Tutorial – Junior Bossa Nova

Remember this skirt?  And that souricette 1 wanted one just like it?  And that I made one and promised a tutorial?  I wanted to publish this on Wednesday but I’m having such a hard time with the images.  I’ve never enjoyed messing with the computer to get the images I want.  I’d rather be sewing.  I should take a class or something…

What you’ll need :

  • large paper or muslin to draw the pattern
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • french curve (not necessary)
  • about 40″ of 44″ wide fabric (more or less depending on the length of the skirt); I used quilting cotton but this would be really lovely in a fabric with more drape to it
  • 3/4″ elastic (enough to go around the child’s waist)

Drafting the pattern

This skirt will have 6 identical panels as opposed to the 8 on the adult version.  I added plenty of wearing ease to the skirt.  Souricette 1 has a 20″ waist and I decided each panel would be 4.5″ wide.  That’s a full 27″ around!  Then she indicated that she wanted the skirt to be about 17″ long.

So here’s a crappy drawing of the pattern before any curves are added in. I color coded the lines to help with instructions.

Black line: at the top of your paper, measure the waist measurement (4.5″).  Then add the seam allowance on either side (0.5″) to get your total width (5.5″).

Green lines: draw two perpendicular lines from there.  They should be the length between waist and hips (3.75″) + enough length for the elastic casing (1.25″).

Blue line: from the center, make a line downwards as long as you want the skirt (17″) + the elastic casing length (1.25″) + the hem allowance at the bottom (0.5″).  I rounded that measurement up to 19″.  It’s a very fudgeable pattern!

Purple line: draw a line at the bottom, perpendicular to the center line.  I made mine 11″.  That makes the skirt bottom 60″ all around.  If you want it wider than that, you might have to consider rounding the bottom of the skirt.  At 11″ the angles disappeared once I hemmed the bottom.

Yellow line: draw a straight line from the hips to the bottom.

Now, you need to curve that little angle at the hip to smooth the line.  That’s where you would use the french curve if you have one.  Like this.

And if you don’t have a french curve, that’s okay.  It’s not a big curve as you can see and you can certainly freehand it.  It’s likely to be much better than the orange line here:

Cut it out and you have your pattern!  I actually folded mine along the center before cutting to make sure both sides were perfectly symmetrical. I then made two extra copies.

Sewing up the skirt

Cut out 6 skirt panels from the pattern you made.  I like to fold the fabric in half with selvedges aligned so that cutting out my three panel pieces gives me the 6 panels.  Here’s how I laid out the pattern on 44″ wide quilting cotton.

Sew the panels together with a french seam.  You could do a regular seam and then finish the seam allowance but I just really like the look of the french seam on this skirt.  Below is the skirt before doing that last french seam.  You can see the little angle at the bottom between the panels.  It isn’t much and will disappear during hemming.

For the elastic casing, press down 1/4″ at the top of the skirt and then another 1″.  Stitch the seam at 7/8″ from the top so that you catch the fold, making sure to leave about 2″ open to insert the elastic.

Insert the elastic and sew it into a loop.  Then finish stitching the casing down.

For the hem, if you have a rolled hem foot, now’s the time to break it out!  I used my 1/4″ foot to make the hem.  If you don’t have a rolled hem foot, press the bottom up 1/4″ and then again 1/4″ and topstitch it down.  Or hand sew it.

Voilà!  Easy swishy skirt for the little girl in your life!

Creative mommy at home to two wonderful little girls, trying to juggle family, sewing, exercise, family, knitting, photography, and did I mention family?

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Posted in Tutorials
One comment on “Tutorial – Junior Bossa Nova
  1. […] of our skirts, she picked fabric that I have actually used to make us skirts.  This one for me and this one for her. For our tops and souricette 2′s dress she just picked whatever pleased her. I used […]


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