apart. Ensure you leave threads at the start and end of your line of stitching that you will be able to get hold of.
6. Now you have your gathering you need to take the measurement you took earlier-figure X - and ease out the fabric to equal that measurement. Leave 4cm extra as this is where you will sew your seam. Use your fingers to spread the gathering out so that it is even and the correct size for you.
9. Now choose your fastening – I have done mine with a tie at the top to finish and a zip but you can add a button, zip or hook and eye – whichever suits you. If you choose a tie just extend the waistband to a length that means you can tie a cute bow.
Take the open seam and put right sides together – do a straight stitch right up to where your fastening is. If you have put in a zip this is where you would add it. I will add a tutorial on how to insert a zip next week.
So there you have it a skirt sewn from a pair of pillow cases for only 60p! Plus a happy day spent sewing!
Next week I'll do a tutorial on how to add in a zip so that if anyone chose this to be their fastening there won't be any confusion!
Happy sewing :)