In August, I had the great opportunity to make bridesmaid skirts for a wedding. The Mother of the Bride is a friend of mine and she brought me the fabric she'd picked out and asked me if I could make some skirts with it, to her specifications. The Bride's sisters were going to be in cute green Downeast skirts, and the Bridesmaids were to wear pink skirts that were to be similar to the Downeast skirt, but a little longer and a little poufier.
Cute Kylie, one of the sisters of the bride:
I made the skirts out of a beautiful white lace the bride's mom found, layered with a pink lining and a top layer of light pink tulle, all attached to a black elastic waistband.
They were pretty simple to make, though making 5 at once took a bit of patience. All that tulle to cut! :)
I didn't have a pattern, so I figured out a mathematical formula to have each skirt look the same as the rest, but still fit each bridesmaid. I took each girl's waist measurement and calculated what the hem should be.
For the lining layer, which was a little narrower than the lace and tulle on top, I multiplied the waist measurement in inches by 1.12. The lining was 24.5 inches long.
(Waist Measurement x 1.12) + 1 = Hem Width for Lining
For instance, this piece of lining was 33.6 inches by 24.5 inches, for a girl with a 30 inch waist. Make sense? (And yes, the fabric in the below picture was cut a little crooked. Oops! I straightened it up before sewing it, though. :) )
The lace and tulle were the same size as each other, and slightly larger than the lining. The equation for the lace and tulle is:
The length for the tulle/lace was 26.25 inches, so the scallop on the lace would be more visible over the solid pink lining. So, for a girl with a 30 inch waist, the lace and tulle was 40.8 inches by 26.25 inches.
Who says you don't use math in every day life, right?
For each skirt, I cut two lining pieces, two pieces of lace, and four pieces of tulle.
So, here's how I made the skirt.
After everything is all cut out (the biggest part of the whole process), sew the two lining pieces at the sides (using half inch seam allowances), with right sides facing together. Trim, finish (I zig-zagged) and press the seams, then sew a narrow hem on the lining.
Next, sew the two pieces of lace down the sides (right-sides-together). Trim, zig-zag, and press the seams. I didn't need to sew a hem on the lace because it had a lovely scalloped finished edge.
Then, sew the 4 pieces of tulle together on the sides. (I didn't get a picture of this step...oops!) The tulle layer is doubled up so the pink would show (with only one layer, it was nearly invisible). Trim, and press the seams.
After your 3 skirt layers are sewed together and hemmed if needed, prep the waistband. I think the elastic I used was 3 inches...it may have been 2.5 inches wide. The length of the elastic was the girl's waist measurement + 1 inch. (So, for a girl with a 30 inch waist, that would be 31 inches of elastic).
Fold the elastic in half lengthwise, with cut ends together, right sides facing each other. Sew together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Press open the seam in the elastic (on a cool iron setting so you don't melt it!) and stitch the sides of the seam down.
Layer your tulle layer and lace layer together the way you want them, matching up side seams where possible. (Put the lace inside the tulle "skirt"). Machine baste the top of the lace/tulle skirt. Pull threads to gather the fabric to the size of your waistband. Adjust gathers the way you want them to look and pin the lace/tulle skirt to the waistband. Sew the skirt to the waistband, pulling slightly on the elastic as you sew, so your threads don't break when the elastic stretches as you wear the skirt.
As the lining is slightly smaller than than the lace/tulle layer, I gathered it separately. Repeat the above process with the lining, making sure that when you pin the lining to the waistband that the side seams match up with the side seams in the lace/tulle. Sew the lining to the waistband slightly above the stitches where you sewed on the lace/tulle, again stretching the elastic a bit as you sew.
Trim the excess fabric inside the waistband (I wish I'd gotten a picture so this makes more sense--there will be a ton of fabric above your stitches on the inside of the waistband, because the fabric was gathered. Trim it close (like 1/4 inch) to your stitches so it looks nice. Zig-zag it if you want (or serge it if you've got one of those fancy sergers!).)
Clip all your threads, shake it out, iron it, and you've got a pretty layered lace and tulle skirt!