Wednesday, September 3, 2014

AFRICAN PLEATED SKIRT DIY


It’s funny how words can transport one back in time.  The words “Out of Africa” remind me of a day in the mid-80s when, as a child in Cape Town, I was dragged to a store by the same name to buy my first African printed skirts and dresses.  Even in racially charged apartheid South Africa, the film “Out of Africa” (which starred Robert Redford and Meryl Streep) encouraged a romanticization of all things African.  While the film is deeply problematic in its portrayal of African people, the store “Out of Africa” introduced me to the beautiful designs of my continent.

It would take nearly thirty years before I would fully appreciate African fabrics again in all their colourful, sometimes psychedelic glory.  On my last trip to Cape Town I decided to stock up on a few West African wax prints and South African shweshwe.  At $2 - 5 a yard, I am still kicking myself for not filling a suitcase with fantastic fabric!  


Of course, a short pleated skirt may not be Fall-appropriate everywhere, but here in San Diego we have been experiencing near 100F weather.  This, coupled with the fact that our home has no air conditioner, encouraged me to make use of some of my African print fabric.  The top was made using my wrap crop top pattern. 

Materials:
1.5 – 2 yards of fabric (here’s a link to sellers of African fabric on Etsy)
Matching thread
9” invisible zipper
Interfacing (optional)
Sewing machine
Pins
Ruler
Chalk
Scissors


Method:
1] Decide how long you would like your skirt and add 1.5” for seam allowance.  Cut fabric to desired length.  I wanted my skirt to end mid-thigh, so cut my fabric at 17.5”.
2] For the waistband, cut a 4” strip of fabric to fit your waist + 2” seam allowance.

3] Mark and pin the pleats.  Baste the pleats into place along the waistline.

4] Fold the waistband in half and iron.
5] Fold all raw edges of the waistband ½” towards the center of fabric and iron in place.  If you're using a soft fabric, I suggest using some interfacing to prevent the waistband from collapsing.
6] Sandwich the top of the skirt between the waistband.  Pin and sew in place.

7] Insert the invisible zipper.  I found this Youtube video on how to insert an invisible zipper pretty handy.
8] Finish sewing the side seam, making sure to secure the base of the zipper.
9] Hem your skirt.


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Happy sewing!  Till next time. Nicole.

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