Jul. 2012 25

High-Low Dress

Every now and again I feel like I need to make trendier things. I get stuck in the habit of dressing for work and sometimes forget to try something new. I was sitting on my studio floor one day looking through all the fabric I have (I tend to hoard a bit) and I found this African inspired fabric that I had bought a few months back. It has a great brown and white print and had strips of a yellow/green color down each edge. I bought it having no idea what I wanted to use it for. I feel the need to mention that I had just come off of a 3 week break from sewing, which I had taken because of a complete lack of inspiration. So while sitting on the floor I decided I just needed to jump into something. I picked the high-low skirt trend because it’s something I haven’t done before.

As I go through this tutorial, I’m going to tell you what I should have done rather than what I did. I wish I would have cut the skirt a bit differently, so you get to benefit from my mistakes. Also, you’ll need a good amount of fabric, I think I have 2 or 3 yards, and I wish I had had more. Anyways, enough chitchat, on with the tutorials!


1. Take a favorite t-shirt and trace the out, adding 1/2” seam allowance. You may want to bring in the shoulders a little. Trace down to where your natural waist is, plus 1”


2. Sew together at shoulder and side seams

3. Roll neck and armhole seams and use a zigzag or lightning bolt stitch to finish. Set aside

4. Measure your natural waist and subtract 1”. Cut 2 strips of fabric that length by 3” wide. Cut 1 piece of elastic to this length

5. Attach both strips to the top of the dress. Use a zigzag or lightning bolt stitch, that way the seam will still stretch when you wear it.

***If you don’t want a full skirt, use your natural waist instead of your hips for this next step***

6. Take your hips measurement and divide by 6.28. This is your inner radius.

7. To find the front length: Measure from your waist to the length you want and add 1.5”. If you want a band around the edge like I have, don’t add the 1.5”. This is your front length. For the back length, measure from your waist to the low length (about mid-calf) and add 1.5”. Again, if you want a band, don’t add.

8. Add your inner radius times 2 with your front length and back length. This is the totally measurement for your skirt. It’s just a reference really, but it will let you know how much yardage you need.

9. Fold your fabric in half long ways. Now we are going to make reference marks to make our lives easier: Mark the very front of the skirt, measure up the Front Length and mark. Then the radius and mark, then the radius again. Then the back length, mark.

10. From the mark in between the 2 radius marks: make a circle with the inner radius.

11. Measure out about 45 degrees, from the front mark use the front length measurement to make an arch out to the 45 degree point.

12. From that point you are going to make an egg shape and connected to the back length.

13. Attach the skit to the waist band, ruffle in excess. Leave a small opening in the back. Work the elastic through this opening. Once all the way through, sew the ends of the elastic together, then finish attaching the skirt to the bodice.

14. If you wanted a band at the bottom: Cut long strips out 4” wide, sew pieces together to get enough length. Fold strips in half. Attach to hem of skirt, cut off excess or surge.

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