Sunday, June 13, 2010

BDU skirt tutorial (times TWO!)

Alternative title: How to confuse the mess out of anyone who wants to learn how to make your skirt. It was too long though.

I made this skirt a while back, but when Crafterhours decided to have a skirt week, I thought I'd enter it and make a little tutorial to go with it. Now, I realize that the audience for this type of thing is very limited. Not everyone has BDUs sitting around the house begging to be cut up. But I imagine with some adjustments you could probably make this out of a pair of khakis that have a wide hem. Or really any pants if you want to make a waistband of some sort.

First of all, here is the skirt:


Miss O was being so cooperative, as you can see.

Secondly, this is a pair of BDU pants:


AKA - military camo pants. Only I don't think they look quite like this anymore. It's been almost 7 years since my husband was in the Air Force, so we're pretty out of the loop.

You begin by cutting off the bottom of the pants, like so...


I cut mine approximately 15 inches from the bottom, but the length depends on how long you want the skirt really. See the straps hanging from the bottom - they will be important later. This is what will make the difference between these particular pants and any other type of pants you might chose to use.

Next, you will need to cut the legs open. I didn't do it quite right on this particular skirt, but you will want to cut up the middle of the side opposite the opening for the straps. Make sense? Don't cut next to the seams, it will confuse you later. Trust me on this one. Sorry, I don't have a picture to help explain. Whatever you do - don't mess with the straps. You want them sewn in place when you do the side seams.

Lay your pieces right sides together. The strap openings should pretty much line up - they should be in the middle of each panel.

Now it's possible that the ends might not match up, like mine. Maybe I did a terrible job cutting, maybe everyone will have this problem... regardless, take the time to just even everything up a little.


Sew the sides and finish your seams however you normally do.


Now, unless you chose to hem it, you're done. Seriously. I didn't hem mine because the material frays like denim and I had decided to wash it a few times to see how I liked it before hemming it and I liked the look. But, by all means, hem away if you prefer a more finished look.

This is how you keep it on your kiddo's hips:


These straps are drawstrings. Unfortunately, the front and back are worked by separate straps, but what I did was tighten the back and tie a very sturdy knot in it so it would stay in place and I just use the front one to adjust the waist. If you are using a different type of pants, you could always run elastic or a drawstring through the hem (if it's a wide hem), or make a casing.

You'll notice this is a different skirt in the tutorial than the one on my child. Since I was sewing a new one, I thought I'd try something a little different and add a ruffle to the bottom.

Cut 3 or 4 strips of fabric off of the remaining pant legs. I cut mine at 2", but if you want a longer ruffle, of course cut a wider strip. I only used 3 of my strips, because it's a thicker material and not that easy to gather.


I opted to cut the thick seams out to make it easier on my sewing machine.


Sew together the individual strips into a tube about 1 1/2 to 2 times wider than your skirt. I went with 1 1/2. Hem if desired. Sew two lines of gathering stitches and gather the ruffle to the width of your skirt and pin and sew in place.


Ignore my awful manicure. ;)

Press the seam up, flip the skirt right side out and topstitch close to the seam to help the ruffle to lay down properly. With a material this thick, it will want to flip up otherwise.


And then you will have this:


I don't have a photo of anyone wearing it yet, but Miss I looked super cute in it and a hot pink halter top.

Since I don't have a picture of the new skirt, I'll leave you with some cute shots of Miss O modeling the original:

P6060014 P6060016

(That's her model walk. She's hilarious) (oh yeah, the skirt isn't that uneven, it's just how she's standing... I promise =) )

And Miss Z wanted in on the action and she's too cute to ignore:



Amanda said...

Love the new skirt with ruffle. You should make adult sizes. :-)

C said...

OMG -- this is great! I'm not the only freak (sorry, mean it as a compliment) that's re-constructing BDU and whatnot!
I DID make an adult version out of pants -- even older than 7 years -- and everyone asks where I got it.
I LOVE the ruffle -- I hemmed and haw'd (snort) about purchasing some eyelet in OD but your ruffle is perfect!

Anonymous said...

Just ran across this and it perfect. BFF is getting married and having a deer camp wedding and has asked all the guest to wear camo. This is perfect for my 4year old to wear. Now to go down
to the basement and find my husbands old BDU's I know they are down there someplace