Actually, the pattern isn’t as bad as it looks…it’s just cumbersome when you’re sewing all that material.
So here’s what the pattern piece looks like:
You will need to cut out 12 of them. This is word or two about choice of material. The material I eventually chose to use is a polyester tablecloth material…it came in 120 inch width, so I was thrilled. This choice came after I saw the price on it, which was reasonably inexpensive—which is a good thing. But, if I were to go back in time and speak with myself hemming-and-hahing in the fabric store, I would tell myself to walk away from that material and go and find a less-bouncy type of fabric…preferably, a “sheeting” or lightweight twill…this would be less bouncy and less susceptible to gravity/drag.
After you have cut out your 12 pieces, you are going to want to take your trusty ruler (quilting rulers are great for this!), and mark where you want your rows for your hoops. These lines will run parallel to the hem of your skirt.
The way to decide how many rows you are going need is entirely dependent on you. I have chosen 5 rows of hoop.
So, will need to measure the length of your pattern piece. It this case my pattern piece was 45 inches long….divided by 5…equals 9….I would have to make a line every 9 inches on the bad side of your fabric.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the marked fabric piece, but I do have picture of a section of the skirt.
Once you are done marking all 12 of your pieces….now you get to sew! From the back side of your fabric, the rows you have just drawn are easy way to match up your pieces. You can sew all 12 pieces together from top to bottom.
Once you have sewn all your pieces together you will be tempted to try in on around your waist and spin around your living room….go right ahead, we all do and no one is looking. I warn you though, without the hoops in it, your chances of tripping are very high.
The next step you with either have the experience or use the wonderful internet to look up some instructions, but I recommend this video:
You will need to create about 12 yards of bias-cut casing. To know the width of your casing, use the width of your hoop steel that you will be using, add ½ inch (a ¼ inch for each side of seam allowance), and then double it, then add a tad. So this sounds very vague, doesn’t it?…I’ll use my example….my hoop steel is ¾ inch wide, so if I add ½ inch it will equal 1 ¼ inch…then double it to equal 2 ½ inches…then add a tad….I made mine 3 inches wide.
Then you need to fold it in half and iron. After you have pressed it in half, you can finish off your cut edge with either a serger or a zigzag stitch.
A word about hoop steel: This being my first foray into making a hoop skirt, I searched the internet far and wide for ideas about what to use. If you have the resources and money to do it, the best bet is to buy authentic hoop steel from a costume supplier. I recommend http://farthingalescorsetmakingsupplies.com/ -I’ve used them before and they are very knowledgable and their prices aren’t ridiculous either.
I knew how much hoop steel I would have to invest in and I didn’t want o put that much money into something that might fail. I came up with a great alternative to buying official “hoop steel”—I went in search of steel strapping that is used as a packaging material. It is literally pennies a foot and since you need over 100 feet, it’s a great alternative. In my search I came across someone who gave me a mostly-full box for free…so I am extremely happy. I got ¾ inch, and if it wasn’t free I would have bought ½ instead….I think it’s most flexible and of course will weigh less.
Ok, go have a drink…you’ve earned one….then come back…this is an endurance test too.
Now is the fun part…and the part that will make you dizzy….sewing on the casing!
I started with the top of my skirt….if you sew casing around the unfinished edge of the skirt that will make your waistband to put elastic into later. At this point in time, I chose to put webbing loops on my waistband fora belt that was going wear to help hold up the skirt.
You’re going to want to start and begin your rows so that they line up together…it’s best that they start and stop at the same seam. I started at the bottom and worked my way up. When you get to where you started, you’re going to want to stop right up against the beginning. Do not overlap your casings –if you do overlap, if will cause you to make kinks in your hoop steel when you’re trying to feed it in…do not overlap.
Before you put in your hoops, it’s a good idea to put in your elastic into the waistband. I used non- twisting eleastic– you can tell it by the ridges….but it also doesn’t stretch as much as other elastic.
When you are done, you can “test your skirt” by putting in the hoop steel….I added about 2 extra feet when I was feeding my hoop steel….this will later allow you to adjust the hoops.
Ok, the moment you’ve all been waiting for….the semi-finished skirt! Feel free to prounce around now.