i first discovered you & mie via the project run & play flickr group during week 2 of my season. cherie sewed this awesome boy outfit, won the sewalong that week, and i was an immediate fan. week after week, she just kept making really cool stuff (like this mini hippie outfit and this color blocked coat) and i was so surprised to see she had only been blogging for a few months! she’s already guest posting all over town (including here!) and her totoro costume is quite popular on pinterest (she just sewed mei-chan for this season’s PR&P sewalong!). this girl is going places, i tell ya. you may recall i actually MET cherie when i visited san francisco last month, and she’s a super fun gal in person too. she just has a knack for sewing – almost never uses a pattern and already shares tutorials like a champ! she’s got crazy talent.
cherie has sewn a wonderful historically-inspired jumper for her little gal today with a tutorial for you!
Hello vintage lovers! It’s amazing what Kristin and Jess have put together here and I’m so honored to be a part of it! I must have run through 50 ideas for what vintage-inspired creation I wanted to share with you before deciding on something – the possibilities are endless! I decided to go through some old family photos to see if I could find some inspiration there and I saw a particular style pop up a few times in my mom’s childhood photos from Japan in the 1950s.
(LEFT: My mom, standing in front, with her two brothers and mother RIGHT: My mom, center, my grandmother, upper left and their neighbors)
(My mom, lower right, with her brothers and uncle)
I loved the simple and classic style of the jumpers my mom and her neighbor are wearing in these pictures. So I created a suspender skirt for my daughter and I’ve got a tutorial so you can make one too!
It’s got a bit of a school uniform vibe, but it’s still cute enough to be worn anywhere. It’s a simple high waisted pleated skirt with a flat front and elastic in the back. The buttons in the front are just for fun and completely optional. The suspender straps are sewn in the front and adjustable in the back for longer wear. You could easily use this technique to attach straps to any style skirt, pair of shorts or pants. If you want to make the straps completely removable, you can follow the directions for the back of the skirt in the front, and then the skirt can be worn alone or with the suspenders. So many options!
Ok, let’s get started. You’ll need:
- Fabric (about a yard, depending on the size)
- Contrasting fabric for pockets (optional)
- Buttons 2-4
- 1″ wide elastic and safety pin
- Sewing essentials
*I used a 1/2 seam allowance, unless stated otherwise.
Measure your kid’s “waist.” I say “waist” because it depends on where you want the skirt to sit. My skirt is so high up it’s practically her chest measurement! Your skirt pieces will be the “waist” measurement by the desired length of the skirt and you’ll need two. So I cut 2 rectangles that were 18 x 12 inches.
You’ll also need 4 pocket pieces. I just drew a pattern freehand in what I thought was a “pocket-like” shape. Make sure to cut two and then flip the pattern over for the other two.
For the waistband, cut a long rectangle that is the “waist” measurement times 1.5, then add a few inches for good measure. So I multiplied 18 x 1.5 = 27, plus a few inches – I probably cut mine at 32 inches (I always cut waaay more than I need then trim later). The height is 4 inches.
For the suspenders, you’ll need to measure your child from the “waist,” up over the shoulder across the back (remember the straps will criss-cross in the back) and then add about 6 inches to this measurement. The height is 3 inches and you’ll need 2. So I had two strips that were 3 x 20.
I hope I haven’t lost you already! Here are my cut pieces, note that the waistband and straps are folded up in this picture.
Working on the right side of one of your skirt pieces, we’ll make some pleats. We basically want to get this piece of fabric to be half of the waist measurement, plus one inch. So I need my 18 inch wide fabric down to 10 inches. The size and amount of pleats will depend on the size of your skirt and how you want it to look. Mark the center of the fabric and then two equidistant marks on either side of the center.
Fold the fabric on the marks toward the center and pin.
Add more pleats on either side, playing around with the size until your skirt piece the right size. Press your pleats, pin, sew them down using a 1/4 inch seam allowance and press again.
Place two pocket pieces right sides together on your skirt front. Sew down the straight edges of the pockets. Repeat for the back.
Press the pocket pieces open. Lay the skirt pieces down right sides together lining up one side and pocket piece. The back skirt piece will still be much larger than the front, so just do one side at a time. Sew them together using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, then trim and finish the edges by serging or zig zag stitching.
Flip the skirt right side out and press.
Put the skirt aside while we prepare the suspenders. Fold the strips in half lengthwise with right sides together and press. Sew down the length of the strip and down one end. This will give you one closed end, but leave the other open. Trim the corner.
Turn the strip right side out using a pointy object to poke the corners out. Press the strap flat and top stitch around 3 sides, leaving one end open. Repeat with the other strap.
Now for the waistband. You’ll want it to be the same measurement around as your skirt. Lay your skirt down (the front and back will not line up, but that’s ok), and lay your waistband down folded in half (right sides together) with one side lined up and mark the other edge of the skirt. Add 1/2 an inch to that and mark again.
Cut the extra fabric off, pin and sew along the line to create a loop.
Press the seam open and fold the bottom of the band to meet the top. One edge of the loop should be raw and the other folded. Press the fold.
Open up the waistband and pin one raw edge to the top of the skirt, lining up the seam with the one of the side seams of the skirt. Sew the skirt and waistband together all the way around with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Make sure the pleats are laying nice and flat.
Flip the waistband up and press. Fold the top of the waistband down towards the wrong side 1/2 inch. When the waistband is folded down it should just barely cover the stitching at the bottom of the waistband.
Fold the waistband down and pin in place. We’re going to make the casing for the back of the skirt first, so starting at one side seam top stitch along the back of the skirt just above the seam. Make sure the inside of the waistband is being caught in your stitching. Stop at the other side seam.
Cut a piece of elastic that is half of the “waist” measurement. My waist measurement was 18, so I cut a piece of elastic 9 inches long. I don’t add more for seam allowance because I like my elastic to have a bit of pull.
Using a safety pin, thread your elastic through the casing. Before the end of the elastic is about to be pulled completely into the casing, sew up the waistband along the same line as the skirt’s side seam catching about a 1/2 inch of the elastic. Continue pulling the elastic through until it’s about 1/2 an inch past the other side seam. Top stitch the waist band vertically along the skirt side seam.
Flip your skirt inside out and slide your suspenders into the waistband by about 1/2 an inch. Pin in place.
Carefully turn the skirt right-side out. Top stitch just above the seam where the skirt meets the waistband. Flip the suspenders up and top stitch along the front of the waistband just below the top.
Almost done! Hand sew buttons into the back of the skirt catching only the inside of the waist band (not the elastic or the outside of the skirt).
Mark on the straps where you want the button holes to be. I made a few on each strap so I could adjust the length of the suspenders.
Hem the bottom, sew buttons on the front if you want and you’re done!
I played around with two different lengths in these pictures. High waisted and HIGHER waisted.
Maybe too high?
Thank you so much for letting me share this tutorial with you today! I’m still new to writing tutorials, so if you have any questions or think a part needs some clarification, please let me know – I’d be happy to help! If you’re interested in the pink top my daughter is wearing, stop by my blog tomorrow for a little how-to on this remix of the Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress.
Thanks for having me, Kristin! I’ve got vintage fever now!
isn’t her little yuki just so squeezable? i’m not sure i can handle it! thanks so much, cherie!