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March 22nd, 2011

10:59 pm - Super Cute Lolita Skirt Tutorial for Noobs
End result

This is what you will be making!


Hi everyone! This is my first tutorial, so let me know if anything is unclear. I am posting this tutorial because the one I used to make this skirt has been deleted from livejournal so I thought I would be helpful and post my own version. I say that it is a tutorial for noobs, because I too am a noob to Lolita fashion and sewing in general, so I am going to try to explain the steps with as much detail as possible, as if you have NO IDEA how to sew. I am also going to include tutorials for sewing the zipper and creating ruffles, because the tutorial I used had links to separate tutorials for this. I will include those links as well for clarification.

(Sorry if you follow the metric system! I guess just transfer the measurements to metric when you do this.)

You may need to get your measurements first, but the amount of materials here should work for a standard skirt.
  • Sewing machine with a multitude of settings. (We will be using at 3 different ones for this tutorial - straight stitch tight, straight stitch loose, and a small zigzag)
  • 2 and 1/2 yards of fabric.
  • Fusible interlacing. (About 1 yard should do.)
  • Matching thread (or thread that will look nice with your fabric. For example, I used black thread, since it contrasted nicely with the red fabric)
  • Ribbon (A spool of 4 or 5 yards should be plenty)
  • A zipper (7" - 9")
  • 2 fabric hooks and eyes
  • !OPTIONAL! Lace, buttons, bows (anything you want to attach) to make it look cute!
Now you need to cut your fabric. These are the shapes you will need. (Remember that you need a seam allowance. All of the instances where it says +2" or +4" etc. in this picture are allowing for the seams. I made a few mistakes I am now realizing, so I'll explain in detail below.)

I tried to color code for clarity later on.

Hopefully you can read all of that. PLEASE READ!! Since I messed up in a few places, I'll explain in detail here.

Waistband: Basically, the measurements I drew for the waistband strip already account for the seam allowances, so follow that. You need the measure of your waist, plus the four inches to accommodate for the seam allowance and the area where you will sew the hooks on later. The 6" includes a 1" seam allowance on top and bottom so your waistband should end up being 4" wide (from the skirt to the ribcage) when you're done.

NOTE: The measure of your waist has to be as high on your waist as you are planning on wearing the skirt. Then add the seam allowances. You will probably need to alter the waistband later to get a good fit, but don't worry about this now. We'll get to that later.

Skirt: For the top of the skirt (this is the skinny part in the picture and the part that will attach to the waistband) you need to take your waist measurement and divide it by 4 since you will need 4 pieces to go around your waist. Then add 2" to that measurement to allow for the seams. The bottom of the skirt should be your waist measurement, multiplied by 2 plus 2" for the seams. (Basically, this is double the top measurement of the skirt trapezoid NOT COUNTING THE 2" SEAM ALLOWANCE, and THEN add 2" to THIS measurement.) Of course, if you want a wider hem, you can measure the bottom width to be a little wider, but I wouldn't add too much width. Remember, any width you add will be quadrupled, since you'll be adding this measurement to ALL 4 PIECES of the skirt. Double the top measurement should be sufficient. A petticoat will fit underneath either way.

When you measure for the length of the skirt, make it longer than you want it to be. (The 1" - 2" at the bottom is the seam allowance for when you sew on the ruffle. This does not count for your skirt length.) I measured my skirt to my knees and then added 4" of ruffle at the bottom so it was longer than my knees. The skirt will be scrunched up later, so it has to be long enough that you get a nice ruffle when you scrunch it up.

What I did for my skirt was cut a pattern out of newsprint paper and then pin it to the fabric and cut around that to get the right shape.

For example: if your waist is 32" around, the top of each skirt trapezoid will be 32" divided by 4 which equals 8". Then +2" to make the top of the skirt 10" wide. The bottom width of the skirt would then have to be 8" doubled to make a 16" wide hem then, +2" to make 18" wide hem.

Ruffles: n the picture, the ruffles are measured at 6" wide, and this allows for 1" seams on each side. So the ruffles, when sewn on to the skirt, will add 4" of length to your skirt. Whatever you measured for the bottom width of your skirt, (not counting seam allowances) you need to measure the ruffles to be double this length, and then add 2" seam allowances to that measurement.

So if the hem on each piece of the skirt measures at 16" +2" for seam allowance, your ruffles need to be 16" multiplied by 2 to get 32" long +2" for seam allowance to get a 34" long piece of fabric.

Fusible interlacing: This I messed up on. The fusible interlacing needs to be your waist measurement +4". This is because you will not be folding it over and sewing it down with the rest of your fabric, you will be fusing it right over the seams of the waistband. (You will still need the extra 2" for the area where the hooks will be sewn on which is why I added 4" — 2" for the seam allowance on either end, plus 2" for the hooks.)

Okay, now that my picture has been explained, let's get to assembly shall we? We will first concentrate on the ruffles. (Ultimately, you can attach them after you've sewn all four skirt pieces together, but I found it to be much easier to attach them to each section separately first, and for the method I am going to use to create the gathers, this makes much more sense. I'll explain, and you'll understand why in a minute.) The first thing you need to do is hem the ruffles. First, fold over 1" along ONE of the longer edges of the ruffle piece and sew about a quarter inch from this new folded edge. You want to make sure you lock your thread by sewing forward and backward a few stitches on the ends of your line of sewing. (This is common knowledge to anyone who sews often, but I say this now because when we gather our material, we will not lock our lines of sewing.) Also make sure your stitch length is set to small. Repeat this step for each ruffled piece, sewing a hem along ONE long side of each piece. 

Making ruffles is not too difficult, but it takes time because you have to gather the material. Here is a picture showing the method I used to do that.

What you want to do, is sew two lines of long length stitches (remember how I said you should make sure your stitches were set to short length earlier?) 1/4" and 1" from the edge of the NON HEMMED long side of your ruffle piece. Do not lock your lines of sewing. Sew the entire length of this piece of fabric. Make sure you know which thread (your bobbin thread or your spool thread) is looser, and separate these. You will need to know which is the looser thread later on so you can actually gather the material.

Fold the ruffled piece in half so you can find the middle.  
Fold the skirt trapezoid in half so you can find the middle as well.
Line the middle of the ruffled piece up with the middle of the skirt trapezoid and pin.
Line both edges of the ruffled piece up with both edges of the skirt trapezoid and pin. The ruffle should hang loosely from the skirt trapezoid. ALSO!! IMPORTANT Make sure you are pinning these pieces of fabric together so that they are inside out. Meaning if you have the skirt trapezoid lying on a flat surface, the OUTSIDE should be facing up and the OUTSIDE of the ruffle lying on top of it should be facing down (so the raw edge of the sewn fabric hem of the ruffle is facing up.)

Once you have pinned your fabric in place, take both rows of your looser threads (you should have kept them separated from earlier, or at least remembered if it was the top or bottom thread) and begin to pull from one end, scrunching up the material on one side of your middle pin. You want to make sure that when you are done gathering, your ruffle material is a little tighter than the actual skirt material, since you will even it out in a minute.
Gather the other side as well.
Now, when you actually begin to sew the ruffle onto the skirt trapezoid, make sure you set your sewing machine back to the smaller stitch. Line up the needle on the machine to go in between the two sets of loose stitching and put the needle down to hold the material in place.
You can now even out your gathers to make them look pretty.
When you begin to sew, make sure your presser foot doesn't mess up your newly created gathers. Use something flat like a chopstick to press the gathers down flat so your presser foot will sew over them and not push them down the gathering thread.

You can view a video tutorial on creating gathers here if you are confused (this is the video I used) www.youtube.com/watch

There you go! Do this three more times to the other ruffle and skirt trapezoid pieces.

Take two of these finished skirt trapezoids with ruffles. We will now install the zipper. First, you need to know how long your zipper is, and leave that much space from the top of the waist. Sew the rest of the seam all the way to the bottom of the ruffle. You will be using the small stitching and make sure to lock your lines of sewing. 

The zipper is a hidden zipper, so you need to pin one side of teeth to the OUTSIDE of the fabric on one of the trapezoid pieces. Do not fold this over yet, sew through only ONE layer of fabric and the one side of the zipper. (I made this mistake the first time, which is why I am trying to be super clear now.) You DO NOT want any of your stitches to show up on the outside of the skirt. So you are sewing with the INSIDE of the zipper facing UP, pinned to the OUTSIDE of the skirt fabric which is also facing UP.
Leave an inch from the teeth of the zipper to the edge of the fabric.
Do the same on the other side with the other line of zipper teeth to the other trapezoid.
Then sew across the bottom of the zipper to hold it in place. If you want, you can run your ribbon channels up to here, so go look below for that part of the tutorial now. If you don't want your ribbon channels to only be half the length of the zipper seam, do it as you would the other ribbon channels.

Here is a picture:

If you're confused, here's the tutorial I used for sewing zippers www.flickr.com/photos/chickeys17/sets/72157611365987661/

Oh yeah! And if you don't already know, go and make sure you have the presser foot for sewing zippers so you don't have to call your friend at lunch time and ask to go to her house to use her ancient sewing machine because you lost your zipper foot :3

Alright, now. This is stuff is the easy stuff now.

Sew all of your trapezoids with the ruffles together, leaving one inch seam allowances on each seam.
Make sure that they are also sewn together inside out. 

Now we will create the ribbon channels and add the ribbons. Here's another picture:

This is pretty self explanatory, just fold the seam allowances over onto themselves and sew close to the middle seam. Then use a safety pin attached to the end of your ribbon and run it up through the ribbon channels. You will use a small zigzag stitch to sew the ribbons into place, contrary to what is in the 3rd step of the above picture.

You're almost done!

Fold over one long edge and both short edges of the waistband material and sew them down. Then add the fusible interlacing. To do this, place the interlacing on top of the inside of the waistband, the soft side should be up.
Turn on your iron and preshrink the interlacing by holding the iron over top of it for a few seconds. Do not touch the iron to the interlacing.
Then use the tip and press a small area right to the fabric, just so it doesn't move.
Then, to actually attach the interlacing you must DAMPEN a washcloth with water (Use a spray bottle or another wet washcloth to do this) and place the cloth onto the interlacing. Press the iron down onto the wet cloth for about ten seconds (a little longer if the fabric is kind of thick), and repeat until you've covered the area of the wet cloth.
The cloth should be dry when you pick the iron up.
Do not touch the cloth until it cools completely.

Now your interlacing is attached!

Last part guys! We're almost there!
Pin the unfinished edge of the waistband and interlacing to the skirt pieces. OUTSIDE TO OUTSIDE, so that when you sew, the thread won't be seen. Make sure that one end of the waistband is lined up with the edge of the fabric near the zipper so that there is about 2' left to overlap it on the other side of the zipper. This overlap is where you will hand sew the hooks. (Don't do what I did and sew the hooks on backwards! I wasn't thinking when I did mine so now it's awkward because I'm right handed, and the hooks go the wrong way. Right way for a lefty but it's so awkward to hook! This also means making sure the 2" waistband overlap is on the correct side.)

Now test fit. Is it tight enough? If not, sew darts to get the fit just right. Here's a tutorial for sewing darts if you're unfamiliar with what that is, (like I was, when I went into this project.)


Now all that's left to do is sew on the hooks in the back and customize! Have fun! Oh yeah, and don't forget to pull the ribbons out and tie the skirt at your preferred length!

NOTE: I sewed the lace in the front of my skirt into the darts when I fitted it. 
Current Mood: accomplished

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March 8th, 2011

11:47 pm - Hand-Made, High Waisted Gothic Lolita Skirt
 Here's a skirt that I've been working on for the last four days. Considering that I've never made a piece of clothing for myself ever, I think it came out pretty well! I'm very proud of this :3

I actually found the tutorial for this here on LiveJournal, but it looks like the journal got deleted ;_; I don't have the petticoat yet, but it should be here in a few days. I also have shoes coming in the mail. As soon as they get here, I'll have my complete outfit, and I'll be sure to model it for everyone!
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: "Beautiful Lies" by B-Complex

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