Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Monday, April 2, 2012

Transform Shorts into a Little Girl's Wrap-Front Skort Tutorial

Happy Monday! I kinda had a humdinger of a when everything you plan for fun just sort of backfires on you in some way. And then the dog knocks you right out from under your feet, while you happen to be on the stairs. Holding onto the glass of green tea with all your might that your thoughtful husband brought you to help stave off a migraine in the first place. Did you know the contents in a glass can span an entire staircase when spilled? Yup, it's true.

Anyhoo. We're all fine, save someone's rather sore keester, and I've got a little sewing project to share with you. It all started in my mind when I thought of adding a flap of some sort to a basic pair of shorts for my daughter, but that doesn't sound particularly appealing now, does it? So we'll call this the adorable Little Girl's Wrap-Front Skort Tutorial. Much better!

Pardon the picture quality- it was bright and sunny one minute, and then dark and cloudy the next. I couldn't keep up with all the settings changes!

I've got a girly girl kind of daughter, which I love! She will never choose a pair of shorts over a skirt or dress, but there are times when shorts are the better option, so....onto the tutorial.

You'll need a basic pants/shorts pattern. I used this one from McCall's. Just about any pattern will do, but make sure it's the kind where you sew the U-shaped center seam first, then the side seams. Follow the directions, except leave the right side seam OPEN. This felt kinda weird, contrary to what I'm used to doing, but just stay with me here.

Sew the hems for the shorts (one long hem on the open side), and sew in a casing for the elastic waistband (long also because of the open seam). I used 3/4" non-roll elastic. Pin the ends of the elastic like so, then stitch in place.

Now you're going to cut the piece for the skirt part. I cut a basic rectangle, knowing I was going to modify it a bit. It must be wide enough to cover the entire front of the shorts, so you have to stretch the shorts out (as if they're being worn). Make the rectangle slightly longer than the shorts to allow for the seam at the top of the skirt.

Since I'm such a technical person, I measured exactly and used all my high-tech gadgets for this.
HA. I jest.
Just eyeball it. Sorry for those of you who prefer measurements...I just don't think that way.
You will need 2 rectangles.
Next, draw a curve on one of the rectangles. Since I left the right side seam open, I drew the curve on the left of the skirt piece. It looks like this- you can see the beginning of how the end result will look.

It helps to stretch the shorts out again at this point and hold up the skirt piece to make sure it is not too wide or narrow, like this. Thanks, dear.

Place the curved skirt piece on the other rectangle to act as a cutting guide. You'll be sewing these pieces right sides together, so keep this in mind before you cut! The picture below is what you're going for...
{Note: You do not need to add rick rack! Simply sew right sides together if you wish to omit the R.R.}

First, I pinned & stitched the rick rack to the right side of the first skirt piece, stitching down the center of the rick rack. You will leave half of the rick rack extending beyond the edge of the fabric. You'll soon be sewing a rick rack sandwich. Remember to keep right sides together and stitch through all 3 layers.

These layers might bubble up on you at times- no worries! You can try this trick I wrote about here! Just take your time, tugging gently at the fabric & making snips when necessary as you go.

It helps to leave an inch or so of extra rick rack on each end to make sure everything gets "caught" {tucked in} in the final stitching.

The top and right side of the skirt piece will be open. Turn the skirt right side out and lightly press the edge, pulling the rick tack taut to get a smooth edge. (I used low heat because this fabric loses the "bumpy" texture with too much heat and pressure.)

I decided to make a small loop with the fabric, though you could easily use a really skinny piece of elastic (I just didn't have any on hand). Determine what size button you'll be using, and then cut a tall, skinny rectangle that will fit around the button when folded in half. Iron each side of this rectangle toward the center, -I used higher heat for this part, it doesn't matter here-, then fold the pressed edges in on themselves and stitch along the edge. I stitched down each edge. Don't worry about raw edges on the ends.

To finish the top part of the skirt, iron a small fold, then fold again a little wider- this gives the skirt some stability. Put the shorts and skirt side by side to make sure they line up evenly. If your rectangle is too long, simply iron in a bigger fold at the top. You want these pieces to be even.
Above you can see how I turned in the edge a bit to keep the rick rack ends neat. This is the spot where you'll stitch the loop (fabric or elastic) in place. Pin the loop in place here before you stitch this seam.

It will be difficult to stitch through these thick layers on the end here, so go slowly, and you may need to tug a little bit as you sew. That's fine! I stitched diagonally, following the fold line. Sew all the way across the top. The right sides will still be open on the skirt and the shorts. We'll sew this next.

See? You can really tell what it's becoming now!

Pin the skirt right side facing OUT to the top of the shorts side. This means you'll be sewing the wrong side of the skirt piece to the right side of the shorts. Is this getting confusing? Sorry! Writing out all the steps can be tricky! The picture below shows better. Simply open out the shorts and pin the two edges on the right.

Now it's time for another sandwich.  Roll the skirt piece up so you don't accidentally sew it into the seam. You're going to take hold of the left side of the shorts and bring it all the way over to the right to match up the sides, this time, right sides together.

Oops! I don't have a picture of this sandwich. Once you bring the left side over to the right side, you will be stitching all 3 layers together. Line up the skirt with the top of the waistband and the hem of the shorts. Tuck in the rick rack edges any way you can to minimize fraying, and sew them in.

Determine where you'd like to place the button and sew in place. I sewed mine right onto the waistband casing. It looked best just a little beyond the side seam, towards the back of the shorts.

I should have had my little princess try the skort on at this point, but alas, I was anxious to finish so I zig-zagged the final "sandwiched" seam and...the skirt was too wide, argh! There was no way I was taking out all that, so I had to come up with Plan B.

This is Plan B.

I simply folded the excess skirt over (towards the back of the shorts) and tacked it in place. This will be easy to re-size as she grows.
I actually like how the fold looks on the finished skort.(you can see it best on the second picture at top) I used to think that whatever I made had to be absolutely perfect, but now I know better! What in life is absolutely perfect?

There you have it! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Please ask any questions in case I didn't explain something enough.  =)


Val said...

Very practical, and she looks happy in them!

I would love for you to follow my blog too so that we can share ideas!

Your newest follower,
Val @

Jessica at Me Sew Crazy said...

well done. glad I stumbled across this, pinning it!

Cheryl @ Sew Can Do said...

Great way to cute-ify some short. I've featured this today - stop by and grab a Featured On button. Thanks for linking to Craftastic Monday at Sew Can Do:)

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