Monday, 10 January 2011

Pettiskirts: The low down

In case you are thinking of taking on a pettiskirt - here are a few things I have learned along the way.

Firstly - the construction.
It's simply a two layered, three tiered skirt.

There's a top tier (the band - made from satin, lycra or cotton)
Middle tier (nylon chiffon or 20 denier nylon)
Bottom tier, same as middle tier but with the ruffle attached to it.

You have two layers, composed as above, joined together via the top tier.
Easy, right!??

Ruffler vs no ruffler foot
You'll get differing opinions on this depending on who you ask.

My advice? - go for the foot if you have one or plan to sew a lot of ruffles in the future!

The difference is you can do it all in 'one pass', as opposed to running a gathering stitch, teasing the gathers by hand to get a good fit then pinning and sewing it to the next layer of the skirt.

This is the gather that I set my ruffler foot to, it's pretty tight as you can see.
I used different coloured cotton for the bobbin and top-threads.
Using the ruffler foot you get a single line of stitching to secure the ruffle.

Before even attempting to use your ruffler foot - download this free guide to using your ruffler - it's a lot of help believe me.

The Fabric
I got mine from Crafty Mamas and also Trimming and Remnants, I think most 'dance' fabric stores would have it.
It's called (in Australia) 20 denier nylon.
If you are in Australia, DON'T GET POLYESTER NYLON as this frays terribly and is really stiff compared to the 20 denier nylon.

You have to cut it into strips - lots of them, so if you live in the US then buy it in pre-cut rolls from here, the freight is pretty prohibitive for Aussies.
(I have heard there will be an Aussie site selling the rolls soon so will update this once I know details).

This is the ruffle attached to the third (bottom) tier of the skirt.
 Here it all is in a big pile - I am talking a seriously long piece of fabric!
Keep in mind - this is one tier from one layer.

The Pattern
I bought a pattern, I didn't find it very helpful - at least not as helpful as this tutorial.
This is ace.
Construction is simply explained and there are great tips on how to set your machine up to gather if you don't have a ruffler foot.

The only things I changed were;
I sewed both layers together at the top tier (waistband) when I did the top-stitching as I wanted them to be secured together, and
I didn't do the thread through ribbon with elastic - I did an elastic waistband and a separate ribbon as I didn't want the small children to accidentally pull the ribbon through and out of the casing.

So I roughed out the waist measurements, based on other items of clothing, as the girls were not here when I finished the skirts off.

The only problem with this is that if you do lots of jumping on the trampoline holding hands with your cousin or aunt...

This may happen!

Unless you start with your skirt up here...

The other thing I learned is that no matter how lovely your skirt, at the end of a busy Christmas day you might still get grumpy and refuse to wear it for a family photograph, despite your Mum's best efforts!

If you have any questions - seriously do let me know, either in comments or via email and I will be happy to help if I can.

PS - that small girl looks to have 'ditched' the daytime nappies since Christmas Day - hooray!


Carolyn said...

thats a nice photo of you!

They are lovely skirts, they look like great fun for the girls, worth all the ruffling effort!

thornberry said...

Very impressive Karen - that's wonderful information, thanks so much for sharing it! And congrats to the small girl re ditching that day nappy!

Natalie said...

Thanks for the tips Karen, I need to clear some space on my cutting table before I start making Cheriese's!

Annie said...

Oh, I remember those grumpy moments with photos's oh hang on, we still have them now! LOVE the skirts

Julie said...

Fabulous skirts Karen, I know another little girl who might like one.

cherri said...

Oh these are so pretty - I really love them!

Maesha said...

It looks wonderful.
Do you know if an Aussie site sells the rolls? Thanks

Maesha said...

Do you know of Aussie sites selling the rolls of nylon chiffon? thanks

twolicious said...

This looks fantastic! Could you tell me what length of fabric you used for this skirt?
I'd love to make one for our little girl too

Connie said...

Your skirt turned out beautifully! I love the colours you chose. One year I made bodysuits and tutus (out of soft nylon tulle with 1/4" picot ribbon around the edge of the top layer) for my two granddaughters. On Christmas morning they wouldn't open their other gifts until they took off their pyjamas and put on the tutus. Then when their mother tried to dress them in their lovely Chrstmas dresses when everyone was due to arrive for Christmas dinner they refused to change and ate dinner in their new "dancing suits" as they called them. Sydney wouldn't even let her mother change her diaper because she thought she might take the outfit off!
Do you know how much yardage you used for the skirt above? It would be helpful as a general guide to know that for this skirt in roughly a toddlers size two I used x amount of dark purple and y amount of light purple?