Pintuck a Ruffle
The hem on this skirt may look like pleats, but the effect is made with pintucks. Sewing the pintucks takes a little more time, but I love the effect. To make this skirt you can start with a straight or A-line skirt pattern and cut it so the lower edge (before adding the ruffle) ends above the knee. This keeps the skirt flat over the tummy and the hips and still allows for walking room. Then make the ruffle section as deep as you like for added length and fullness. The finished ruffle on my skirt is just shy of 9 inches, about 1/3 the total length of the skirt, which is a good balanced proportion. To add interest at the hemline, I stop the tucks a few inches from the hemline and that's what really gives it the ruffled look.
Fabric I've used silk jersey and wool jersey for this technique and it works beautifully with knits. But for the skirt in this post I used "quilter's cotton." It's the perfect fabric for easy summer garments and the prints are so irresistible. (Check out my article on using quilting fabrics for garments in the SewStylish Spring 2011 issue, "Quilt-Fabric Fashion," if you want to learn more.)
Step-by-Step I'll talk about how to determine the length of the band in a moment, but first let's go over the process.
1. Cut the band the width desired plus a seam allowance at the top and a narrow hem allowance at the bottom. Keep in mind: If you cut the band across the width of the fabric, you'll need to seam 2 or more sections together to form a continuous strip and this is the way you should cut a knit in order for the stretch to be horizontal and not vertical. You can cut one long strip along the lengthwise grain for most wovens – but this generally takes a lot more fabric.
2. Mark the placement for the tucks on the right side of the fabric with an erasable marker. First draw a horizontal line 3 to 4-inches up from the hemline. Draw vertical lines for each tuck connecting the top edge of the band to the horizontal line.