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Friday, May 13, 2011

The Elastic-Waist Flirt Skirt (inspired by J.Crew)


I am SO excited to be sharing this project with you. Not because it’s so crazy amazing (I’m a newbie sewer, so it’s actually rather basic), but because it is the very FIRST article of clothing that I’ve ever sewn for myself. Honestly, I never expected to make myself anything--I started sewing to make things for our home and the boys, and never expected to do much else. Adult clothes have to fit, and the idea of making that possible intimidates me. Not to mention that I actually enjoy getting out and doing a little shopping for myself on occasion. No gripes there, you know? I think that in my mind I pictured sewing clothes for myself as a sure path to having strange, out-of-style outfits (like the ones I often see on pattern packages) with uneven hems and mismatched arms (the latter due to my ineptitude). Or maybe worse--something in calico, a la Little House on the Prarie. It didn’t occur to me that I might actually make something attractive.

Then, a few weeks back, I purchased this little number at J. Crew (I couldn't find it online, where it would probably look much more special sans the wrinkles:)). It’s a chino, elastic-waist miniskirt. No zippers, no gathering, no darts; just elastic, cotton, and thread. It cost too much for what it is ($58--ouch), but it fit so well and seemed so perfect for momming around with the boys on hot summer days that I convinced myself to buy it anyway. On one condition: that I would use it as a pattern for making a few more just like it. And so, the Flirt Skirt (a.k.a. the J.Crew Copycat Skirt) was born. 


Before I go any further, let me tell you this: making this skirt is EASY. Easy enough to be the third or fourth thing you ever sew, in my opinion. 


Ironically, though, the construction isn’t obvious. When I convinced myself to make one, I thought it was just a simple elastic-waisted skirt--made basically the same way as Basic Boy Shorts, plus pockets, minus a crotch. I found this tutorial from Freshly Picked and this one at What a Nerd Would Wear, and figured that I could copy the pattern pieces from the J. Crew skirt and then use their instructions to put them together. But there were a few details I missed. 
See, the first step in copying any piece of clothing (or, in other words, using a piece of clothing to make a pattern) is turning it inside out. And when I did that, I found this:


  1. Rectangular pockets attached up underneath the elastic casing. My guess is that this makes the pockets less bulky and more streamlined--overall more flattering than the semicircle version.
  2. There is a seam on top of the elastic, which gives the top of the skirt a cute little ruffle. Seemed easy enough, and I liked the detail. 
  3. The elastic doesn’t go all the way around. EEK. My first thought was, “well, mine will.” And then I realized that the flat (no elastic) sections, which are about three inches wide around either side seam, have much to do with the look of this skirt. Because of those flat places, you get the cute, full look in the front without the pouf at your hips. Yeah, I admit it. I love J.Crew.
So I was left to figure a few things out by myself again. And it turned out that it wasn’t very hard at all--in fact, the finished process (detailed below) is really easy, even for a novice like me! As you use the tutorial, though, please do be careful to read the text. Now that I’ve done this once, I have a few ideas about ways to make it even quicker--and I’ll share those, too. 


I love my new skirt. It’s not chino, so it’s probably a little less versatile than it’s older sister (I wouldn’t sit down in the dirt in it), but the fun, summery pattern makes it more festive, and a bit more dressy. And the price? Well, I bought 1.5 yards of Scarf Stripes in Scooter Grey/Sherbet Pips by Anela Hoey for Moda from Whipstitch for $15 and one package of elastic for about $1.50. So, even after buying designer fabric, I saved over $40! Results like that have a bit of a narcotic effect--they make you want to sew more, try more, make more...
So, lookout friends, there may be more copycat tutorials on the horizon:). Read on after the jump (meaning, click that little link called "Read more" after the StumbleUpon icon) for the full tutorial. 
Happy Weekend!

p.s. In case you’re curious, the necklace I’m wearing in these pictures was made by women in Uganda who support their families by creating and selling magazine beads. My friend Melissa bought this one for me while she was in Uganda to adopt her sweet son, Charles Tucker, but you can buy your own (and support Ugandan orphan adoption) at 147 Million Orphans. My thong sandals are made by Steve Madden and are available here.





Materials


1. Cut your pattern pieces: two skirt pieces and four pockets. Start by measuring your natural waist and deciding how long you want your skirt to be. Determine the width of your skirt pieces by subtracting 4 to 5 inches from the size of your waist. Determine the length of your skirt pieces by adding 6 inches to your desired skirt length. I wanted the finished length of my skirt to be 18 inches and measured my waist to be about 29 inches, so I cut TWO pieces that were 24 inches wide by 24 inches long. I cut four pockets 9 inches long by 6 inches wide, although you could easily make them bigger and keep the same proportions.



2. With right sides facing, pin two pockets to each skirt piece, four inches from the top of the skirt. 


Sew pockets to the skirt pieces with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. 


3. Press pockets to the outside of the skirt, and place skirt pieces on top of each other with right sides facing and pin pockets and side seams. 


Using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, sew ONE side seam* from the top to the bottom of the skirt, going around the outer edges of the pocket. 



4. Create your hem. Open the skirt and lay it down on its right side (the sewn side seam will be in the middle). 




Create a hem by first turning the bottom edge of the skirt up 1/2 inch, pressing, and then turning the edge up 1.5 inches. 




Sew the hem up as close to the inner edge of the hem as possible. 




5. Close the skirt with right sides facing, lining up the raw edges and pockets exactly. Sew the second side seam with a 1/2 inch seam allowance, and STOP 1/2 inch ABOVE the top of the pocket (note that in my pic, I stopped at the end of the pocket. Do as I say, not as I do!) 



6. Now, create the elastic casing. With the skirt still turned inside-out, fold the top edge of the skirt down 1/4 inch, press, then fold down 2 inches and pin. 



Using a disappearing ink fabric pin, mark the pinned casing 1.5 inches from each side seam on both sides of the skirt--see those purple marks? (Nighttime lighting is so ugly, sorry folks).





Create the cute ruffled top edge of the skirt by stitching into the casing the entire way around the skirt using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  




Now, sew down the casing between the fabric pen marks ONLY on each side of the skirt. Place the seam as close as possible to the inside edge of the casing.  



Cut your piece of elastic in half. Attach a safety pin to the end of one half and use it to push the elastic through one of your two sewn casings. 
Once the elastic has passed under the fabric pen mark opposite to your entry point, pull it about an inch further, and pin through the pen mark. 




Now gather the fabric on your elastic until the distance between the two fabric pen marks is about 11 inches (you might change this significantly after trying it on, but it’s a good starting point). Pin at the second pen mark, flip the skirt over, and repeat on the other side. 





With the elastic pinned this way, try your skirt on (and try hard not to stab yourself with a pin--I wasn’t successful:)). With the skirt on, take some good hard looks in the mirror. Adjust the fabric on the elastic and make sure that fabric is lying down nicely at the pins and around the side seams. If the fabric is pulling, take the skirt off, flip it inside out, and increase the distance between the pins.


Stitch vertically along the pins/purple marks. 




Trim the elastic beyond the vertical stitches, then tuck back under the open casing.



Sew down the open casing around each of the side seams. Be careful to line up your stitch with the casing seams that are already in place.




And that’s it!  Now, put on that pretty skirt, stick your hands in the pockets, and ask someone you love (or someone you’re itching to flirt with:)) out on a date. Eat your heart out, J.Crew price tag!




A final note: If I were to do this again (and I will!), I would make one change for efficiency’s sake. I would sew both side seams (including the pockets) all the way up at the same time, then sew up the hem with the skirt closed, as well as the front and back sections of casing (as discussed above) and then thread the elastic through the un-sewn bottom edges of the casing around either side seam. Just like Basic Boy Shorts




100 comments:

  1. ummm, sell this...to me, please. thank you.

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  2. Total genius! Would you believe I have already bought the elastic to make a similar skirt on Burda Style, but I'm so glad I found your waist-slimming side panel version first. (And btw, saying that I'm buying something to copy it myself is my very favorite shopping justification - not that I've actually done it yet!)

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  3. I am so impressed! Your skirt is fabulous!! I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:
    http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-elastic-waist-flirt-skirt/2011/05/13/

    --Anne

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  4. Great tutorial! I love that you included the pockets.

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  5. Wow! Lovely!
    I don't like my knees. Can i made this longer? What do you think?
    Thanks! Miriam

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  6. I love how your skirt turned out, the pockets are a great and useful addition.

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  7. also I can't believe you are a newbie sewer!

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  8. Thank you all for your kind comments! Miriam, I think you could make it knee length, but I wouldn't go longer than the bottom of your knees--after that point I think that the shape might become a little awkward.

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  9. wow, I love this. yours is even better than the J. Crew version!

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  10. Can't wait to make this. Thanks!

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  11. I'm gonna have to try this! Full elastic waistband skirts make me feel fat, but I love the look of this! Thanks so much for sharing.

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  12. love this & pinned it! This is exactly the kind of skirt I want for my summer fun!

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  13. Love it!! You did a great job copying! Thanks for sharing

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  14. Great tutorial. My daughter has been asking for a skirt just like this and I can't wait to try it. Thanks!

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  15. Great skirt!! I had to swing by your blog and poke around, after you commented on mine (bluebirdandtheboy)...I love it! I'll be back! :)

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  16. I like it! It is simple, but great skirt for wear every day!

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  17. LOVE this. also love the fabric you used and might have to get some to make my own. i haver a question though. would you mind sharing what size the jcrew skirt is?

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  18. Hi Melissa, not at all! Mine was a size 4, although I'm typically on the large side of 4, small of 6. This skirt is very forgiving in the backside, which is my bigger part. If that size works for you, you can follow my measurements exactly, but I also tried to provide enough direction to accommodate any size. The two skirt pieces should EACH be your waist size minus 4-5 inches by your desired length plus 6 inches. I hope that helps!

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  19. LOVE IT and I too own the "older sister" ... maybe this will be a good summer project to tackle, because I have to admit, I love pockets - I think everything should be made with pockets.

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  20. Wow. Too funny you say you checked out the Freshly Picked tutorial, as that was the skirt I was about to make, but I much prefer your waistline, with hidden elastic. Yours looks beautiful... hope mine turns out as well! :)

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  21. So cute! I love how simple it is to make it and I adore the fabric you used!

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  22. Sorry if this comment posts a million times...

    Thank you so much for this tutorial, I can't wait to bust out some of my fabric stash and give it a go.

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  23. Hi! I know this is kind of an older post but I wanted to let you know that I made this skirt last night and it turned out absolutely AMAZING! Fantastic tutorial!

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  24. Awesome!!! Great tutorial! I just found this through pinterest and cant wait to do it! It will be one of my first skirts! :)

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  25. I finished your skirt! I am such a copy-cat, I even used the same fabric. Thanks for the easy to follow tutorial! The only thing I did different was zig-zag stitch my side seams and use 1-inch elastic. You can see my results here.

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  26. I'm thrilled that so many of you have tried out the skirt! I've just opened up a Growing Home Project Pool on FLICKR. Please upload your pics so that we can all see the beautiful things you've made! http://www.flickr.com/groups/growinghome/

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  27. I just finished this skirt tonight--my first article of clothing ever! Well, I should say my first that wasn't a total disaster. I'm already planning on making another and just wanted to thank you for taking the time to put together this tutorial because it's excellent!

    Oh and the only thing I did differently was zig zag my side seams.

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  28. Amber, that's so exciting! I'm honored that you made this your first article of clothing. I hope you enjoy it. Please upload a pic to Flickr--I'd love to see it!

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  29. wow--i found this through CraftGossip and can't get enough of this. I have so many projects on my list to create, and this has now been placed on top! I need to make one of these before I leave for vacation (next weekend)! ;)

    katie from Sew Woodsy

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  30. how cute! love your version with the pockets! thanks for your comment today, Elisabeth!

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  31. found you via pinterest and i absolutely love this tutorial! i will definitely be making this skirt asap!

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  32. Thanks, Melissa! I'd LOVE to see the skirt you make--please upload it to the Flickr group once it's done.

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  33. Would this work with a t-shirt knit?

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  34. I really love the flattering cut. anytime I can reduce bulk on the hips is good! great tutorial!

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  35. Thanks for your comments! I'm afraid I can't give much of an answer on the t-shirt knit, as I don't have any experience sewing with that material (although making a t-shirt is on my project list this week, so I'll come back and let you know if I gain any insight). I will tell you that stretch in your material makes the measuring different, so the dimensions would probably be different than what I list above. As far as the overall look of the skirt, my hunch is that a knit wouldn't give you as much body in the skirt and might lay in a less flattering way. But if you decide to try it anyway, please let me know!

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  36. The tutorial says to cut my elastic in half...is that 1/2 of the 1 yard listed in the supplies list? Maybe I missed it in the instructions. My measurements are about the same as yours so what size did you cut your elastic? I can't imagine it was 36 since that is bigger than my waist size. I thought I'd find something in the comments, but it seems that no one had this problem. I probably didn't read the instructions carefully enough.

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  37. Hi Margie, my method was more trial and error/less measurement on the elastic. I cut the yard in half, then pushed the halves through the two elastic casings and gathered fabric on them until I got to a fit I liked. Then I cut off the un-needed length on each elastic piece. This method wastes elastic, but it avoids cutting too short the first time and having to buy more. Ultimately, my two elastic pieces were about 10.5 inches long. Hope that helps!

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  38. I love this skirt and your tutorial is fantastic! Keep it up! I just finished a skirt and am wearing it already! I just blogged about it and added a link to your page! http://ejewelrydesigns.blogspot.com/2011/07/summer-sewing.html

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  39. I am hearting your version right now! That material is to die for! And I have some pieces of material here at home that will find their way into this skirt I'm sure!

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  40. Thanks, Amber! If you do make the skirt, please upload a pic to the GH flickr group (at http://www.flickr.com/groups/growinghome/). I'd love to see it!

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  41. Thanks so much for the tutorial! I saw it on pinterest and immediately fell in love with the style - and the pockets! I actually have a Tommy skirt that's really similar. I just made my own version tonight and it was so simple! Wow! I used all your tips, although I accidentally cut my waist pieces too short so my version is a little less bunched at the top.

    Anyhow - I just wanted to thank you! I'm posting about it on Tuesday with links to your fabulous post. I was so scared to try making clothes, and this was a great place to begin.

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  42. Kim, thanks so much for your comment! I'm thrilled to know that you made your own skirt easily and that you like it--and that it was your first venture into clothes making! Thank you for the link!

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  43. I'm in the middle of making this skirt. Since I've only actually sewed a few things - all free-form stuffed toys - sewing a skirt is a big thing for me so I live-blogged yesterday's instalment here :) (I may also have too much time on my hands...) http://campingout.tracyrosen.com/?p=303 At the moment it seams like it will be HUGE. I'm hoping that once the elastic is in it will fit!

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  44. You are a genius. I am going to make this skirt tonight and wear it tommorow, it has a perfect pocket to hide my phone from my 2 yr old. Thank you:-)

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  45. Can't wait to try this. You're so generous to take the time to share all of these awesome ideas with us and I'm so glad to be able to know you through your blog. My 9th anniversary is coming up next month and i think we're the same age. Now, if only I could sew like you...

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  46. I made it and I love it. Came back to say Thank you again!

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  47. Elisabeth I've made many more versions of this skirt since my last post but I wanted to share this one with you especially! It was a great first project for my niece who wouldn't have cared to construct something as simple as a bag or whatnot.

    http://ejewelrydesigns.blogspot.com/2011/09/sewing-with-lauren.html

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  48. Thank you so much for sharing this! I don't know how to sew as of yet, but I love all of the skirts and dress you have shared! Your projects have inspired me to sew so that I can still get that j.crew look I love without the price! Finding your blog via pinterest has been a the greatest discovery!

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  49. So I just completed my skirt from your tutorial and totally measured wrong (read - too much fabric) So, I tweaked it a bit, and then linked to you! Thanks so much for a great tutorial,even if I can't follow directions the right way.

    http://housefulofnicholes.com/still-skirting-the-issue

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  50. Pinkie, I'm so glad that you discovered Growing Home! Thanks for reading. I'm working on a few fun women's projects now--hopefully they'll be an inspiration to you, too. (Keep your fingers crossed that I can figure them out:)).

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  51. Oops - forgot to come back when it was finished! I've made a longer version with big big pockets and hopefully it won't be too large to wear next year as I finished it right at the end of the summer! I've only worn it a few times. I love the big pockets :)

    Here's the link to some pictures, though somewhat fuzzy as I was holding a squirming 7 month old at the time! http://campingout.tracyrosen.com/?p=378

    Also, I want to let you know I'm awarding you The Versatile Blogger Award!

    I received it recently and it felt great to be recognized, it's also prompting me to reach out and leave messages at some of the blogs I love to read but don't necessarily comment on all that often.

    There are a few provisos to keep the love moving :)

    By accepting this award I agree to do the following:
    Thank the blogger who awarded me with a link back to him/her.

    Share seven things about myself.

    Pass the award on to fifteen other newly discovered blogs.

    Please stop my my blog and right click on the award picture to save to your computer so you can add it to your post
    http://campingout.tracyrosen.com/?p=401

    Congratulations :)

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  52. Thank you for the tutorial, just used it to make my first skirt ever :)

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  53. Just made this skirt - directions were great. However, as a bigger girl, following the formula for arriving at the width of the skirt created way too much volume. In the end, I cut out 8 inches of width from the front and 8 from the back, and ended up with a more flattering fit.

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  54. Thank you--what a helpful comment. I've heard the same thing from other people, but not with such specificity. I'm so glad that you ended up with a skirt you like, and appreciate the feedback!

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  55. What a lovely skird, it will look great on my daughtre and I'm sure shell love it.

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  56. I really don't understand how you can measure your waist and then take 4-5 inches off and still have it fit you, wouldn't it be too small, I really like this pattern and would like to give it a go but can't get past that point.

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  57. illegibletrout: This was my first thought as well, but when i whent back and really looked what it said, you do it both on the front side and on the back side, leaving you with a total measurement of the fabric that is your waist*2 - 8-10 inches. So if your waist is 29 inches, the total measurement of both fabric squares will be abount 48 inches.

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  58. I have a hard time understanding this part

    "Now, sew down the casing between the fabric pen marks ONLY on each side of the skirt. Place the seam as close as possible to the inside edge of the casing."

    Might be that im not a native english speaker, but i have read and re-read and i simply dont get you're supposed to do...

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  59. help! I cut the skirt pieces out, but I haven't pinned the pockets yet- because it just looks so long on the width I can't see how it will work out. I have a 41 inch waist, so I'm looking at a 37x24 piece. For the bigger girls that tried this out- what adjustments worked for you?

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  60. Hi there, I am a complete novice at all this, but having bought a piece of material I told my Mum I would make her a long flowing skirt with an elastic waist band. My concern is how I get the angles correct. Then just wandering through your pages I noticed that great ruler that you have in the pictures above. I have tried to Googe it, but am not really sure what to look for any help you can offer would be just great.
    Many thanks. Jule

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  61. Jule, I'm so sorry for the late reply--I'm just coming back from a blog break. The tool you saw is technically a quilter's ruler and very similar to this: http://www.amazon.com/Omnigrid-R24-6-Inch-by-24-Inch-Quilters-Ruler/dp/B001CE8JKQ. It's far more useful if you use it with a quilter's cutting mat--something like this: http://www.amazon.com/ALVIN-Professional-Cutting-Green-Black/dp/B0015ASN5S/ref=pd_sim_ac_5 (the bigger the better).

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  62. Sara, I'm so sorry you've had to wait so long for this reply. That instruction means that you should sew the casing to the skirt along the bottom edge of the casing, stitching from one pen mark to the next, and stitching as close to the bottom edge of the casing as possible. I emphasize "between the pen marks ONLY" because you should NOT sew down the casing around the skirt's side seams yet. That space will not contain elastic and is dealt with later. I hope that helps. I'm back at blogging now and should be able to respond very quickly if you have further questions.

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  63. Love this! I found your tutorial by googling Elastic Waist Skirt Tutorial. I'm about to pull my fabric basket out and see what I can come up with. When you mentioned your necklace it made me think of a fair trade organization called Ten Thousand Villages. www.tenthousandvillages.com I think you'll like it!

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  64. I made it and I love it. Came back to say Thank you again!

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  65. Thank you for posting this! Saw your photo on Pinterest and made the skirt and black, I have tan on standby for the next one! Love it, and the pockets!

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  66. I would love if you would go back and add your note at the bottom to the steps above. Somehow I didn't see the note the first time and as I was sewing through the pictures, I kept thinking, why doesn't she do the hem all the way around so there isn't a raw edge, and also with the band, but I was hoping it would be taken care of in a later step, but it wasn't. I love the pattern and it is super easy and fun, but just a suggestion to go back and add that note in the actual directions. Thanks, I hope to make some of your other stuff.

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  67. Thanks for sharing! I just made one and it's super cute. The perfect summer skirt!

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  68. Thanks so much for posting this! I made one last week, and then made 3 more! I love love love it. It is perfect for me, and now that I have the pattern down, I can just whip them out. I have made a paisley one, blue and white check, yellow polka-dot and finally just today I finished one made out of this adorable moda print with owls. Thanks again!

    Katie

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  69. I just finished this skirt--LOVE it! I am looking forward to more--it was simple and only took a half yard and part of a fat quarter for the pockets. I added rik rak to the bottom of mine. i love this so much more than the elastic waist skirts i have been making--this is so clever to remove that bulk from the sides. i never wouldve figured it out on my own. Thanks for posting!

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  70. I just made this for my daughter with scraps from a quilt I did. Love it! And you're right, it was EASY! Wish we could post pics of our efforts! Thanks for the awesome, detailed instructions!

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  71. @Jaimers, I'd love to see your pictures! Please send them to me at elisabeth@mygrowinghome.com. It would be fun to have a flirt skirt roundup!

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  72. Hi great site! really cool and it will be a new inspirations for me

    women clothes suppliers

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  73. I know this pattern was posted almost a year ago, but I just found it and tried it, and I cannot wait to make more with all those yards of fabric I've bought with nothing in particular in mind. This time I used the fabric Contented Cats, from Michael Miller's Tammis Keefe Tribute collection.
    Thanks so much for posting this pattern! It is awesome!
    Here's mine:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/27654310@N02/6994342802/in/photostream/

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  74. thanks so much for the tutorial! i just finished my first skirt and really loved the instructions and pattern. here is my finished product: http://morethanavisit.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/getting-crafty-skirt/

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  75. I made it & love it! Thank you so much for your help! I used to fear anything "gathered", but not anymore :) I plan on making a longer one & adding a little bow belt for Church!

    Forever thankful,
    Laura Lynn <3

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  76. I'm SO glad that you've all enjoyed this tutorial, and your skirts! Thanks for letting me know, and providing the links. It's so much fun for me to see what you've done with this pattern. I'm inspired to make more for myself--once I'm out of maternity wear, that is:)

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  77. I know it's been forever since you posted this, but thank you so much for it! I used it to make my very first skirt and I absolutely LOVE it!! Here's the link if you want to check it out :)

    http://sewinlovexo.blogspot.com/2012/05/to-do-list-56.html

    Thanks again for the tutorial :)

    -Jessica (Sew In Love)

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  78. This is exactly the kind of skirt I've been looking for, but haven't wanted to spend J. Crew prices either. THANK YOU!

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  79. Thanks for posting! I made on today and it turned out amazing! Super easy and fast, even for me.... a newbie to sewing!

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  80. I just finished reading through your tutorial...and can't wait to start my new skirt tomorrow! Thanks So Much for sharing!

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  81. Thanks so much for such a clear and detailed tutorial! I love the waistband and the side panels really do reduce the bulk. I'm sure I'll be coming back to this one again in the next few weeks!

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  82. This is awesome, thanks a lot! Going to start on it tomorrow - it'll be my first piece of clothing I'll have made completely from scratch, but your tutorial makes it look so easy! Fingers crossed I can manage it :D

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  83. After trashing several other techniques claiming to be easy, this tutorial saved my day. I even laughed out loud about trying not to stick myself during the fitting, because of course I did too! We already know you can sew, but praises for your clear instructions and photos are deserved too! Keep it up, your page is bookmarked now!

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  84. Made this last week and LOVE it! Thanks for the fun & free tutorial!!

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  85. Made this today and it took me less than 2 hours. Thanks for a great tutorial!

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  86. This was the first piece of clothing I've ever made and it came out really well. Thanks for such an easy to follow tutorial!

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  88. The reason behind this confusion is the fear of not getting properly fitted karen millen sale dresses.

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  89. Hi,

    Thank you for this tutorial. If I understand correctly, the elastic doesn't go around the entire waist. Does this skirt have elastic only in the front (between the two purple markings) or do we have to do a similar set of markings in the back and insert another piece of elastic as well (leaving the sides without elastic) ?

    Thanks.

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