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I made my first broomstick skirt early in 1990, using verbal instructions from my friend, Judy Murphy, of
Atlanta, Georgia. I''ve made literally dozens since then, and think of her every time I make one. Here
are the instructions I wrote for our Creative Sewing Club after my first skirt. I hope you enjoy them as
much as I do!
Click Here for "The broomstick Skirt from Hell" (Story)
- " 100% Cotton Fabric *
- " Thread to match
- " 1 1/4" sports elastic
- " Rotary Cutting Tool, Board, Ruler
- " Old pair of panty hose & rubber bands
- " Gathering foot, ruffler, or differential feed serger
(shirring foot or attachment is great for
the serger, too)
Helpful but not required:
- " Magnetic seam guide
- " If turning up a hem
Thread Fuse and Twin needle(2.5/80) for top stitching hem
or a 5mm Hemmer
- " Serger for Rolled Edge instead of turned up hem
* To determine the amount of fabric, use method 1 or method 2
- Desired skirt length below the waistband, plus 3, divided by 3, x 11, + 4, divided by 36 = number of yards
Example: desired skirt length = 27, + 3 = 30, divided by 3 = 10 x 11 = 110, + 4 = 114, divided by 36 = 3.167 or about 3 1/4 yards
- For average skirt lengths:
under 5'' tall = 3 1/4 yards
up to 5'' 4" = 3 1/2 yards
up to 5'' 9" = 3 3/4 yards
over 5'' 9" = 4 1/8 yards
*Note: if your hip measurement is 43" or over, add 1/3 yard.
This makes a nice, full skirt. If you don''t want it as full, you can reduce the number of strips for the second and third tier.
Use 1/4" seams except where indicated. Be sure to finish the edges of these seams since you''re working with a fabric that ravels. A serger or a stitch that makes the seam and overcasts the edge at the same time will be the fastest methods.
- Being sure to cut at right angles to the fold of the fabric as it comes off the bolt, cut 11 strips the width of the fabric by this measurement:
Note: if your hip measurement is 43" or more, cut 12 strips.
Under 5'' tall = 10"
Up to 5'' 4" = 11"
Up to 5'' 9" = 12"
Over 5'' 9" = 13"
by the number determined by this formula:
Desired skirt length (from below waistband), Plus 3", divided by 3.
- Cut off the selvages from all the strips, at right angles to the cut edges. (If you''re serging, you can do this as you sew the strips together.) Take two of the strips and cut them shorter than the width of the fabric by this formula: Hip measurement + 13, divided by 2. Example: hip = 40". 40 + 13 = 53, divided by 2 = 26 1/2".
- Cut two pocket pieces from the pattern. Sew a pocket piece, right sides together, to the right short side of one of the hip pieces, 1 3/4" down from the top edge. Do the same thing on the other hip piece, on the left short side. Press the seam allowance toward the pocket.
- Put right sides together, matching pocket and skirt pieces, and straight stitch as shown in the diagram, through both layers. This seam with the pocket will be at your right side if you''re right handed, left if left handed. With this in mind, press the pocket toward what will be the front, and baste the top of the pocket to the skirt front.
- Sew all the remaining strips together to make one very long strip. Test your gathering on one of the strips to get 10" to gather to as close to 5" as you can. Then gather the long strip to make one long ruffle.
- Place the gathered side of the strip right sides together with the bottom raw edge of the hip piece (to be sure your pocket won''t be upside down). Have the gathered piece on top. Sew until you run out of hip piece, being sure to take a deep enough seam that your gathering stitch won''t show. Cut off the extra ruffled strip.
- Add the third tier to the bottom of the second tier in the same way. Cut off the extra and save it for an applique or something!
- Finish the bottom edge with a rolled edge on the serger, or seam finish using Thread Fuse on the bobbin of your machine. Loosen your bobbin case (and get it back to normal with a Tension King) or use an extra bobbin case. With an overcast foot and a zigzag about 1 mm long and about 5 wide, sew with the right side up all along the edge. The Thread Fuse can then fuse the hem in place, and a double needle top stitch can hold it. (Use a magnetic seam guide to keep your stitching straight.) Another method is to use a 5mm hemmer on your machine, a regular needle, and a medium zigzag. If you have another way you prefer, feel free to use that method. (Be sure that the edges of the skirt are going to be the same length when you sew the side seam. If not, you can adjust the hem now.)
- Seam finish the top edge of your piece, turn it down 1 1/2", and press it. Stitch this casing 1 3/8" from the fold. Cut a piece of elastic to fit snugly around your waist plus 1/2". Put the elastic through, securing it at both ends.
- Sew the side seam, and you''re sewing''s done! (Note: if you prefer, you can finish the side seam first and then do the casing for the elastic and the hem in the round.)
To wrinkle your skirt the first time and to keep it attractively wrinkled, you need to follow this procedure each time you wash it:
Cut the old panty hose off at the toes and down the crotch, to make two tubes. After you''ve washed your skirt and had it spin dry, pull it into the one of the panty hose tubes. Keep the hem from being turned up, and try to keep the skirt fairly straight. Put the other tube over the first one, with the crotch part at the other end. Secure each end with rubber bands or your skirt will crawl out of the nylons while it''s in the dryer and you''ll have a square dance skirt instead of a "broomstick" skirt!
Put the skirt through the drying cycle a few times. To speed drying at this point, I take it out of the panty hose, separate the folds just a little bit, and hang it on the clothes line this way. Usually it''s dry the next day. If you keep your skirt in the panty hose between wearings, you won''t need to go through this as often.
This is a really fun skirt to wear, and attractive on all figures. Take it when you travel, in the panty hose. It saves space, and wrinkling only enhances its appearance!
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