Monday, May 12, 2014

Flirting the Issue Sew-Along {cutting}

flirting.the issue.1
image by Anna Maria Horner
Let's get Started!  We're making skirts using Anna Maria Horner's free Flirting the Issue skirt pattern.  This skirt has an elasticized waist, so it's easy to fit and zipper-free.  Fits any size!

I've broken down the process into 3 days of action, starting today.  This skirt is definitely quick enough to make all in one sitting, if you prefer.  I'm breaking it down into mini-sessions because those seem easier to come by.

We'll finish up with a Link Party on Friday, with gift certificates going to two lucky participants.  Gift Certificates are donated by Fat Quarter Shop and Pink Chalk Fabrics.  Thanks for sponsoring our project!

::Materials::  May 2nd
::Cutting:: Today!
::First Steps::  May 13th
::Elastic/Hemming:: May 14th
::Link Party:: May 16th

My fabrics arrived.  Did yours?  I'm using a quilting cotton from the Meadow collection by Leah Duncan (shown left).  I'll be lining this skirt with cream muslin, purchased from my local sewing shop.  My voile is Mind's Eye in Tambourine by Anna Maria Horner with a coral voile lining (shown right). 

fabrics for our Skirt Sew-Along


Before you do anything else, pop your main fabric and lining in the washing machine for a light wash.  Use a little detergent so that this prewash will have the added benefit of removing fabric manufacturing and finishing chemicals.  The most important reason to machine wash and machine dry your fabrics is to induce shrinkage before cutting/sewing.  I don't usually prewash my fabrics for quilting, but with clothing shrinkage matters. Don't skip this step!


If you haven't done so already, please visit the blog of Anna Maria Horner to download her free pattern, Flirting the Issue.   You can find the pattern at the bottom of this post or on her Make page (which has lots of free patterns).  Save the pattern to your computer and/or print out pages 2-3 for your reference this week.

Read over the pattern to get an idea of where we're going.  In this sew-along I'll offer tips for the steps where you might do with a little extra help.


Grab that soft measuring tape!  Measure around your waist where you'd like the skirt to sit.  This is your Waist Measurement.  Next, measure how long you'd like the skirt to fall.  To do so, let the measuring tape hang from waist height.  If you're measuring yourself, try looking in a full length mirror with the tape hanging to determine ideal skirt length.  This is your Length Measurement.


Ok, so you have your Waist Measurement and your Length Measurement?  Good.  Now we can calculate how you should cut your fabrics.

Each skirt layer is made up of two large rectangles that connect along the short sides of the rectangles to form one tube (those connections are side seams).  Then the tube is gathered up at the waist.  That's it!  We're going to calculate what size rectangles you should cut based on your measurements.

Rectangle Length = Waist Measurement
Rectangle Height = Skirt Measurement + 1 Inch

Example:  If the waist measurement is 35" and skirt length is 18", rectangle size is 35" x 19".   You would cut (2) 35" x 19" rectangles in the main skirt fabric and (2) in the lining skirt fabric.

Notice that the skirt fabric is going to be twice the circumference of your waist and then gathered up.  This is a standard skirt gathering ratio. If you know that you'd like a fuller skirt, you could adjust by cutting rectangles that are wider than your waist measurement. 


Press prewashed fabric.  Remove fabric selvedges. 

Consider the width of your fabric.  If you are working with quilting cotton, it is probably about 42" wide after removing selvedges.  If your rectangle is supposed to be near 42" wide, you could leave it as wide as it is.  A few inches either smaller or bigger is not going to make much difference once the skirt is gathered.  Voiles are typically 52" wide after removing selvedges.

Cut (2) rectangles in main fabric and (2) rectangles in lining fabric.

Meadow by Leah Duncan

After cutting your main fabric and lining fabrics, you're all done for today.  Tomorrow we'll work on steps 1-3 in Anna Maria's pattern as we begin assembling the skirt!


  1. Thank you, Rachel - I totally forgot about prewashing!

  2. I 'd like to make one for my pregnant dtr-n-law & had in mind just using elastic thread to shirr the waste. Wonder how long a 32 yr old would want it?

    1. I think that depends so much on figure and style. I am 31 and 5' 4". I like something above the knee, so I'm going with an 18" skirt. I think taller ladies can pull off longer skirts better. Maybe that helps?

  3. Fun! I linked up your sew along here :)


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