The drawstring skirt is about the easiest thing in the world to make, so it’s a great starting point for building up your “sewing without a pattern” confidence. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the least flattering skirts to wear. It will pass for an underskirt, and it’s good if you’re in a hurry or sewing for children. (You might, however, have to explain the idea of drawstrings to the child repeatedly, as I found out during Oliver! – children have grown up in some sort of “all elastic, all the time” universe and are confounded by clothing that needs periodic adjustments. “My skirt fit yesterday and today it falls off.” “Did you tie the drawstring?” “Yes.” “Tight?” “Yes!” “Really?” “Um….”)
In addition to all your normal sewing stuff, you should have a large, blunt tipped need available, or a really enormous shoe-lace. Here we go!
Those numbers are for human sizes, btw. For a doll, you only need to add a half inch to the Waist to Ground measurement. (I’ve cut two panels, even though I’m working with a doll. I’m not entirely sure why I’m choosing to sew more seams than I have to, but it does make it easier to see that there’s a front and a back, I guess.)
I should note something here: selvedge edges sometimes shrink at a different rate to the rest of the fabric in the wash. Some people choose to cut them off rather than use them for this reason. I find that with a plain weave cotton broadcloth, it’s usually not a problem, so I leave them because that’s one less place I have to sew. With something complicated, like a brocade, it’s generally best to avoid them. You shouldn’t be making a skirt like this out of brocade anyway. It will look a mess. Plain-weave cotton, like broadcloth or calico, is definitely your best bet on a drawstring skirt. If you’re planning on going to a ren faire, try to avoid anything with little flowers or patterns on it. Trust me – you’ll end up looking sort of “little renaissance festival on the prairie”. Even if your fest is on a prairie, it’s just not right.
Hand bound eyelets, through a fabric this thin, take about a minute each once you learn how to do them. They look nifty, and they stand up to a lot of strain. You can learn how to make them by following the Skills links at the top of the article.
Yay! You’re done! Well, that is, if you have a one panel skirt with selvedge at the bottom, you’re done because that selvedge is your hem. If you couldn’t get away with that trick, you’ll need to add a hem. The bare minimum you can do is to run a zig-zag stitch over the edge, as we did for the waist casing. Personally, I’d recommend a turned hem – it’s a really good skill to learn anyway, and it’s not too traumatizing. ;)