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Here is a variation on a handkerchief skirt that produces a skirt with a ruffled 20-yard hem, perfect for real skirt dancing.
I designed this skirt for Ruric when she went to Folk Tours camp in PA in 2007. She wanted a skirt that would really move; I wanted something more kinetic than the 'average' 20-yard skirt. We both got what we wanted.
|To start out, you will need 15 yards of 52" fabric for the skirt. If you intend to add a bias trim on the bottom, you'll need another 2 yards. If you are shorter than Ruric (who is close to 6 foot tall) then you can probably get away with 45" fabric. You can always add a trim to the bottom of the skirt if you need to lengthen it. In any event, this is a LOT of fabric. If you are planning on using an elastic waistband on this, you need to use the lighter-weight fabrics in order to keep it from being too heavy to stay up!||Before you launch into this project, try making a very small version out of scrap fabric, following the diagrams below. It will help a lot with the non-intuitive parts.|
|Sew pairs of the top pieces together to form two squares. See where I have an A and a B marked on the unsewn selvages of each square? Mark them on your pieces also. Unless a big A and a big B are part of your design plan, you can settle for one safety pin along the A sides and two safety pins along the B sides.|
|Sew the squares together to create the uniquely indescribable two-square skirt. Since it cannot be described, study diagram closely. See how the A sides are sewn to each other and the B sides are sewn to each other? If I pulled the pins out of the sides of that little demo model, all the squares would spring up into beautiful 3-D (or even 4-D, for all I know) shapes that are absolutely maddeningly unwilling to help you figure out what seams to join to what. Use your safety pin marking guides and DO try to make sure that you are not sewing hem edges to waist edges with a twist in the middle!!|
|Decide what to do about the corners. If you leave them square, you may have to miter the ruffle to make it look good. I choose to round the corners a bit (use a dessert dish or large cup, whatever) so that ruffle can be sewn on without mitering or any other adjustments. The reason we round the corners NOW instead of earlier is because it can be tricky to predict what is actually going to BE a corner until you get this far.
You should have eight corners in this skirt now, rounded or not.
|To avoid dimensional dementia, the diagrams will now show parts of The Skirt, not the whole 4-dimensional thing.
|You are now ready to hang, mark, cut, sew and press your hem. I have placed detailed instructions for these tasks on the Hems page on this site, since making a hem is a task common to most garments.||PS - what does the blue edge on the bottom of the ruffle diagram mean? That is the part that will be cut away when you fit your skirt, since the square corners become the points on the skirt that are closer to the floor.|
Maura Enright, Proprietor
Author: Maura Enright
©2013 by Maura Enright
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