It seems that The Easiest Skirt Ever tutorial actually helped some number of you who are also beginners at sewing. Who knew? So I decided to share another very brief and easy project I did recently in the hopes that someone else has been considering something like this but was a little intimidated or didn't now how to start.
I made this extender slip a while back but just haven't really loved it. I was bothered by the flatness of it under a skirt - I wanted it to poof out a bit and add some more depth. I looked around but didn't really see a tutorial so I decided to just wing it. I wasn't planning on making a tutorial so I didn't take many pictures along the way, but let me know if you need more to understand and I can try to recreate the process (maybe even with better lighting).
To start with, I went to the thrift store and bought an old slip for $1 and a huge lace curtain for maybe $2.50. Lace can be dang expensive if you purchase it at a fabric store, especially if you want some nicer looking stuff. Bonus was that the lace from the curtain looked a little older and more delicate, which I preferred to bright new white lace, and since the curtain was so big, I had a bunch leftover.
To get a floofy look, I decided to create some ruffles by pleating the lace onto the slip. I didn't take a ton of pictures along the way, but you'll get the idea.
Step 1: Determine Full Length
You'll want to decide how long you want your extender slip to be. Do you want it to hit at the knees? Just above or below? This will also depend on where you will wear the slip - on your hips? At your natural waist? To give you an idea, my full length of slip + lace was about 23" from natural waist to mid-knee (I'm 5'4").
Step 2: Determine Lace Length
Here's where you'll have to decide how much of the full length (23" in my case) you want to be lace, and how much you want to be slip. This, again, will depend on your preference. I wanted my lace to go up a bit under whatever skirt I was wearing, so I think my lace length ended up being about 5-6". You also need to decide how wide you want your strip to be. Mine was quite big because I added in quite a few pleats, so that took up extra fabric. I would say measure around the bottom of your slip (in a circle) and maybe triple or quadruple that number. Since I had a big curtain, I could cut out more strips as needed.
Step 3: Cut Lace
Here's where you'll take your lace and cut out a strip that is your "lace length" (above) in one direction, and as long as you can get it on the other. I ended up using two long strips (one for the front and one for the back), but if your curtain is really long and/or you don't want a lot of pleats, you may be able to get away with just one strip. You'll want to leave an extra 1/2-1" for seam allowance. Also, if you can cut your lace along a finished edge, you can let that end peek out and you won't need to finish the bottom of your extender slip. After you cut it, if you couldn't cut along a finished edge, go ahead and finish one side of your lace (whatever side will be along the bottom of the slip).
Step 4: Pin Lace
Here's where you'll keep that "full slip length" number in mind. Arrange the lace onto the slip so that the full length of slip + lace equals your full length number (remember, mine was 23"). I ended up cutting a bit extra, so you'll see extra fabric peeking above the pins in the picture. I just cut that off later. If your actual slip is on the longish side, then you may want to cut off the bottom of the slip, hem the edge, and then pin the lace on (although I just sewed the lace on and cut off whatever extra slip was peeking out and didn't bother hemming it - I figured I was only going to hand wash this, anyway, and since it was underneath, I wasn't as concerned about fraying).
Then you can start pinning! I started by pinning one edge down, then folding the lace over itself to make a pleat, pinning that, and repeating about a million times until I was all the way around the slip.
Step 5: Try it On
I have this step here because with all the pleats and ruffliness, it's easy for it to get uneven. So try the slip on and see if it seems to be generally even in terms of length, fullness, etc.
Step 5: Sew on the Lace
Now you can sew the lace in place! I just used a white thread, although it shouldn't really matter since this part won't be showing out, anyway. I recommend going with the pleats instead of against them as you sew them down so your foot won't always be pushing up against the pleats. Still, working with lace is tricky and there were a few choice under-breath utterances. Just persevere. I actually unpicked several sections several times because the bottom hem of the lace would get caught and sewn in, or the lace wasn't falling evenly or whatever.
Step 6: Wear Your New Slip!
And love how it automatically makes any skirt more interesting and feminine.
More pictures of the slip in action here. And that's it! Any questions? Confused about anything?
Thursday, February 16, 2012