November 09, 2012

How to Sew a Sparkle Running Skirt (super cute, easy, and cheap!)






As promised, here is the running skirt tutorial. I explained it the best I could, so I hope it's clear enough!

This tutorial is written for a skirt to fit my size--my hips (where I wear the skirt) are 35", which equates to 29" unstretched elastic. To make it bigger, add approximately two inches of fabric for every one inch of elastic. (It doesn't have to be exact). The waist band will be very stretchy, so the measurement doesn't have to be perfect.

The finished skirt will be 11 inches long. If you want it longer, just measure down farther from the sparkle line (I measured 12 inches down, but just add however many inches you want to add to the length of the skirt).

Each skirt will only cost roughly $5-10 to make.

Materials:
  • 1.5 yards of fabric (you CAN buy 3/4 of a yard and cut it in half, then sew the pieces together--you will have two seams instead of one); 1.5 yards will yield 2 skirts. I will explain this better at the very end of the tutorial.
  • 3/4" elastic, 30 inches long
  • Thread
  • Scissors, straight pins, a safety pin, and a tape measure

This is 1.5 yards of fabric folded in half lengthwise. Just ignore the bottom piece for now. If you want, you can make a second skirt out of it.



The edge of the fabric looks like this (the sparkles start a couple of inches from the raw edge). This will become the waistband of the skirt.




Starting at the sparkle line, measure 12 inches down (vertically). Do that across the entire length of the fabric, and mark it with pins or a fabric marker. (If you want your skirt longer or shorter, you can adjust the length by adding or subtracting from the 12 inches)




I didn't explain that very well on the photo, so here is a drawing. You'll cut along that dotted line where you've measured 12 inches.




Cut across the length of fabric at that line (the first dotted line in the sketch above). Be careful to cut through just one layer of the fabric, so that you can use the bottom layer for another skirt. After cutting, the fabric will be 1.5 yards long and about 14 inches tall (the 12 inches of sparkles plus the raw edge).













Fold the raw edge down toward the inside of the skirt, so that the top of the skirt is where the sparkle line starts. Pin down the raw edge inside of the skirt.




OR--if you want the inside to look nicer, instead of leaving the edge raw, you can tuck the raw edge under by 1/4 to 1/2 inch and pin it that way (see photo below). It'll look neater on the inside, but it's kind of a pain to do it that way and nobody is going to see it anyway! (I was making this skirt for someone else, so I folded it under, but on my own skirts, I just leave it raw)







Now it's time to sew. Sew along the edge you pinned, leaving 3/4 inch from the sparkle line fold. Make sure you leave a couple of inches open at the end, so you can insert the elastic. You will sew it closed later.




Cut your piece of elastic so it's 30 inches long. (If you are making a larger or smaller skirt, add an extra inch or so to the measurement because you will overlap it a little when you sew it together.)






Attach a safety pin to one edge of the elastic. This will help you guide the elastic through the tunnel you just made.











If the elastic fits well, then line up the edges of the elastic like this. Make sure it's not twisted!




Sew the elastic together--I like to sew it in a square, like the photo below, to really reinforce it.




Then tuck it into the skirt and give it a stretch so that it falls into place inside of the tunnel.  When it's inside of the tunnel, sew the gap shut.




Now, the elastic is loose inside of the skirt. Stretch the elastic as far as the fabric will allow (gently, though!) to even out the fabric along the skirt. When you let go of the stretch, the gather of fabric should be nice and even.




This next part is the most difficult to do. Just take your time. You're going to sew through the fabric and the elastic, while stretching the elastic, around the entire skirt.

Line up the edge of the fabric under the needle of the machine to sew it along the top of the skirt. Before you start sewing, use both hands to stretch the elastic while you sew. If you don't hold the stretch while you sew, the elastic won't stretch without breaking the thread when you're done.




The fabric will be pulled taut, because you're stretching the elastic out while you sew. If you don't stretch it out while sewing, the elastic will be sewn in a way that it won't stretch any more without breaking the thread holding it together. You may need to ask someone to give you an extra hand for this part.






The next part is optional. You can leave the bottom edge of the skirt as it is (raw along the cut line)--I actually prefer it this way. Or, for a neater edge, you can sew a hem.

To do that, fold the raw bottom edge up 1/2 inch, and then another 1/2 inch, so it looks like the photo below. Pin it like that around the entire skirt, and then sew.

And there you have it! A cute sparkle skirt :)  (You'll definitely want to wear something under it, haha)





Now, about buying half the amount of fabric...

I've always bought 1.5 yards of fabric for my skirts (which makes two), but you can also buy half the amount you need. Here is what it looks like when you lay it out, unfolded:




So if you buy less (we'll say 3/4 in this example), here is what it looks like:




Cut along the center fold line, and you will have two identical pieces of fabric. Then you will line up the short edges and sew them with right sides together, like this:




Then just follow the tutorial as if this were one piece of fabric.


44 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tutorial. I've linked your blog to my faves list on my blog-- I hope that's OK. You are a HUGE inspiration to me as I finally lose the baby weight and get back into running. Let me know if you don't like having your blog linked. Thanks!

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    1. Of course! I'm flattered that you enjoy my blog enough to include it on your list :)

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  2. I love it! I'm just getting into sewing and now I've got my next project! Thanks!

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    1. Just let me warn you, this fabric is NOT fun to work with! So if you get frustrated, just put it aside and work on something else until you feel like going back to it. I've been sewing since I was a kid, and I still got annoyed working with this stuff!

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  3. The skirt is so cute. If I ran, I'd definitely make me one. But I don't think I need one for my walking! Plus I'm pretty old--and somethings us 60+'ers just can't pull off. My son thinks I should buy some fancy cowboy boots to wear on my Today Show appearance but I don't think so....

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  4. What type of sewing machine do you have and do you recommend it?

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    1. It's a Singer 5825C--I got it about nine years ago, when I was pregnant with Noah. I'm not sure if they even still make that model anymore, but I love it! It does all the basics--I didn't need the bells and whistles of a touch screen, embroidery, etc. My mom has a Singer as well, and it has to be at least 35 years old. It still works perfectly :) Singer is a great brand for a sewing machine!

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  5. Katie! You rock the sparkle skirts! I am hoping that you will some day just start selling them because as crafty as I try to be, the sewing machine and I are not friends. Congrats on getting down to your goal weight!

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    1. I would get super bored making them over and over again--but if you're serious, and you want one, e-mail me :)

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  6. Thanks very much for the tutorial Katie! I've got a 5 mile "Rudolph Race" coming up on 9th December, so will be making one of these skirts to wear for that (in addition to my antlers!).

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  7. I need to get my sewing machine out of the basement, bring it to the shop and get it tuned up. I haven't used it in at least 10 years and I could be making my curtains if I figured out how to use it!

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  8. That's so nice of you to post this for us! It looked very time consuming for you. So thank you :) you look fab in your 2 months photo by the way! So so good.

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  9. YES! Thank you! I run my first 5K on Turkey Day AND I'm picking up my first sewing machine tonight at 5.

    This skirt will help me with my issue of people being able to see my thighs jiggling during a public run. It'll do wonders for my self-esteem. Thank you!!!

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  10. Oh goodness! That took a lot of work to put together for us. I'm exhausted reading it. Can you just make me one? I'll pay you. ;-)

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  11. I made these quick and easy (especially for someone who sews rarely) for my young teen and preteen to run their first 5K on Thanksgiving with the rest of the family. They loved them and felt so special having a sparkle running skirt. Thank you for inspiring me.

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  12. I made your skirt for my Jingle Bell run this Sunday and I love it! Thank you so much for posting. I was going to make 2 skirts with it but I'm going to have to wait awhile...this fabric is a real pain to work with; my thread just didn't want to sew it together right. Thanks for sharing!!

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  13. I have a friend running the Princess Half at Disney in a couple of weeks and she has a gold skirt to wear and I was looking at it thinking "I could make one of these" so my Google search led me here and it's just what I needed! Green sparkle skirts are in my future for a Get Lucky run in March.

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  14. Katie! I am trying to make this for a race I am running for a friend's birthday... any idea what types of stitching you used for this fabric?! The sewing machine isn't happy!! I love it, though! Thanks!

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    1. Hmmm, I'm not sure what the problem is. The fabric definitely isn't easy to work with! But I didn't use any special stitching. I do have a heavy duty needle on my machine, since I work with denim a lot (it's a denim needle); so maybe that would help?

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    2. I'll try that next, thanks for the idea!

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  15. Hi, I used this tutorial to make a skirt for my first half-marathon which was The 2013 Disney Princess. My skirt was awesome and the race went great. Thanks so much for taking the time to share this with other runners. It was very easy to make and I am a beginner at sewing.

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  16. Katie,
    I wanted to let you know I posted a link to this blog post in my blog. Thanks for posting such great instructions. http://backofthestampede.blogspot.com/2013/04/week-14-round-up-or-week-i-outed-my-blog.html

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  17. Hi, thank you for this tutorial! I just found it! I tried to make a pink one but I messed up on the part of pulling the elastic while you sew. Didn't quite come out as it should have. Now a side of it looks funny. :) I'll have to try again.

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  18. My skirt didn't turn out. Its my own fault for not measuring properly :-/

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  19. where did you get the fabric? I am wanting to make a cape out of it.

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  20. I am going to be making a snow white costume and want to make a cape out of the sparkle material. Where did you get it from?

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    1. I bought it at Hobby Lobby, but you can get the fabric pretty much anywhere that sells fabric! :)

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  21. I love this skirt! Did you have trouble with the fabric "gumming" your needle? I'm reading online that its a problem and am just worried about ruining my machine!

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    1. Thanks! Yes, the needle got a little "gummy" on the needle, so I wiped it off every once in a while. But it won't ruin your machine--worst case scenario, you might break a needle!

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  22. AnonymousMay 14, 2014

    Thanks for the tutorial!! I made this skirt in blue for a super hero run. I used a ball point needle and had no trouble with the needle gumming.

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  23. Thank you! I'm heading straight to the sewing store to buy fabric and start working on my Halloween costume (that I can wear to exercise class)!

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  24. what type of needle did you use for this fabric?

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    1. I'm not sure of the specifics, but I used the smallest needle I had on hand. I didn't have any problems with it.

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  25. Hey there! Thanks for posting this tutorial- I'm just about finished with my first ever sparkle skirt. I ran into issues with my needle gumming up and the thread not catching correctly and jamming up my machine. I searched online and found a couple of useful tips- swipe the needle with rubbing alcohol to remove any gunk. I also found laying wax paper on top of the fabric (directly under the footer) eliminated any issues with the thread not catching properly. Thanks again for this helpful post! I've enjoyed reading through the rest of your blog, too. You're very inspirational!

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  26. AnonymousJuly 01, 2015

    I can and will measure my hips..just curious, if this is you in the photo...what size do you typically wear. I would probably order a small if I purchased a skirt. But I would use the same fabric cut if you are a small as well.

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    1. In this photo, I was a comfortable size 4 jeans. If buying small/med/large sizes, it would have been a small. Hope that helps! :)

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  27. I know this is an old post so not sure if you're reading comments still - just had a question about the stretching elastic and sewing part of it. When I tried that, the fabric goes taut as you said, so it ended up being all bunched up at the very end. I'm a newbie sewer so have no clue what I'm doing, but the rest of it turned out great! Thanks to the person who posted about the wax paper - at first I didn't use it and the thread wouldn't catch, but once I layered wax paper on it sewed like a breeze. Anyway, if you have tips on keeping the fabric gathered while sewing/stretching the elastic, please share! Thank you!! :)

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    1. I'm not sure I fully understand, but you do want the fabric to gather so that it "ruffles". If the fabric alines with the elastic exactly, then the skirt will be too small. The fabric should be much longer than the elastic. You can pin it in a few places so that it stays evenly distributed along the elastic--which will prevent it from having a bunch of it leftover at the end. Maybe that's what you're referring to? I would pin it in about 4 places (each side, and front and back). Then make sure you're pulling the elastic so that it's as long as the fabric when you sew. It will gather nice and evenly. Hopefully that helps!

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    2. Thanks for the quick response. Yes, it's getting the "ruffles" to stay there while stretching the elastic that's the problem. When I stretch the elastic, the fabric stretches along with it if that makes sense? I think I need a video or something. :) I may search YouTube! I will try the pinning thing, too. Thanks.

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  28. I know this is an old post so not sure if you're reading comments still - just had a question about the stretching elastic and sewing part of it. When I tried that, the fabric goes taut as you said, so it ended up being all bunched up at the very end. I'm a newbie sewer so have no clue what I'm doing, but the rest of it turned out great! Thanks to the person who posted about the wax paper - at first I didn't use it and the thread wouldn't catch, but once I layered wax paper on it sewed like a breeze. Anyway, if you have tips on keeping the fabric gathered while sewing/stretching the elastic, please share! Thank you!! :)

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  29. A good friend and I are about to register for the Disney Princess half marathon. Last year we spent a fortune on costumes from Etsy. I love supporting small businesses, but it's so hard to justify spending $125+ on a costume that (a) I'm going to run in and get all sweaty, and (b) that I'm only going to wear once or twice. This year, I bought a Cricut secondhand and dug up this tutorial (I remembered reading it a while back!) and we're going to make our own! I'm going to be Anna and she's going to be Elsa.

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    1. Awesome!!! Make sure you send me some pictures when you are done. I would love to see them!

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