Sewing is a wonderful pastime I have enjoyed since childhood. I have learned to produce different types of clothing without using patterns. My family could not afford the expensive tissue patterns of the day. I paid attention to clothing in the store and noticed that many things were put together with the same techniques.
From the first time I laid a shirt on the floor and traced it on newspaper to create my own pattern, I learned to sew without one. I took old shirts that still fit apart to learn collars, plackets and more. I applied what I learned to the fabrics and patterns I had in front of me; my skills improved with each garment. I was in high school before I took my first formal sewing class. The teacher told me my skills were far more advanced than the rest. I told her I was there to learn to use a sewing machine because I had never sewn with one before. I had always sewn by hand. She let me stay in the class.
I would like to share a few of my favorite patternless skirts with you. They are easy. By reading about each type of skirt, you will know what you need. If you know how to sew, chances are you have most if not all of what you need already. If not, there are classes, books and online sites to choose from. Learn from a friend in exchange for something he or she needs.
As beautiful today as they were in the 70’s, these skirts are wonderfully easy to make. You can layer several sheer scarves, use sturdy scarves or anything you like. Measure your waist and record the measurement. Divide your waist measurement by four and add enough for seams.
I like to hold a scarf up to my waist and see where I would like the point and side seam to fall. I’ll mark this on the scarf on both sides. On the table, I’ll make the measurements match. I’ll use these measurements to cut the top corners of my scarves. I’ll almost always cut all my scarves at the same time.
I’ll sew the side seams together; some of my scarf skirts have zippers in a back seam, waistband or casing for gathers. The points that I cut out can become flowers, pockets or other embellishments. I’ll also insert pockets at the side seams.
A little eyelet slip showing at the bottom when I walk is planned and easy to do.
This layered skirt is almost too easy. There is no reason to buy a pattern. Again, you can use a waistband and zipper, buttons for closure or use a gathered waistband.
Measure around your waist and add fifteen inches. Measure the length you want your skirt to be. Divide by the number of layers you want in your skirt. To the width, add enough for sewing seams all the way around.
For each consecutive layer, add two-thirds of the measurement to the previous one. Sew a gathering seam and ease it onto the previous layer.
This skirt can be very heavy if done with sturdy fabrics. To wash, place in the washing machine. To dry, straighten the skirt and gather it in your hands. It should be compressed into a tube-like shape. Place a stocking over it and hang it to dry in a warm place. The dryer will melt the stocking. I like to wrap mine in muslin and put it in the dryer. The wrinkles will set- this is what you want.
Divide your waist measurements by the number of panels you want. Add enough to the results for side seams. You can again use waistbands or gathers for the waist. Close the skirt with buttons, zipper or other closure you would like to have.
Decide how wide your skirt will be at the bottom. Divide the measurement among the panels like you did your waist. Draw your panels on pattern paper. You will need to curve the waist to fit around you. Make a test skirt from extra fabric. Make any adjustments to your test skirt and transfer the markings to your pattern. Make another test (you can dismantle the first and remake it with different colored markings or disappearing fabric ink to save money) and adjust if necessary.
- · You can add pockets, insert hidden pockets, belt loops and hand made belts or embellish your skirts to create a wardrobe without a lot of expense.
- · With each new pattern piece you create, label it and add it to your pattern envelope. You can use a mailing envelope to hold your pattern pieces. You can use “my design #1,” as an example of your own pattern numbers.
Since I shop a lot at flea markets, garage sales and thrift stores, I pick up a lot of fabrics for very little money. I have created spring skirt wardrobes for myself and friends for years. Everyone thinks I buy new (wink, wink).
Source: The author of this article has over 40 years of experience in diverse forms of DIY, home improvement and repair, crafting, designing, and building furniture, outdoor projects, RV’ing and more.