For day 2 of Red & Black Week, a tutorial on making a pixie (aka handkerchief hem) skirt.
A pixie skirt is easy to make, no pattern required. It's basically just a square of fabric. The wearer's body goes through a circle cut out of the center. ;)
To cut the circle, first fold the fabric in half horizontally, then in half vertically (as shown by the purple lines), resulting in a smaller square.
The width of the fabric will determine the maximum skirt length that you can achieve without stitching together pieces of fabric. The project illustrated here uses 60" wide panne velvet. To make the longest skirt possible, I kept as much width as I could. I just trimmed the selvages, resulting in a 59" width, and then cut the length to a matching 59". When folded horizontally and then vertically, the square measures 29.5".
You can cut a square and then fold it, or you can fold the fabric and then cut it into a square. The latter is easier if you're working with a large piece of fabric.
|folds are along the left side and bottom|
Next, make your waistband (via the same process as shown in yesterday's post). It should be 4" wide and long enough to fit around your hips. I made a 42" waistband for this project.
Now that you have your waistband, it's time for a little math. :o I've attempted to explain why you need the math, but if you don't care about that, you can just skip down to the summary. :)
You've determined the length of your waistband (42" in this project). Now you're going to cut a circular opening to fit that waistband.
BUT before you cut, you need to account for stretching. The circular opening always stretches, and you can easily end up with an opening that's too big for your waistband. To compensate for the stretching, deduct about 2" if you're using a woven fabric and 4" if you're using a stretch knit fabric. This project used knit fabric, so I deducted 4" from my 42" waistband to get 38".
This new measurement will be the circumference of the circular opening. Now, to cut the circle correctly, you need to calculate the radius.
In this project, the circumference was 38", so the radius = 38" / 6.28, or 6.05". We'll round this to 6".
- Determine what length waistband will fit over your hips. (42" in this project)
- From that length, subtract 2 if you're using woven fabric or 4 for knit fabric. (42" - 4 = 38")
- Divide that number by 6.28. (38" / 6.28 = 6.05")
- That's your radius! (rounded to 6")
Measuring from the corner of the paper, mark your radius (6" in this project) in several places. Then connect the dots to form an arc. This will be your cut line.
Cut along the line to create the paper template. Then place the template over the folded corners of your fabric and cut the fabric along the template.
Next, cut additional layers if you want, and use the template to make the waist cutout on each. These layers can be the same size or a different size(s) than your first layer. In this project, I cut a smaller (18.5" when folded) square of red fabric for a top layer.
Arrange your layers as desired, lining up the waist cutouts. Pin the layers together.
If your fabric ravels easily or is stretchy, slippery or floppy, you may want to baste the layers together. This project used panne velvet, which is stretchy, slippery and floppy, so I went so far as to serge the layers together. If you do this, be sure the serger knife barely skims the fabric; you don't want to enlarge the opening.
Attach your waistband (via the same process as shown in yesterday's post). If the opening is a bit too small, you can stretch the fabric to meet the waistband. If the opening is much too small, you can cut it larger... but cut a tiny bit at a time. You can't shrink the opening once it's cut.
Run the elastic through the waistband. If you have multiple layers and/or heavy fabrics, be sure to use elastic that's strong enough. I used 1" non-roll elastic for this project.
Finally, hem/finish the bottoms as desired. Done!
It takes a while to describe the process, but once you have a template for your waist cutout, pixie skirts are easy and quick to make. They're the perfect style for multiple layers of lace or sheer fabrics.