The pile of half-finished projects in the corner of the room is getting ridiculous, so I'm going to try to finish one thing each weekend. If I shoot for any more than that it's not going to work.
So first up: a skirt I started three weeks ago after finding some great vintage linen-blend fabric with a fun diamond pattern. I immediately thought of making a skirt with it and set to work making one without a pattern. (click on photo for close-up of pattern)
This turned out to be a good experiment, and I think that I'll eventually make a few more based on this model for summer. Very easy, and very quick once you consider that there's no zipper.
Buy two yards of 45" wide fabric. Lay it flat and cut it into thirds. The top 1/3 is for the front of the skirt, the middle 1/3 is for the back of the skirt, and the bottom 1/3 is for the waistband/belt. Lay the bottom 1/3 aside for now.
Sew the skirt front and the skirt back pieces together on one side with the right sides of the fabric together to make one long piece of fabric.
Pin pleats in the skirt about 4 inches apart. The depth of the pleat and the distance between them will depend on your measurements and where you want the skirt to hang on your hips.
I wanted my skirt to sit below my belly button. I had enough fabric based on that measurement to do about four pleats in the front and four in the back, with a medium sized pleats. Not too deep, because that adds a lot of bulk to the dress and will make the skirt look too poofy.
The quantity and dept of the pleats will be determined by your fabric choice. You can generally do larger pleats (and a greater number of them) if the fabric is lightweight and drapes nicely. If you're using heavier fabric such as denim, you can't do too many or the skirt won't be flattering.
This step is easily done if you have a dress form, but you can also lay it out flat on the table. Pin the pleats in place carefully and then wrap it around your waist to see if you need to make adjustments. You want to leave enough fabric to sew the other side seam (about an inch) If the pleats seem too deep or if you ran out of fabric, you can always re-pin.
Once you have the pleats where you like them, hand-baste them in place. Then machine sew all the way across the top of the skirt 1/4" from the raw edge to secure the pleats.
Sew the other side of the skirt, stopping about 4 inches from the top of the skirt.
Take the remaining fabric and cut it into 4 1/2 inch wide strips, lengthwise. Sew two of the strips together at one of the short sides, making one long one. Now fold the strip in half with the wrong sides of the fabric together and iron. I inserted some very heavy interfacing left over from a random belt project into my waistband to stabilize it.
7. Line up the raw edge of the folded fabric waistband with the raw edge of the top of the skirt. Make sure to also align the side seam of the skirt with the seam of the waistband for neatness' sake.
Sew along the edge, about 1/2" from the raw edge, all the way around. [step 1 in illustration]
8. Flip the strip upwards and iron. Top stitch the waistband to keep it from flipping.
9. At this point I cut off the excess waistband fabric from the front of the skirt. It's up to you which side will be the front and which will be the back- I like my opening on the right side of my body.
So cut the excess waistband fabric off and sew the waistband hole shut.
10. Use the remaining fabric to make another strip for the "belt" or tie of the skirt. You can attach it to the waistband a few inches from the opening you left for yourself.
11. Finish off the skirt opening with hand or machine stitches.
Think of this skirt as a sort of modified wrap skirt. Although the hole should close when you tie the "belt," you can add a few hook/eyes or snaps if you want to make sure the hole does not gape open when you sit down. Also, you'll probably notice ways to make it fit better on your body as you put it together. That's the beauty of this skirt- it's sort of a sewing problem solving lesson that pretty much always ends with a wearable garment. I can't really think of a way to screw this up so bad that it would be unwearable!