I got my overlocker a few months ago, I was quick to get it out of the box and get going with it – it took some concentration to learn how to thread it but I soon got it figured and started sewing – it was a game changer!! I love it, I make all my children’s clothes with it, I can run up a pair of shorts in next to no time and the Flutterby dresses can be made on a mini production line! I hadn’t ever considered making myself anything with it, for me, I had bought it to sew little pairs of jersey shorts and leggings and pretty cotton dresses.
I saw a course advertised that was local to me – Get to know your overlocker, it’s run in Hove in East Sussex by Julia Hincks, who is also the author of the best selling book, The Overlocker Technique Manual. I can’t recommend her course enough, I learnt so much that day and came away feeling so much more confident to use my new toy! I also came away with a rather gorgeous pencil skirt made out of Jersey Scuba that I made in under an hour!
Julia has kindly agreed to me sharing the tutorial on how to make this skirt with you all, if you have an overlocker, once you have your basic template drawn you can get these skirts whipped up in no time at all, I think I made my last two in under 30 minutes each! If you don’t have an overlocker, you can still follow the tutorial to make the skirt however you will need a ball point needle on your machine and you will need to use a knit fabric stitch – a small zig zag usually works the best. As jersey fabric doesn’t fray you won’t need to worry about finishing the seams, you can just trim the seam allowances.
Make yourself a jersey skirt
These skirts can be designed to your own personal taste – you can cut below or above the knee or draw it to be straight, A-line or a fitted pencil skirt! For this tutorial I have made mine as a pencil skirt.
Fabric and tools;
Approximately 70cm of stretch fabric – ponte roma or a medium to heavy weight stretch works the best. I have used a heavier weight jersey that is honeycombe textured, its soft and easy to work with. I have also made two skirts in a scuba jersey (this example is available in The Little Miss shop) it’s amazing to work with as it glides through the machine and doesn’t need hemming – you just need a to cut a nice straight line.
4 spools of thread to match your fabric
2 - 2.5cm wide non roll elastic for your waist band, enough for your waist measurement.
1. Take your measurements and write them down;
a. Measure your waist at the point you want your skirt to sit and half this measurement.
b. Measure your hips and half this measurement.
c. Measure the distance between your waist and your hip (point 1 to 6)
d. Decide on the length of your skirt knee length is usually 60 – 70cm. If creating a straight skirt or an A-line skirt you could add a mock band hem – if so then add another 4cm. There’s a great little tutorial on how to do this in Julia’s book.
2. Draw your skirt on to the fabric;
Fold your fabric in half with right sides of the fabric together. Using a fabric pen or chalk, draw your pattern on to the wrong side of the fabric.
a. Using measurement B (half hips) Draw a line 1 to 2 across the width or stretch of the fabric. Add up to 3cm if you would like some ease or keep it as it is for a closer fit.
b. Measure down from 1-3 and from 2-4 using measurement D (length) Join points 3-4 to complete the rectangle on your fabric.
c. Find the centre of line 1-2 and mark it as point 5.
d. Using measurement C (waist to hips) Mark points 6 and 7.
e. Using measurement A (half waist) mark points 8 and 9 – centre this line at point 5.
f. Create a curve from marks 6-8 and from 7-9.
g. To encase the elastic at the top, measure up 2.5cm from points 8 and 9 to create points 10 and 11 – join these up.
h. If you wish to taper the hem to make it more fitted (as I have in this tutorial), measure around your body where you wish the hem of your skirt to be, half this measurement and use as the width for the lower edge (centre on points 3 to 4). Measure from where you would like to start the taper (usually mid way down your thighs) and draw a line.
i. Cut out your two pieces of fabric – the front and back skirt.
Using two pieces of scrap fabric, test your stitches and adjust the tension accordingly to ensure your fabric lays flat when overlocked together.
a. Overlock the front piece and the back piece together at the side seams.
b. Try on your skirt and make sure you are happy with the shape. Ifd you need to make any adgustments to ensure your skirt sits flat then use pins at the side seams and then draw a line for the new seam adjustment. Overlock your changes, try on and if necessary repeat.
c. Cut a piece of the elastic approx. 1 cm smaller than your waist size and join to form a circular waist band. Place a mark on the elastic at the centre and quarter.
d. Match the elastic on the wrong side of the fabric, lining up the join to a side seam and then the centre marks to the centre of the waist band.
e. Overlock the elastic to the skirt – slightly stretching the elastic if you need to to ease it in to the waistband of the skirt. Make sure you don’t trim the elastic as you sew around – you can remove the blade if you wish.
f. Try on your skirt and check the length, if you do adjust it and you’re creating a ‘mock hem band’ then remember to allow the additional 4cm of hem allowance. In this example I didn’t hem my skirt at all, the jersey doesn’t fray so to keep a nice straight skirt I kept it cut neatly. Don’t forget the finish the overlocked side seams, in this example I used a needle to tuck the threads up in to the stitch so there were no threads or knots visible.
g. To encase the elastic waist band, tuck the waist over by the width of the elastic and stitch in place at the side seams by hand.
h. Now’s your moment of glory – your skirt is finished!!
The fabric used in this tutorial is Honeycomb Sonata - Kingfisher - Textured Honeycomb print jersey from the Lady Mc Elroy collection, I also created a skirt using Malmsbury a luxury digital print scuba jersey, also from this collection.
Happy stitching and as always – please send me pictures of your makes!!