Merry Christmas readers! Today we have the pleasure of a holiday visit from the AdultBeginner, author of my favorite blog for adult dancers. The Adult Beginner happens to be a master seamstress and has offered her expertise on the steps to creating one of those too-cute-for-words DIY skirts made famous by the students at the School of American Ballet. Quick shout-out to SG, the student that inspired this post. Enjoy this project over your holiday break!
Hello BalletScoop Readers! Guess what – the Adult Beginner had never even heard of an SAB skirt until Juliette asked me to do this tutorial. Can you believe? This is like the best skirt ever! No sewing, super-fast, and just look at how this skirt elongates the legs! Want to learn how to? Ok! Let’s do this thing!
Step 1. Select your fabric
You need one yard of a Four-Way Stretch fabric. “Four-way stretch” means the fabric stretches equally up, down, and side to side. Anything that does not stretch equally all four ways will hang funny and be difficult to pull on. Who needs that? Not you! I’m using a four-way Lycra miliskin that my husband picked up for me at the Michael Levine Loft in downtown Los Angeles. If you’re in LA, totally go there, they sell fabric By The Pound!!!
Step 2. Measure.
The skirt sits below the waist, about hip-bone level. This mannequin measures 30″. You may be bigger, I certainly am, but for sake of example we’re gonna roll with 30″.
Step 3. Do math!
Ok, the 30 inches we just measured is the waist of the skirt. However, the stretch fabric is sooo stretchy that we are going to subtract 10 inches, so the waist will really cling to you and not slip off mid pirouette. So that gives us a waist circumference of 20″.
And we all know circumference equals two times pi, times radius. Yes? Yes. Two times pi is 6.28. Divide 20″ by 6.28 and you get the radius of your waist circle, 3.18. Round down to 3″, as this is not rocket science.
Now, why do you need the radius? So you can make the bigger egg-shape that is your SAB skirt! As you can see in the little diagram there, mark a center point, three inches in every direction makes the circle of your waist, plus 12″ in the front, 10″ at the sides, 14″ at the back.
You can play with these lengths if you want a shorter or longer skirt, but keep the proportions: longest in back, medium at front, shortest at sides. This creates the egg shape that will make your legs look a million miles long.
Step 4. Lay out and cut.
Fold your fabric. Mark the waist circle, measure down the fold to mark the front, measure up the fold to mark the back, measure away from the fold to mark the side. I used black permanent marker to make it easy for you to see, but you should use something lighter, like chalk or pencil, so the marks don’t show through. Throw some pins in, cut the outer edge.
Step 5. Cut the waist.
Pretty self explanatory.
Step 6. Unfold
Once you cut, unpinned, and unfolded, your skirt is done! Here’s what it should look like flat.
Step 7. Put it on!
Omg beautiful!!!! And so easy!!!!
Extra Special Bonus!
Maybe you like a more finished look, and you’re not afraid of a little sewing? Here’s how to add a waistband:
The waistband will not stretch as much as the waist of the skirt, because it will be folded. So instead of 20″ to match the skirt waist, I cut this one 25″, plus 1/2″ seam allowance on each end, for a total of 26″ long by 6″ wide. Stitch the short ends together at 1/2″ seam allowance. Use a small straight stitch.
Fold the waistband. You will now have a ring with a folded edge at top, like the picture. Stretch the skirt onto the waistband, pin waistband in place. Stitch the waistband to the skirt with 1/2″ seam allowance. You are sewing three layers together here: the two layers of the folded waistband, and the one layer of the skirt. Use a zig-zag stitch. If you have an overlock, even better! Remember to place the waistband seam at the back.