Time to Complete
As we don’t have a pattern for a skirt, we are going to make a simple tube that will fit Lemara and use elastic for the waist. Lemara wants to make her skirt out of squares, she wants to cut 8-inch squares (you could do a different size or even strips). Using a tape measure, she measures, marks her lines 8-inch square and cuts her squares out.
She has already chosen 4 different colours/patterns of fabric from the scraps from which she now cuts out 8 squares of each pattern making a total of 32 squares.
Lemara then lays the squares out on the table to get a good idea of what combination looks best together.
We are going to set the overlocker for a flat lock stitch.
Your tension settings may vary depending on the fabric and threads. We will be using the left needle only (1 needle - you can use either
needle but not both, we’re using the left needle for a wider seam, the right needle creates a narrower seam), with tension setting on 1. The right needle would give you a narrow seam. The tension for upper looper (blue) should be on 2.5. The lower looper (red) on 5.5 (remember - you may need to fine tune the tension depending on the threads you are using). The length of the stitch is 3.5, differential is N and cutting width is 2. Lemara decided to use contrasting colour threads which are polyester.
Testing the flat lock stitch
When doing the flat lock stitch, the wrong sides of the fabric should be placed together, remember to choose your seam allowance. Lemara decided to have a width of 1.5cm (15mm). Try to keep to your chosen seam allowance when joining your pieces because it will ensure that the seams line up. Place the fabric under the toe of the foot, use your thumb to raise the toe of the foot to help prevent the top layer of the fabric from slipping. The left needle and the marker on the toe of the foot should line up with the marked allowance on the fabric. The sewn seam width will be 6 to 7mm, Lemara’s is 6mm, the amount that gets trimmed away is 8 to 9mm for Lemara this is 9mm so that her total seam allowance is 15mm. Lemara is using pins to help keep the fabric together but makes sure she has put them at least an inch to the left of the foot. Once you are certain that you have the above settings on your overlocker you can now start to sew!
The top of the seam looks like a normal overlock stitch, when you look on the underside it looks like a zig zag, this is correct!
Lemara is chaining off for no less than 1 inch, she doesn’t want her stitch to undo.
Open your pieces out, one side in each hand and pull them apart until flat.
Keep joining your squares, Lemara joined 4 to get a strip, when she completed 4 strips, she then joined them together (remember - keep wrong sides together!). She now has 2 big squares, the front and the back, both comprising 16 small squares sewn together. Looking at Lemara’s small frame, I think that’s plenty.
I have measured Lemara, her waist, thighs and bottom (her biggest part) then she told me the length she wanted. We have more than enough fabric, Lemara’s widest measurement is 36 inches.
She laid both layers on the table and using the tape measure she measured, marked and pinned 18 inches then allowed 1 more inch each side for seam and a bit of moving space.
Nearly there! One tube all joined with a flat seam.
You can hem your skirt any way you like - by hand sewing, perhaps on a sewing machine or why not use your overlocker and the same flat lock stitch, no foot change needed!!
Simply fold the hem 1 inch (2.5cm)...
...now fold that pressed hem again and press.
Raise the foot up, place the double folded hem under the complete foot (with needle raised), right side of fabric facing up to you, make sure that the folded hem is butted up to the blade and in line with the right side of toe. Now lower the foot and sew all the way around the hem. Once you have gone completely around, overlap the stitching for about 1 inch then raise the foot and remove fabric, now cut the threads.
Pull the hem fold and the main fabric apart until it lays flat.
Lemara wanted a total length of 23 inches. Therefore, starting from the fold of the folded hem she measured a length of 25 inches allowing 2 inches for the second double folded hem at the other end – the elastic to go here.
Hem for elastic
Just like before, fold 1 inch, press, then fold another inch and press again. Raise the complete foot, place the fold of the hem up to the left of the blade, to the right side of the toe of the foot. Sew nearly all the way around, when you come to the point where you are about 1 inch away from where you started, push away your fabric to the left and chain off for about an inch. This is the gap for your elastic insert.
Lemara’s elastic is 1.5cm (5/8 inch). You will need to work out your gap depending on the width of your elastic.
Lemara’s waist is 25 inches, the length of elastic she has cut is also 25 inches. She is going to feed it through the waist band.
You can do this easily by using a safety pin which you attach to one end of the elastic then use the pin to guide the elastic through the gap.
Feed the pin with attached elastic all the way around until...
...you come out the other end of the waist band.
Lemara has overlapped the ends of the elastic 2 inches and hand sews.
She then neatens the opening by also hand stitching.
A quick press with the iron and we’re all done!
Try it on, stand back and admire...
Here’s Lemara modelling her finished project! (She is a bit camera shy...)