Christmas Refashion: Gathered Skirts (tutorial)

It all started with this beautiful Christmas tablecloth I found at my Nanna’s house. I knew instantly that I’d use it to make outfits for my girls for Christmas. Tablecloths may never be used on tables. They are just way too impractical…and slightly dangerous with young children around!

Here is a close-up of the motif:


My original plan was to make circle skirts,  but the tablecloth had a beautiful scalloped edge that I wasn’t ready to part with – and couldn’t be bothered recreating! So I went with the easier option of a gathered skirt with an enclosed elastic waist.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2cm width Elastic (slightly less than the waist measurement)
  • Fabric (rectangle = 2xwaist measurement x length of skirt)
  • Safety Pin
  • Thread, pins and all the usual stuff

What You’ll Need to Do:

  1. First thing to do it cut your fabric. It will be a big rectangle: the long side will be 2 x waist measurement and the shorter side will be the desired length of the skirt. Don’t forget to add seam allowances.
  2. You’ll need to finish the raw edges. I’ve used my ever-so-trusty overlocker. Do the longer edge first followed by the two shorter sides which need to be individually. You may or may not need to finish the lower edge, I didn’t because of the scalloping.
  3. Once you’ve tidied up your edges, it’s time to add that centre back seam. It’s important to start from the lower edge of the skirt if you don’t plan on hemming. This is the bit that will be seen and needs to line up perfectly. Sew up to 1 inch away from the top. Then put a single stitch in the top. The opening here is so that the elastic can be threaded through.
    side trim
  4. Fold the top edge over 1 inch (less or more depending on the width of your elastic). Iron down and then sew making sure you’ve left enough room for your elastic to sit flat.
  5. Once that’s done you can give your skirt another iron. I didn’t because ironing is for wimps! Then it’s elastic threading time. Would you believe that this is the first time I’ve EVER had to thread elastic?! I normally sew the casing around the elastic. Now that I know it’s so simple I’ll be doing it this way from now on. So if you’re like me and never done this before, all you need to do is take a safety pin and pin it to one end of your elastic. If you have another safety pin it’s a good idea to pin the other end of the elastic to your skirt so it doesn’t disappear into the skirt! I hunted far and wide and could only find 1 pin which I found after 2 failed attempts with a paper clip – it doesn’t work people! Anyway, back to the story, then you just thread the elastic through by stuffing (technical term there) the casing over the safety pin and then pulling it over the elastic. When it comes out the other end you just need to sew the two ends together and then stretch out the skirt so that the casing eats the rest of the elastic.
  6. Adjust your gathers and you’re done!


I made two, one for each of my girls. I bought each of them a cute purple top with a sequin star to wear with their skirts! Very Christmassy indeed! Now I’ve only got one more easy peasy Christmas project to go and I’m all done! How is everyone else going with their Christmas sewing?


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