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Today’s post is the second in our Shelter-in-Place Sewing series! With fabric stores closed and folks staying home as much as possible, we are turning to creative sources of fabric and inspiration! (Last week, I made a shirt from tea towels! Find that post here.) Today’s subject is a sheet- a basic, flat, full-sized bed sheet! You may have an extra unmatched sheet at home, or may find an inexpensive one online or at a store that’s still open, like Target or Walmart. Mine happens to be tie dyed (you shouldn’t be surprised), but you could use a colored, printed, or white sheet! (Heck, if you don’t like the color that much, dye it later!) The only supplies you should need are the sheet, thread, possibly a hook and eye fastener, and basic sewing supplies. I used a sewing machine, but you could do this by hand considering the amount of time on you may have right now! 😉
I started by trimming off the top border and bottom hem of the sheet.
I was careful to avoid cutting the stitching holding the hem in place.
The top border would become the waistband of the skirt, while the bottom hem would be the drawstring to cinch the waist. But, more of that soon…
Next, I folded my sheet in half lengthwise, then folded about a third of that over on itself. In this picture, there is a fold at the top and the left side of the fabric.
I used a favorite skirt as a rough pattern. The yardstick shows how much wider and longer I cut the fabric compared to the skirt. I wanted a ball-gown-shaped maxi skirt, so I planned to gather the extra fabric to the waistband for added fullness. The picture at the left shows the cut out skirt, with the top fold trimmed off.
After unfolding, I had two sort of pyramid shapes of fabric. I pinned the sides closed and sewed them up. (You will see in a following step how I wished I had left a few inches un-sewn on one side…)
Next, I turned my attention to the top-border of the sheet which was my new waistband.
I wrapped it around my waist to find a comfortable length. As you can see from the blue and red pins in the picture, I then added about 6 extra inches to allow the waist to open and close easily with a drawstring. (I later found that I only needed about 3 inches extra.) The extra 2 inches between the red and yellow pins show the fabric needed for finishing the edges of the waistband.
To make my life significantly easier, I folded the skirt and waistband in halves and then quarters, marking these places with disappearing pen.
Time to gather the skirt! On first the front panel and then the back panel of the skirt, I sewed two rows of VERY large stitches about a quarter of an inch away from each other. I left the ends of the thread unsecured and trailing.
Tug on the thread of the lower stitches, and viola gathers!
I briefly stopped gathering to include an optional extra. I decided to open a few inches of the side seam to make the skirt easier to put on. (This would have been more helpful had I not made the waistband much bigger than needed.) I opened the side seam several inches using my seam ripper.
I then cut a rectangle of extra fabric a little shorter than the hole and several inches wide. I pinned it to the seam and sewed.
Here’s that little flap after it was sewn in. You could hem its edges and the raw edge left in the skirt if you want.
After that detour, it was time to keep gathering that skirt to the waistband. I matched up the previously-made-markings and pinned those spots together. I tightened or loosened the gathers in the skirt until each skirt section matched its corresponding section of waistband. You can see in the picture that I had gone a little gather-happy and needed to loosen those gathers a bit!
Here’s what it looks like with a whole bunch o’ pins in place!
… and here’s what the waistband looks like after stitching!
Another optional step! I folded the inside seam of the waistband/skirt down towards the bottom of the skirt and top stitched from the outside to make it all lie flatter. Not necessarily needed or particularly useful, but that’s what I did! 😉
We’re almost done! Time to roll the raw edges of the waistband opening under and stitch to secure. I was careful NOT to sew that waistband tube closed, though!
Remember that bottom hem that we cut off from the sheet? I pinned a safety pin to one end of the hem and use the pin to help thread the hem through the tube of the waistband.
The hem thus became a drawstring to cinch the waistband closed and tie it in place.
After trying the skirt on, I marked my desired hem length. I didn’t need to cut off any fabric and just folded the bottom edge of the skirt over twice, pinned it in place, and sewed it down.
And there’s the finished skirt!!
I took my sheet skirt on a shelter-in-place-approved walk!
I like the swishy, ball-gown style of the skirt paired with it’s super casual fabric.
I might add a hook and eye to help keep the side opening of the skirt closed, although I’m glad for the little flap covering part of the gap. I would also make the waistband smaller so less cinching is needed.
And there’s our Shelter-in-Place-Sheet-Skirt! 🙂 Hope you all are taking good care of yourselves and are staying creative! Stay tuned for next week’s post. It may involve pillow cases…