I'm definitely not a professional seamstress, even though I like to kid my family that I am, but I have recently taken up sewing and it has been an amazing outlet for my daily stress and anxiety. There's something very satisfying about taking a piece of raw material and turning it into something amazing.
While sewing, all your concentration is on the project in front of you and there's no time to worry about things that aren't really worth worrying about in the first place. Sewing is my therapy. Without further adieu, here is today's therapy project... an adorable rag skirt.
This project came together fairly quickly, but the prep was a bit tedious. There's a lot of cutting involved and some short seams which are a bit time consuming, but once you find a rhythm, you'll be fine.
First things first, find several different, yet coordinating fabrics. I used five, but you could use as many or as few as you like. This is one time where prints, stripes and dots would totally work together. You can also mix the types of fabric you use. I used cottons and flannel-ish type fabrics.
Now that you have your fabric, you need to measure the child who will be wearing the skirt from waist to where you want the skirt to hang. Take that measurement and add an inch and a half, two if you choose to put a nice hem on the edges. (I didn't, I think it looks more whimsical that way)
After you have your measurements, you can start cutting your pieces. I did mine approximately 3 inches wide, but you can go smaller, if you want. The skirt pictured above was made for a smaller framed, almost five year old. who wears a size 5t. My fabric dimensions were 3 x 21. You can also find sizing charts online with a simple Google search of something like "girl's tutu sizing guide".
Lay out your fabric and mark every three inches or so, then cut. Do this with each pattern / color you chose. You don't have to have perfect lines, in fact it's better if you don't. The number of strips you need will vary, depending on the size rag skirt you are making.
I used approximately 40-something strips and my skirt was very full. Try to keep each pattern or color in its own pile, this will help you later when you get ready to assemble the skirt.
After you've cut your strips, while questioning your decision to make this skirt, you will add a one and a half-ish inch hem to the top of each strip, yes, all 40-something. No, there's no way around it, besides tying them, which is super bulky and not very easy to wear. You'll end up with something like this...(remember to back-stitch both ends) I used a zigzag, but you could use a straight stitch, if you want.
Now that you officially have carpal tunnel syndrome from all that cutting and sewing hems, it's time to arrange the skirt. You will want to lay out the strips next to each other to see how you want them arranged. I am super OCD and had to have a specific, symmetrical pattern... until I realized I'd cut more of two colors than the others. This is where the patience comes in. Keep your eye on the prize.
Lay out your strips, then sandwich them together in the order you want them on the skirt. You will end up with something like this...
Measure the waist of the child who will be wearing the skirt, add two inches for finishing. I strongly suggest using no roll elastic, it is a lot sturdier and will hold its shape better. A cheap elastic will get buried by the strips and it will infuriate you to no end... don't ask me how I know.
Secure a diaper pin in each end of your elastic. Notice in the picture below, how one is going straight and the other is side to side, that is on purpose. The straight end is for threading through your strips and the side to side end is to keep your strips from falling off as you assemble the skirt. You're welcome.
Finally, time to assemble the skirt. This part goes rather quickly and there's no right or wrong way to do it. Make sure you keep your elastic straight and scoot each strip as you go. This is where the extra pin comes in handy. Continue this method until all the strips are on the elastic.
After all strips are on and you've distributed them evenly, it's time to close the elastic and finish the skirt off. Measure the skirt around your child's waist and pin, then sew the elastic and hide it among the strips. That's it, you're done.
You can cut the bottom edge on an alternating diagonal or you could use pinking shears, but neither are necessary. You can expect a bit of fraying each time you wash, but this is part of the character of the skirt and won't really hurt anything.
Follow me on Instagram to see more of my "therapy sewing" projects, like this adorable upcycled pillowcase dress I made from a .50 Goodwill pillowcase and some fabric scraps.
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