Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Folded Miniskirt Tutorial

Update: I'm turning this into a real pattern! Subscribe on paprikapatterns.com to be the first to know when it gets released. You can see my progress herehere and here. It'll be available on a 'pay what you want' basis, with the option to get it for free! If you can't wait, follow the tutorial below. 

FINALLY! Here it is: 8 steps to having your own folded miniskirt! The first skirt was made in a couple of hours, without any measuring. I just draped, fit, cut. Whereas this tutorial easily took me 15 hours! But, a promise is a promise, and I'd love to see you making it. Good luck! Here we go:
Difficulty: Intermediate. It's based on the Drapedrape dress no 7, and it has the same 'what am I looking at here' feel to it. At one point you'll think, 'what a mess' and then it just clicks and you have a beautiful skirt. This click does not seem to happen with everyone, showing from the comments. If you're not sure about it: wait for the pattern!

Fabric: 
One meter/yard is more than enough. I used jersey on both skirts, but you could use anything. A heavier fabric will make bigger folds, a fabric that creases easily will make sharp folds. Just remember that with no stretch you'll need to make a closing, and the fabric-heavy side seams are not suitable for a zipper. I do not use a closing on the skirt, I sort of wriggle myself into it. Yes, it's these kind of weird things that made me hesitate to make a tutorial, because now you can all see the shortcuts I take.

Tools: 
Nothing fancy, just pins, maybe chalk, ruler, scissors.

Step 1: Pattern pieces & measurements
The pattern pieces for this skirt are so easy, you can draw your own right on the fabric. For this you need your measurements. Measure the circumference of the widest point of your hips. For me this is at my lower hip bones. This is what we'll transfer to the pattern. You will need:

1) front
I used my measurements as an example: 100 cm. For the width, use this formula: ([measurement]/2)+10. So for me this is (100/2)+10=60 cm. The length is 67 cm in total, including 1,5 cm seam allowance at top and bottom.

2) back
The width of the back will then be ([measurement]/2)-10, which is 40 cm for me. The length is also 67 cm.

3) lining
The lining will have the same width as the front piece (60 for me), but half of the length, which is 33,5. I used the same fabric for this, but you could use something else too, as long as it's stretch.

We are working with a few centimeters of excess fabric, so if the pieces are a bit off here and there during the assembling, don't worry.

Step 2: Cut fabric & mark with pins.
Cut the pattern pieces: front (67x[front measurement]), back (67x[back measurement]) and lining (33,5 x [front measurement]). On the right side of the front piece, mark the edges on the distances (in cm) indicated below. You could use chalk for this, but I used colored pins to indicated what part folds to what: in the pattern indicated with blue and purple.

Step 3: Start folding!
Use the image above, and start folding the skirt at the bottom. Start with the first small purple fold on the right, from 0 to 4 cm, like this:


I used yellow and red pins on my fabric. Fold the bottom of the fabric to the back (including the seam allowance). On the left, fold in only the seam allowance. Pin in place. Then, fold the small purple on the left in the same way, together with the big blue fold on the right. Follow the numbers in the drawing. The blue fold lays over the small fold. To make things clear, I made a video of folding the first three folds, so you can see how it works. The X marks are the small purple folds, the circles mark the big blue folds.

video

Continue to fold the pins as shown in the pattern. The small purple ones form a fold across the skirt with the big blue ones. When you're done, the fabric should look like this:


Use pins to hold the folds in place. Be careful when you move the fabric: if you pick it up the folds will unfold. Make sure the height is the same on the left and right side, 32 cm. If not, adjust the folds a bit.

Step 4: Add lining
Take out the pin at the bottom of the skirt so you can pin the lining to it. Put the lining on the front piece, right sides together. Pin the bottom of the lining to the seam allowance of the front piece, then turn it around and fold the lining over the back of the front. The bottom of the lining is at an angle, which means you need to cut a bit off the top. Don't let the seam fall exactly at the bottom, but leave 0,5 cm at the bottom of the front part. This will make the bottom of the front part look like a fold, too. No seams will be visible on the outside. The back of your fabric should look like this now:


 If it looks right, sew the lining to the front piece at the part you just pinned.

Step 5: Secure the folds
Now, you're going to secure every individual fold to the lining. First, pin the bottom in place to make sure you don't shift it while pinning. Then, move your hand under the fold, in between the fabric, until your fingertips feel the fold on the inside. Put pins along the fold right where your fingertips are. If you're doing it right, no pins should be visible on the front.


Then, sew the part you just pinned with a zig-zag. Continue this for the other folds, too. The picture below indicates in yellow where your zig zag seams should be. Be sure to sew the right side of the fold, so that it doesn't show on the outside. I'd recommend pinning and sewing one fold at a time, instead of pinning all and then sewing all, to make sure the lining is not pulling on the front.



Step 6: Add back
Lay the front piece on the back piece, right sides up, like in the picture below. You can see that I already cut the pieces according to my shape, but you will do this when fitting the skirt. I had the advantage to be working with a finished skirt so I could just transfer the measurements.



Fold the back piece over the front piece, and pin them together. The front will bubble a bit inside the back, as it is wider. Then, pull the front all the way out of between the back pieces, and turn the back piece inside out.



Step 7: Try it on!
This is where you will do the fitting. Try it on, and put pins on the places at the seam where you want to take it in. I took in fabric at the top, obviously, and at the bottom. It is now snug and follows my curves. As you can see, the bulk of fabric created at the side seams doesn't really show because the seams lay more to the back than exactly at the side. For someone with big hips like me, this is really fortunate. If you are satisfied with the fit, sew the side seams and cut off the excess fabric. There is no need to finish the seams because there aren't any!

Step 8: Add waistband
Draft a waistband according to the measurements of your skirt. Make the front piece longer than the back piece so as to match the side seams of the skirt. Unfortunately, I am not an expert on waistbands. I just drafted a standard, slightly curved 4 cm high waistband. Four pieces in total, sewn together at the top, turned, joined at the side and sewn to the skirt (with small zig-zag, or another way to keep the horizontal stretch). To secure the inside piece I stitched in the ditch of the front seam. I hope you are better at this than I am, this usually takes me some fitting turns and a lot of adjusting pins. If necessary, you can make two small pleats on the back piece of the skirt, like I did with my first skirt. For some reason, it wasn't necessary this time. Maybe it has something to do with the fabric.



That's it, you're done! 
I hope this tutorial makes sense. If you have any questions or problems, just leave a comment or send me an email so I can help you or add things. And, ofcourse, if you use this on your blog, please link back to it. Also, this tutorial is intended for personal use only.

I'm very pleased with my finished skirt, and I'll show it as soon as I have the opportunity to make some decent photo's!

UPDATE: check out my second skirt!

66 comments:

  1. Oh, yay! Oh, rats, now I need to find time to try it!

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  2. What a nice skirt! Thanks for sharing the tutorial, I might make it one day! :)

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  3. This is adorable! I need to make one for my daughter! She LOVES skirts!!!

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  4. Found this on Pinterest. Thank you for sharing.

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  5. Where did you get the cute mustard-colored striped fabric from?

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    1. The weekly market in Groningen, The Netherlands.

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  6. ooo I think I feel a new project coming along for me ^_^ I've been looking for fun new ways of doing a bodycon skirt apart from using funky fabric - This may be it ;)

    PQP
    http://prettyquirkypants.com
    xx

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  7. Hi! I favourited this on Burdastyle and followed the tutorial here..this skirt looks like a beaut, but I am having trouble with all that folding.. I just can't get my head around the diagram and which folds fold outwards and which inward...any tips? can you expand? thankkyoou!

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    1. I've added numbers to the folds in the diagram, to show which should be folded at the same time. Just remember that the big fold falls over the small fold. Purple is outward, blue is inward. Hope this helps, good luck!

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  8. And... I've got it! thankyou for expanding, brilliant help!

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  9. This was probably one of the hardest tutorials to follow- my mom is a very skilled seamtress and she was in tears by the time it was done because we couldn't figure it out. I wish it was a little easier because I LOVE this skirt. I bought jersey material but I honestly think it would have worked if it was a different material because the jersey material would not fold and wouldn't work right.

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    1. Wow, that is surprising! I did it twice in jersey and it worked fine. Can you tell me which parts were hard to follow?

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  10. I've just finished making one of these for my girlfriend. I succeeded on m second try. I had to reinvent the design entirely because I added a zipper and the assembly of the panels didn't work well for a zipper in the seem. I used yellow wool linen and it looks similar to the one in the pictures. I admit that the folding diagram was terribly hard to decipher. I think the thing that throws everyone is that the red dotted line isn't a crease, nor where the crease lay. and there isn't an explanation of what it means. I ended up folding many pieces of paper until I got it just right. I added the waistband using a design that I found here:
    http://www.independentliving.org/fashionfreaks/skirts/nssi4.html
    Thanks for the tutorial. it was an excellent project.

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    1. Thanks for your feedback! You were right about the red lines. I've taken them out for now. I hope your girlfriend likes it!

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  11. Hi Lisa
    This skirt looks amazing! I'm trying to make one too. Folding and pinning was okay. But now I'm completely puzzled about how to add the lining to the front. If I understand it correctly, you don't sew it right sides together and then turn right sides out?
    And you only sew the bottom of the front to the bottom of the lining? How do you do this then? You fold the seam allowances on both so you can sew on that tiny line? Or... ?
    And what about the side and top seams? Leave them open until the very last step?
    Thanks in advance. I hope you can help me out, because I'd really like to make one of my own :-)
    Happy holidays!
    Tine

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    1. Hey Tine,

      The lining IS sewn to the front right sides together. Sorry I did not make that clear, I changed it now! So yes, first right sides together, the sew it, turn inside out. But just the bottom. You need the sides to stay open becuase the next step is to secure the folds, and for this you need to be able to peel the lining back. The side seams are sewn in step 7 after you've tried it on. I hope it works out now! I'm thinking of doing a video anyway.

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  12. You should REALLY do a video tutorial for this. I LOVE the skirt and have read over the directions a few hundred times but it is easier when I can watch someone go through the steps. Pretty Please

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  13. OK I will! Stay tuned, I'll have time to do it next week!

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  14. Thanks for the tutorial Lisa! It was a little tricky, but once I figured it out, it turned out really good! I actually made it as a pencil skirt instead of a miniskirt, but it looks great! Check it out if you'd like: http://thoughtsofpockets.blogspot.com/2011/12/new-skirt.html

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  15. I just finished making this skirt with my mom, some of the directions were confusing, such as the attachment of the lining and the folding, but i love the skirt and am extremely excited to wear it!

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  16. Yay! I made some changes on attaching the lining, I hope it's better now. Making a good tutorial is harder than I thought! I really appreciate all your feedback!

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  17. I'm in the process of making this skirt RIGHT NOW, lol. I'm making mine out of a grey/silver super stretchy fabric. I cut mine extra long so it would be a pencil skirt but the way I folded it made it still come out a mini...so I added more fabric (which wasn't a problem due to the folds!) and I've got the front the right length. Now onto the lining! By the way, you're such a good sport about all the (somewhat negative) feedback on this tutorial! I'd probably be a little offended but you seem to have a great attitude. Thanks for the FREE tutorial and for all the adjustments you're making as people give feedback :) Happy 2012!

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    1. I was thinking about making longer as well so I could wear it to work. What length did you start with in order to make the pencil skirt?

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  18. Great! And thank you. This was my first tutorial and it is really hard to do! I understand how frustrating an unclear tutorial can be, so I wasn't too offended. I'm curious how your skirt turns out!

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  19. I'm still working on it. I'm just about to try it on and see how it fits (before sewing the side seams). I'm excited to be making progress on this skirt, time to sew is hard to find sometimes. But I just ordered tall boots online to wear with it when it's done so now I have a little extra motivation, lol. I'll post a picture for you to see when I get it finished!

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  20. Step four is extremely hard to understand. I've read it at least fifteen times and can't seem to get it right. Can you break it down for me?

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  21. I don't think words would make it more clear, I promise I'll do a video soon, including step 4!

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  22. I think the isse was using the word right instead of correct. I kept thinking I was supposed to be attaching the lining to the right side of the garment rather than the correct side of the fabric. I finally got it though and now I have a beautiful red skirt! I've just begun in the last year, so I'm pretty proud of this gem... Thanks so much for the tutorial!

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    1. Good point! I'm glad it worked out in the end.

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  23. Ok, I finally finished my skirt! I decided not to pleat the back after all but I did give it a yoga pant style fold down waist band. Here's a link to the pics... http://www.flickr.com/photos/75643551@N04/sets/72157629120865850/

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    1. I looks great! And the length is great too, well done! I hope you'll get a lot of wear out of it! (Sorry for my late response, Blogger put your comment in the spam folder...)

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  24. I'll be attempting this for my sister since she seen it on pinterest and fell in love. Here's to hoping mine turns out as good as yours!

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  25. Wow! I will definitely try it! And when I do, I will link my post to yours :)
    thanks for sharing!

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  26. Found you on BurdaStyle, LUV YOUR BLOG!
    This pattern is fascinating, and so sharp.
    Your dog, being a poser, is TOO cute.

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  27. What is the approximate finished skirt length? I am tall and short skirts sometimes look REALLY mini on me. Just curious how I might adjust for a proper fit. Thanks

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    1. I'd say it's about 35 cm. You can add some if you want!

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  28. Wow, very cool to see how you did it! I have plans for a sort of ruched skirt and will have to take a look at your pics again before I cut it out.

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  29. Very unique design - featured it here:
    http://bloomsandbugs.hubpages.com/hub/skirt-sewing-patterns-and-tutorials#lastcomment

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  30. It's beautiful. And I really love that fabric. It reminds me my grandma's curtains. :) I'd love to try to sew one for myself. Thanks for inspiration. :) Dominika

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  31. Arrghhh, the skirt is beautiful, but the tutorial is impossible to follow! Despite all of the additions you've made to make things clearer, unfortunately you haven't succeeded. I ended up attempting to pin things your way (with jersey) about 5 times before scrapping your instructions and pinning on my own. I then tried to follow your instructions for sewing the skirt together and couldn't get the jersey to work with me and keep the consistent folds. So, while sewing, I ended up taking out all of the pins and just sewing as I went along. The skirt turned out nicely, but this tutorial was such a pain to follow. I should have heeded everyone else's warnings.

    Despite this, I want to thank you for sharing this skirt with us and doing your best to give informative instructions. I really appreciate it, and I hope it goes better in the future.

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    1. I'm sorry it didn't work out for you. Next time though, I'd appreciate it if you would share what exactly was unclear, so I can adjust the tutorial. Now there's nothing I can do about it! I hope you like your skirt despite the stress while sewing.

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    2. wow awesome! and cute, might have to try this.

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  32. Just ate my comment I think.....

    I just made this skirt. It took maybe 3 hours. I am very new to sewing (only been doing it maybe 2 weeks total). I thought the directions, especially for the folding, were very clear. It took me a second read to figure out why the back was double the length of the finished front, but that was only a small confusion.

    I love it. It is comfortable, and sexy. I made it knee length by extrapolating the math, adding a 6th and 7th fold. It worked great! Thank you so much.

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    1. You're welcome! I have to say, I'm very happy and relieved this worked out so well for you!

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  33. I just started making this today and I didn't have too much trouble with the folding. I thought your instructions were pretty clear on that but I'm working with jersey also and anytime you work with stretchy material you can measure the same thing 10 times and not come up with the exact same measurement. I am having trouble with step 5 though. For some reason no matter how I try and sew it, it is visible from the front. Help!

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    1. Hi Tricia, great that you've come this far! I'll try and explain step 5. You pin (and later sew) under the folds. You shove your hand under each fold and that is the place you pin it to the back. So you don't pin down the actual fold, but the faric underneath. The seams will only be visible if you lift up the fold. I hope this makes it clear for you!

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  34. hi!it's look supercute, i'm gonna try soon! Did you use an elastic waistband or not? thanks :)

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    1. No, but you could! It's even better I think...

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  35. Hi,

    I'm trying to make your skirt, but I am a beginner.
    The folding was very clear to me!

    However the lining part is too complicated.
    The picture isn't clear to me and the explanation can be interpreted in many ways.
    It is not clear to me what part of the lining is sewn already before sewing the folds. And what part of the bottom of the lining is sewn to what part of the front.


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    1. Step 4 is to sew the front lining to the folded piece, only at the bottom. So you sew the lining inside out to the fold at the bottom. Turn it right sides out, and roll the lining a little bit upward so you don't see that bottom seam on the outside of the skirt. Pin it together to make sure it stays that way. Step 5 is when you pin the inside of the folds to the lining. Those seams will be visible on the lining. Let me know if anything else is unclear. In any case, there will be a proper pattern available in a month or two!

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  36. Thank you for sharing this very helpful tutorial. You and the skirt look fabulous!
    http://www.mogulinteriordesigns.com/category/26884634861/1/Skirts.htm

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  37. I love it, the skirt is so gorgeous. I have some jersey knit sitting in my stash that will perfect. Your instructions are so helpful :)

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  38. Saw this on Dixie DIY. It is amazing! Can't wait for the full blown pattern. :)

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  39. Lisa~ I just want to say that the skirt is awesome and looks amazing on you and thank you so much for taking the time to post the tutorial. I am in the progress of making a skirt right now. As I read through the comments, I was shocked that some people are rude and don't seem to realize that you are taking your time and doing your best to put your creativity into words for others to follow. Not an easy task I am sure! I greatly appreciate your instructions.
    Erin

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    1. Erin, thank you so much for saying this. I really appreciate it! I hope it worked out for you, let me know if you have any questions!

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  40. You're awesome! and the tutorial is amazing! I finally did mine (after a long time of wanting) and I have to say that I'm totally in love with it, I'm looking forward to do another one with a more stretchy fabric (it's been a little hard to put on and out the skirt, but it fits perfectly). Anyway, thank you so much for the tutorial, here's a picture of how mine end up http://www.flickr.com/photos/julianamavallifreitas/9327314121/ (:

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    1. It looks amazing! And great Tshirt btw :)

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  41. This is a great design. I got an idea from step number 6 to do this folded section at the top of a tapered skirt. I don't think it would be that hard to take the folded section and attach it to the waistline of a tapered skirt, I feel a creation coming on here!

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    1. Sounds great! I'd love to see the results!

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  42. Centimetres. :headexplode: With lots of math (AUGH ASDLKFJAS), I am making this skirt. :D

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  43. Can I make the skirt longer? The width is good but i think the length is to short for me. How can i make that?

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    1. Hi, yes you can. Dixie did it too, see here: http://dixiediy.blogspot.fr/2013/06/mustard-folded-mini-skirt.html The pattern will be out in a few week though, and it includes a longer version.

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