As you know, I love making gathered skirts (see past blogher skirt and full striped skirt). This tutorial is for making a gathered skirt with a nice waist band/zipper, re-purposed from an old elastic waist skirt.Of course I had to add a bow in the back too. It’s a sickness.
An old elastic skirt that can afford to have 5 inches cut from the length
Stiff iron-on interfacing
Sewing supplies like matching thread, scissors, machine, needles, pins, cutting board.
Start with an old or thrifted elastic waist skirt. These are all over the thrift stores. It’s fine if it’s too big. Find the vertical seam on the skirt and cut to open to make one long piece
Measure your natural waist and cut a piece from the bottom of the skirt that is at least 4 1/2” (depends on how thick you want your waist band and how much you can afford to remove from the length of your skirt) x your natural waist. Add 1/2” for seam allowance. So if your natural waist is 30”, your band piece should be 4 1/2” (or more) x 30 1/2 ”. Make sense?
Now you’ll turn the band over to the wrong side (fyi, I had a lining in mine which I wanted to keep, hence the black interior above). On only half of the band you’ll attach iron-on stiff interfacing to give the band more structure.
Fold the band in half, right sides together and sew along the two short sides leaving the long side open. Turn it now right sides out and iron flat.
Pin the interfacing side of the band to one end of the elastic on the skirt. You won’t need to gather much because the elastic does it for you! Then pin the end of the band to the other end of the skirt the same way. Then pin the middle.
Continue to distribute the elastic skirt evenly as shown above, adding more pins as you go. If the skirt was very big to begin with you will have to gather and distribute more.
Now you’ll sew along that line you just pinned on the front of the skirt. For the back of the band, fold the raw end underneath and press. Pin into place right along the back of the seam you sewed for the front of the band.Now you have two choices here to sew the back of the band. Pictured above on the left is one option: I turned the skirt to the front side and carefully sewed again along the same seam. Very carefully. Or, you can make a blind hem on the back by hand which will look more polished.
Now you need to attach the zipper. Again, there are many tutorials on how to do that (see intro link). I had a really long zipper which I shortened by sewing a few back and forth stitches right under where I wanted the zipper to end (see above right ) and then snipped off the part of the zipper below that. Those stitches I made act as the zipper stop.
The zipper should look like the top photo above (although my zipper wasn’t invisible so yours will probably look better!). I also added a metal hook on the band and sewed the end of the zipper into place using a few invisible stitches.
Now you’ll finish up the rest of the skirt hem below the zipper. Fold it right sides together and pin. Your seam should be slightly wider than the zipper and extend beyond the start of the zipper about 1/2 inch.
Then you need to finish the bottom hem. I usually do a blind hem by hand, but you can do whatever you like.