I know I'm in good company when I say that I often find myself watching Jimmy Fallon (or some lesser TV show), making a pot of coffee at 11:59pm (to counteract the glass of wine I had at 9pm), so I can savor just a couple more hours of uninterrupted, midnight sewing (or knitting or crafting). I have a very creative day job, and though it does involve quite a bit of sewing and knitting, I don't have a lot of time to do things for myself or my kids, especially not in daylight (can I get an "amen"?!). So when my sister came to visit, I had an excuse to close the laptop and head over to the studio after the kids went to bed (between us, there were 4 kids under the age of 4 in the house) so we could bond over the sewing machine. And this is what we made.... Actually, we made 7 of them... Hence the name the "Late Night Skirt". Late night sewing is best when it doesn't require one to be sharp or fresh. And this little ditty is MIND-LESS! And I don't need to tell you that it's cute....
So let's get you prepped.
Before she goes to sleep, measure her waist and her length from waist to knee.
Here's what you'll need (these cuts of fabric are based on amounts that any store will be happy to cut for you- you will see below that you need less depending on the wearer's measurements):
1/2 yard of fabric for the main part of the skirt
1/4 yard of fabric for the waistband of the skirt
1 package of 1/4" elastic
You probably have all of that already!
Now write this down: #latenightskirt @finchsewingstudio
When you're done, you'll need to post a picture on instagram, tag us, and use the hashtag- then we can all play!
Read through all the steps before beginning. They'll make more sense if you do.
Measure your little from her waist to her knee.
Cut the main skirt fabric down from 18" (which is a 1/2 yard) to the measurement above. So, for example, let's say your girly is 13" from her waist to her knee... You will cut that piece down to 13" by 45" (45" is the width of the fabric- this is how it is cut off the bolt). Don't cut the width of the fabric- leave it as-is.
Cut the waistband fabric down from a 9" strip to a 6" strip (you may want it to be 5" if you're sewing for a baby- but don't go smaller than that!). So the waistband piece is now 6" by 45". Fold this in half lengthwise, wrong sides together and iron a crease in the middle of the strip. Unfold the strip.
Lay the main fabric out on your table, right side up. Now lay the waistband fabric right side down on top of the skirt, lining the raw edges of the fabric up together. Pin these edges together.
Now roll the skirt piece up from the bottom edge to the waistband piece. Keep your roll small so that you don't get it caught up in the sewing later. Keep rolling until the waistband flips over. Now you can line the remaining raw edge of the waistband up with the opposite raw edge of the waistband and the top raw edge of the skirt.
You should now have a waistband burrito with a skirt roll-up in the middle.... :) Stick your fingers inside the burrito and push the skirt roll up away from the pinned raw edges so that you don't catch the skirt in the seam that you are about to sew. Sew with a 1/4" seam allowance along the pinned edge- you are sewing 3 layers of fabric together at once (2 layers of the waistband and the top edge of the skirt in between).
Once you have sewn that seam, pull the rolled up skirt out of the waistband tube.
I know... it's pretty cool.
Iron the waistband seam away from the skirt on both sides.
Now you're going to sew channels into the waistband for two elastic pieces. Start by sewing a line down the length of the waistband 3/4" away from the top fold of the waistband.
Then sew a line in the same way 3/4" away from the bottom of the waistband, where it meets up with the skirt.
Now sew a line halfway between the previous two lines. You should have 4 channels now.
I put elastic through only the middle 2 channels to create a ruffle effect at the top of the skirt. This style is super cute with tank tops and ballet shirts and will be even cuter with a cardi in the fall. If you have a ruffle-shy lady, you can use the top two or three channels for a no-frill version of this comfy skirt.
Measure your girl's waist, and subtract 1/2 inch. Cut your elastic pieces to this measurement.
Using a bodkin (this is a great tool, by the way... we have them at the shop), thread your elastic through each channel, being careful to pin the end of the elastic so that it doesn't disappear into the channel as you're working.
Once each elastic piece is threaded through, fold the skirt in half, right sides together (so that it resembles a skirt), matching up the elastic ends and pinning them together first. Then pin the selvage edges together down the rest of the skirt. I used a generous seam allowance here so that the selvage could be hidden inside the skirt (maybe 3/4"). Also, be careful to catch your elastic pieces in your stitching before removing your pins (so the elastic doesn't suck itself back into the waistband).
Iron the seam open. I stitched these seam allowances down on either side of the seam so that the elastic and large seam allowance doesn't bother the wearer as she wears it. :)
Last step! Fold the bottom edge of the skirt up 3/4" to the wrong side and iron. Fold again, and pin. Hem the skirt using a 5/8" seam allowance. If you're doing this with a mini sewist (this is a great kids' sewing project!!!), I would hem while the skirt piece is flat (so do this step first, in that case).
Aren't they cute?! I must say, this pattern really shows off Cotton + Steel and its ability to play well between designers. It all looks so good together!
And here's an adult version.... Same idea, with a couple modifications.... By the way, there's a mother/daughter, auntie/niece, bestie/mini bestie class on these skirts. It's a fun way to have a great experience with your little girl.