Halloween of 2010 found my sister with a new baby, Halloween costumes to sew, and a kitchen demolition/remodel in progress. I offered to help with the Halloween costumes - and made a petti-skirt for an 'ocean fairy', inspired by 'Shannon the Ocean Fairy' book.
History: A few years ago, my sister and I started searching for instructions on how to make petti-skirts because they were cute and her daughter (3-ish at the time) needed one.
We found a video on Martha Stewart's web site that gave what I think are pretty bad instructions - but we were inspired and kept looking. I found yet another blog - Grosgrain that listed 3 very important things to know:
1. Use nylon chiffon. It's soft, doesn't fray ... and seems to be only sold on-line. (The best place: AFC Express. 27 different colors, very inexpensive, and fast shipping.)
2. Build from the bottom up.
3. Know how to 'shirr'. (Wind elastic thread in the bobbin, thread on the top, set the stitch to the longest setting, and sew = gathers)
With that information, my sister ordered fabric and sewed 2 incredibly cute petti-skirts for her daughter.
I was a little slower - and intimidated by the instructions - so I kept looking and pondering.
Then I found the mecca of all instructions on of a blog called 'Creative Chaos'. I wasn't even looking for petti-skirts when I found her stuff. She has long, meticulous, detailed instructions and even hand dyed fabric to make them. Wow!. (Instructions found here and here and here.) I jumped on the petti-skirt making wagon and made 3 skirts for nieces that Christmas. (without any pictures to show for it. bummer.)
Having made three petti-skirts, I understood what was involved ... and knew I had time to do it. Just in case I need to make them again, here's what I did:
1. Read the instructions from 'Creative Chaos' - at least twice. :)
2. Calculate fabric needed:
My niece is 6 years old with 16" waist to knee = 5.5" + seam allowance = 6.5" strips
middle tier - 4 strips x 6.5" x 2 layers
bottom tier - 8 strips x 6.5" x 2 layers
total: 24 strips @6.5" = 4.333 yds
fluff: 8 strips x 3 x 3" width x 2 layers = 4 yds
(I used some shiny polyester-satin like fabric I found at JoAnn's for the top tier.)
My niece picked out the colors herself and here's what it looked like when it arrived:
Aqua for the body of the skirt and pink for the bottom ruffle.
3. Cut it out. To do this you either need a long counter, several really long tables, or lay it out on the floor.
a. Use a ruffler to 'gather' the fluff'
Just to confirm, 48 WOF strips takes a long time to gather. :)
b. sew the bottom tier strips together .
c. sew the fluff onto the bottom tier.
d. 'shirr' the top of the bottom tier.
e. sew the middle tier strips together .
f. zigzag over the elastic bobbin thread to attach bottom tier to middle tier. (and if you're really picky like me, pull out the elastic thread because 'it gathers the fabric more that I like' and 'you can see it'.)
Remember you've got 2 layers to this skirt, so go back and do all of the above for the second layer.
g. sew the top tier - the satin - into a circle, remembering to leave a 1.5" gap to thread the elastic into. Fold in half long ways. Sew 1.5" down from the top to make the elastic casing. Sew down one more inch to keep the skirt looking pretty.
h. sew gathering thread into the top of the middle tier. I like 2 gathering threads.
i. pin to the satin and sew. Repeat for 2nd layer, but sew to the inside edge of the satin. (ie, make it a reversible skirt ... because what 4-6 year old actually looks at the seams to see if it is inside out.)
j. put the elastic in. Put a bow or flower in the front.
Stand back and be proud. And watch the recipient twirl.
The skirt was delivered in time for Halloween ... and the recipient was quite happy with it - and the 'twirly-ness'. Yea!