Monday, January 2, 2012

New Years Goal- Paper Bag Skirt

I never liked setting New Year's Resolutions. I guess it is because I am constantly trying to change myself and make adjustments in my life. However, I do like to set New Year Goals. These goals cover all aspects of my life spiritual, family, and even crafting. Here is a brief list of some of the crafting goals I am excited to share with you:
1. Sew more for myself including creating a Spring Dress Line
2. Learn to use my new serger
3. Create more crafts especially ones that I can use my new Silhouette to make :)
4. Create some higher sewing level projects for Elizabeth.
5. Remake the kids room including blankets for their beds and a theme for their room.

Looking at these goals I started this year off with a simple paper bag style skirt for myself. This project is fairly simple and took me about an hour to make. I think even a beginning sewer could start with this project. This is a quick sketch of my idea for this project.

Here is what you need:
-1.5-2 yards fabric (I used Sateen Cotton, but you can also use linen, cotton blends, or even taffeta. Something not too thin and that hangs well)
-a skirt zipper
-matching thread, pins, and a sewing machine.


1. Start by taking some measurements. Measure your waist and divide that in half. This will be the top measurement of your skirt from the fold.
EXAMPLE: 28 inch waist / 2 = 14 inches from the fold

2. Then measure 24 inches down from the top, this is the length of your skirt. If you are tall you might want to add some more length. (Remember you will take the bottom up about 1/2 an inch for the hem.
3. Finally your last measurement will be the width at the bottom of the skirt. Add 3 inches to the top measurement and make a mark.
EXAMPLE: 14 inch waist + 3 inches = 17 inches wide
4. Now you will cut the side of the skirt connecting the top mark and bottom mark creating an a-line shape. This is the front of your skirt.

Repeat the same for the back of the skirt this time cutting on the selvage.

Here is what you end up with:
You also need to cut 4, 3x4 inch rectangles for the belt loops. You will also need a long strip for the sash. Mine was 5 inches wide and about 60 inches long. You can piece two pieces together for this but I wouldn't do more than two pieces.


1. Start by sewing the front and back pieces of your skirt together at the sides with right sides facing.
2. Starting at the top of your skirt measure down 3 inches and then another 2.5 inches. The first marking is your fold and the second marking is the waist.
3. Fold over the top of your skirt 1/2 inch and press. Then fold over another 2.5 inches (this should be at your fold mark) and press. Baste stitch this fold down to the skirt body.
4. Now you are going to add your zipper to the back. Start by marking where the bottom of your zipper will be by placing your zipper on your skirt with the top of the zipper at the top of the skirt. Now sew the two back pieces together with right sides facing, using a longer stitch where your zipper starts. Next sew your zipper in place and pick out the loose stitches where your zipper is in place.
5. Now you are going to add your hem. Turn the bottom of your skirt up 1/4 inch and press down. Then turn it another 1/4 inch and press again. Sew this hemline down using a regular stitch.

6. Next you are going to add the pleats. Start with the front center pleat. I usually measure this pleat 2 inches from the center on each side. Then I add another pleat about 1 inch from the center pleat having that pleat point towards the center. I add one more pleat 2 inches from the second pleat again facing the center. Once all your pleats are pinned repeat with the other side and the back. Then sew the pleats down in place going over the top of your basting stitch from before.
**This is not an exact science. Each skirt and person will like different size pleats. The key is keeping both sides equal and your final measurement for the front from side seam to side seam should be half your waist measurement (in this case 14 inches). You may need to play around with it until you get the shape and style you like.

7. Now you will create your sash. With right sides together sew along one end of the sash and down the length of the sash piece. Now turn the sash right side out, tuck the open end so the raw edges are on the inside and sew the end closed.

8. Finally finish your skirt off by adding the belt loops. Fold the raw edges of your 3x4inch pieces inward and press them down. Then fold over the ends and press.
Now with the raw side facing down pin your belt loops in place on the skirt. I put two on the back next to the zipper and two on the front next to the second pleats.
Sew the loops in place at the bottom and top of each loop.

Now add your belt and your are DONE!


Melissa said...

Turned out cute! Have fun learning the serger.

Unknown said...

I love it! It turned out super cute.

Cacheymama said...

Wow, your skirt looks really nice. Never heard of a paper bag skirt, but I like it. I have a sewing maching, but it mostly collects dust, LOL. Found you on Tip Me Tues.

Tara @ Tales of a Trophy Wife said...

Looks great, I'm pinning it to make one for my daughter.

Melanie @ bear rabbit bear said...

Nice! I got a new serger, too, and it is definitely a learning curve.