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Monday, May 30, 2011

The Candy Striper Skirt Tutorial

Hi friends! Guess what? I'm officially 20 weeks pregnant so i'm halfway done! Yay!

However that also means that i'm getting to the point where i'm so pregnant that things aren't fitting me again. On top of that it's getting really hot in Atlanta. Like really hot. So I decided I needed a new skirt that would fit my lumpy hot mess of a body for the summer and i've been wanting to use this stripe fabric for a while.

Thus the Candy Striper Skirt was born...also known as the "i am so pregnant that nothing fits unless it has tons and tons of stretch" skirt....if you prefer. It's got a shirred panel at the top so it grows comfortably with you and it can be worn at any place on you (although I have to admit that it looks terrible right below my belly on me, but i'm sure it would look cuter on you!)

You will need:
1.5-2 yards of fabric depending on your size. (I'm a large so I used about 1 3/4 yards)
Elastic thread
Tape measure
Disappearing marker
A straight edge for cutting (optional)

So I found it was helpful to have a skirt that already fits well on hand to reference, but it's optional because you're already covering that base when you measure your waist, but that's why i have a random skirt in the picture if you were wondering! 

Now take your measuring tape and measure around the widest part you will wear the skirt. If you are pregnant like me, measure around your baby bump. If you think you just want to wear it at your hips, measure there. You will need your band that length around plus about another 6 inches. If you are not pregnant, you probably only need to add about another 3 or 4 inches. Just keep in mind it will shrink up when you shirr it.

Now decide how tall you want your shirred waistband to be. Like I said, I'm at the part of my pregnancy where I only get bigger so I wanted it nice and tall to go over my bump. Mine is 6 inches tall. Mark on your fabric where you want to cut (my line is purple but kinda hard to see)

Cut out your top panel piece. Because mine was my waist plus 6 inches, I needed a little extra fabric to add on to my panel to get it comfortably around my bump. Once sewn together, my strip was 6 inches tall and about 50 inches long. 

 If you have to cut an extra strip to add in, sew that onto your piece now with right sides facing so you have one long strip for your waistband.

 Grab your long strip and hem it by folding it over, ironing and folding it over again and sewing it down. It's way easier to hem now than after you've shirred it!

 Now we are going to create our shirring lines. Since my piece was 6 inches tall, I decided to do a line every inch so I had 6 shirred lines. I used a yardstick (a straightedge, book, something else straight will work just as well). Make sure you draw your lines down the right side of the fabric so that your matching thread will be on top and your elastic bobbin will be on the bottom.

 I used my disappearing marker to make the lines. They're purple. Can you see them? Look really closely! If not, trust me they're there! ;)

 Now it's time to grab your elastic thread. If you are not familiar with shirring, there's a great tutorial at Prudent Baby here. Drop your elastic bobbin in and load the color thread you want to show on the front. 
 Now follow your drawn lines and shirr down your waistband. It seems tedious but it really doesn't take that long.

 This is what it looks like when you're done on the front.

 And the view from the back.

Now with your right sides together sew the ends of your waistband so that it becomes a tube. 

 Then go over it again with a tight zig zag stitch.

 You can leave the top just hemmed as we've done already so the top just ruffles. I thought it would be really cute, then I put in on and it wasn't on me. Once I realized it I folded the top down 1/2 an inch and hemmed it again.

 Now to cut the skirt. I've seen a few tutorials tell you to make your skirt 1.5 to 2 times the size of your waist. I found that this made me look like a tent. I found the best solution was to measure your widest part (in my case my hips) and divide that number by 2 and add 3 inches.

For example: If my hips were 32 inches around (hahaha!!!) I would cut 2 pieces that are 19 inches long. You can make them as long as you want your skirt. I used my brown skirt as a length measurement because I liked where it hit. Mine was around 25 inches long.

So fold your fabric in half and cut a rectangle your hips divided by 2 + 3 inches and however long you want it. You should have 2 rectangles.

Place your rectangles right sides together and sew down both sides, making it into a tube. 

 Hem the bottom by folding it over once, ironing and then folding over again and sewing down. Or if you're lazy like me fold it over, sew it then fold it over again and sew it again.

Now we are going to attach the skirt to the waistband. Measure your finished waistband and your finished skirt portion. You're going to want to gather your skirt slightly to fit it to the waistband. 

 Set your machine to the longest running straight stitch and sew around the skirt portion. Leave the strings long so you can gather them.

Pull the strings to gather the top up a bit until it's about the same size as your waistband.  

 Lay your skirt down right side up (wrong sides facing) and slide your waistband over the top of the skirt with your unfinished edges together and the right side of your waistband facing the right side of your skirt.

 Pin around the top edge.

Now sew along the top edge, removing the pins as you go. 

Go over where you stitched again with a tight zig-zag stitch to finish the edges. Trim the excess.

 Now flip that waistband back up and you're ready to go!

 It can be worn comfortably over your growing belly


Or you can wear it up high! Whichever you prefer! Whether pregnant or not, this will be a very comfortable skirt.

Thanks for reading! As always, let me know if you have any questions! Hope you have a wonderful week!


  1. Very cute! I remember being that pregnant! So not fun finding clothes to fit. It looks adorable on you.

  2. You look great! What a good idea to make your own prego skirts, how have you been feeling? Miss You!!

  3. Hey Taylor! This skirt is adorable and I can't believe your 20, well I guess 21 weeks pregnant now! You have such a pretty pregnant glow in these pictures! We miss you guys and can't wait to see you in a few months! I hope everything is going great!