Dresden Skirt

dresden skirt 01

As promised, I finally squeezed photographing time out of pre-school this morning and shot how to make this Dresden Skirt.

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First, gather your materials.
* An old pair of kid pants or shorts that you don’t mind cutting off (upcycling).
* Scraps of fabric, or all one color if that flips your skirt.
* Cutting mat, grid, thread, rotary cutter, soda of choice, tunes, etc.

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First cut the bottom off the pants all the way around. I tried to leave a little extra in the back the first time I made this, but the second time I didn’t, and the shape seems pretty forgiving either way.

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Now, cut your fabric into strips of uniform length and relatively uniform width. I have done one skirt with identically sized strips, and one with varied widths. Both were fine. Fold these strips in half, and cut them on a gentle diagonal, as pictured above and below.

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If you are OCD, you can use this first one as a template for your others.

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If you are me, you can use it more like the pirate law, more of a “guideline”.

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Once you have them all cut, admire your great taste in fabric scraps. Then fold them, Right Sides Together, and sew along the bottom of the wider end of each strip. I like to do it in a chain to save thread.

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Once your chain is clipped apart, clip the corner of each strip as pictured below. This will make the Dresden corner lay flatter when you press it down.

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Press that straight seam you just made down into a triangle, like below except inside out, like one more picture below. I just threw that extra photo in to confuse.

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See the nice triangle? It took my mind awhile to wrap around sewing at 90 angles and ending up with triangles, but there you have it.

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See? If you have OCD, at this point, you might want to zigzag across the bottom of that little triangle to prevent fraying when the skirt is complete. I am trying to overcome my OCD, so mine will be fraying extensively in the wash. (Read, I am lazy, and I embrace that.) Now press that baby down, and you’ll have one of the petalish things for the skirt.

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Aw, isn’t it cute?

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Once you’ve pressed all the petalish things, lay them out and put them in an order you like.

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Then sew all of your strips together in your chosen order. Make sure you line up the corner as pictured above if your widths are varied. I did quarter inch seams on this part, as well as on the other seam we’ve sewn so far. Don’t sew it the last two together yet.

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Admire your work so far.

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Place your un-sewn-together skirt under the pants top, to see if it is wide enough. Mine wasn’t, so I had to add two more petal pieces. I’m a hack. I know.

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Once the skirt is of adequate coverage, lay it down and trim the top so it is nice and even, and then you can sew that last side together to make the complete skirt tube.

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Pin the tube to the pants, right sides together, and sew around the waist. You might think you are done at this point, and hang the skirt and photograph it, but then you will realize that you forgot the last thing. Topstitching!

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Press the skirt down. Topstitch it to the pants top. Then topstitch around your corners on the bottom of the skirt, too.

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And there you have it! I took this skirt to my weekly play date at the park so I could show it off to my friends, and when I wasn’t looking, my daughter put it on under her other skirt, even though it is a size too big right now and goes to her ankles. I’m just glad she likes it, and I hope your munchkins will, too. If you make one, be sure to link to it in the comments so we can all enjoy.

Hexagon Corner Binding Tutorial, Outer Corner

If you are familiar with the mitered corner, this should be a breeze. I sort of wanted someone to hold my hand the first time I did it, just because it wasn’t the same angle as a normal corner. It turned out fine. I did it, and you can do it, too!

outer corner 1

Lay your binding down flush with the edge, like a normal binding.

outer corner 2

Fold the binding so it sticks out at a 90 degree angle from the center of the corner you are rounding.

outer corner 3

Fold the binding back down so it is flush with the rest of the corner as well.

outer corner 4 finger press

At this point I like to finger press my binding fold down in both directions. The finger press line will make a nice little guide for where to stop the needle when you are sewing it down, and where to start again.

outer corner 5

See that pretty little line? Hello line. Thanks in advance for your help.

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Needle down, sew the binding down to your finger press line. Sometimes I backstitch here, if I am feeling confident in who I am, and where I have stitched. Raise and remove the needle, and adjust your position so that you start sewing at the finger press line on the other side of your corner.

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Yes, that line there.

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Sometimes I backstitch here, too, if I am still feeling confident. Like on those days when I remember to brush my teeth AND wear deodorant.

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You should end up with a corner that looks like these.

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And you can fold that baby over, and sew it down by hand or machine, depending on what flips your skirt or how soon the Christmas present is due. This one was finished at 4:30 on a Christmas Eve, for the record.


Look at those sexy corners. Way to go!

Hexagon Corner Binding Tutorial, Inner

Inner  Corner 1

The inner corner of a hexagon binding is pretty straightforward, if awkward.

1. Set your machine’s needle to the down position.
2. Lay the binding on, and sew to the corner.
3. Raise presser foot, and turn binding to stay along the edge.
4. Lower presser foot, and continue.

Inner Corner 2

I saw once on Cluck Cluck Sew that she zig zags her edges before binding. I don’t always do that, but I think it’s a great idea and makes for really nice bindings.

When you get to the other side, it is also a simple matter of folding it down and sewing it down, shmooshing as necessary. Shmooshing is a technical term for stitch hacks. It means putting something where you want, even if it resists.

If you need a closer view of these pictures, click on them and check them at full resolution on flickr. Happy binding. Outer corner tutorial to follow!