My 18-month old is super cute and dizzingly active. If there is something to be climbed, a piece of furniture to be moved, or a closet to be raided; she is all over it. In fact, while I have been blogging, she has brought me an entire package of fruit juice pouches minus the straws and tried to get a little weight-training in (I had to rescue her on that one…we don’t want any crushed footsies).
Remember the tiered skirt I made for our oldest daughter? Well, I had some fabric left over and it was too much to throw away (can we say fabric hoarder? So, I decided to make a matching skirt/bloomer slider for my little baby K. This time, I wanted to try something a little different and patchwork was a perfect way to use all the smaller-sized leftovers I had laying around from my last project.
Sliders are awesome for active little people…a sweet, A-line skirt with convenient attached shorts, what could be better for my little monkey-doodle?
Ever wonder how to attach the shorts underneath for a seamless one-piece look?
I sure did and had to think this one through a bit, especially when trying to attach the skirt to the shorts and minimizing bulky fabric at the waist band.
Cut your patches…you can just eyeball them to the size you want or you can use this pattern (located at the bottom of the post) I created to help you size yours. My squares measure 4 by 4 in. I used a 1/2 inch seam between each square so that 3 in are visible xon the front of the strip. You can make this slider skirt to fit any sized child. A good guideline for the pre-gathered skirt is that it should be at least 1.5 x the width of your child’s waist. For example, I made a size 18-month (roughly) and my daughter’s waist is 19 inches. I decided how many of my patchwork squares to cut out per row based on her waist size. Here is a little math: 1.5x 19 inches is 28.5. I now know that I need the skirt rectangle to be at least 28.5. Err on the side of making it too large because it is always easy to just gather it up tighter and make a little fuller skirt. Since I have a 1/2 inch seam allowance on each of my 4-inch squares, I know that only 3 inches of each square will be visible from the front. Divide the 28.5 measurement by 3 to get 9.5. This means I should have a rectangle that is 9.5 squares across. Since I am not doing half squares, I used 10 of my patchwork squares to make my rectangle and I ended up with a rectangle that was 3 squares x 10 squares. Remember: once all squares are sewn together with the 1/2 inch seam allowance, they will be visible as 3 x 3 in squares in your skirt. You are essentially hiding a 1/2 inch part on all 4 sides of each square…is that clear as mud?
You will end up with 3 strips looking like this
Once you have your strips (2 x waistband and middle and 1x hem strip) sew them together to make yourself a rectangular piece. This will be the skirt portion of your slider. Baste the top edge (waistband strip) of your rectangle. I use a 5mm stitch as it is easy to use when gathering fabric.
Now, put your skirt rectangle aside for a bit. Now is the time to work on the shorts/ bloomers portion of the project. If you have never sewn easy side seam shorts before, check out my tutorial on sewing shorts for my pattern and some easy instructions. Once you have your shorts sewn (Do not hem or build the waistband yet!) you can begin to put your slider skirt together.
Back to where we left off…working with the skirt rectangle
If you have never tried gathering or making a ruffle, this part is both fun and easy. Ensuring you tie off the 2 basting threads on one side of your skirt, gently pull one of the threads on the other side to see which one pulls best through your fabric. Once you have identified that thread, carefully pull and cinch up that top edge of your skirt along the basting stitch until it is the same size as the waistband part of the shorts you just made.
Now, fold over the top of your waistband on your shorts where you would if you were going to make an elastic casing (see pattern for instructions on where to fold the waistband) Iron that waistband to make a crease (you will use this crease as a cutting guide next) Take the time to iron up the hem allowance for the bottom of the shorts (Fold the hem up 2 times – this will be a casing for the leg elastic.) I like using a serger to help finish off the edges of my hems and seams but all of this could easily be done with a conventional sewing machine using a zig zag stitch along the very edge of the fabric.
Cut the waistband off the shorts along the crease you ironed. Turn the waistband in on itself and pin it in order to sew it back onto the shorts facing the other direction. You can see from the second picture that I lined up the right side of my waistband up with the wrong side of my shorts.
This is what it will look like once you are finished sewing the waistband back onto the shorts.
Line it all up with right side of folded over waistband touching the right side of the gathered skirt rectangle.
Attach the skirt to the shorts by sewing along the bottom edge of the folded over waist band.
The shorts are on top and are inside out. The skirt is hanging from the bottom – right side out
Now that the skirt is attached to the shorts, it is time to add the waistband elastic into the casing you are in the process of creating. Fold the skirt/ shorts combo back so that everything hangs the direction it should. Create the waistband casing by top stitching along the edge of the waistband where the skirt is attached, leaving a 3 inch hole along the back side of the casing. You will use this opening to thread your elastic.
Close up the 3-inch elastic threading hole after you sew the ends of your elastic together.
We are now ready to hem the skirt and put the elastic bands into the hems of the shorts (this part is optional) If you decide to put elastic into the leg hem, follow the same instructions as you would use for creating an elastic waistband in the original shorts pattern.
Hem up the edge 1/2 inch of the skirt so that the bottom tier has 3 x3 inch squares visible.
Wasn’t that easy?
Download the PDF pattern for the skirt square patchwork skirt pattern
Go to easy shorts tutorial post and pattern