Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Making modest clothing for Church camp

So THE GIRL is excited about attending church camp the last week in June.  She must be modestly dressed, and the attire does not allow for shorts.  Several other girls at church sport the cute (on young girls) pleated culottes. 
A friend offered me a garment to copy and I decided to make THE GIRL some for camp.

(This is my first sewing tutorial, please pardon me if I don't have exact info or forgot a pic or two--I will do better next time, pinky promise)

My daughter is a size 10/12.  She is a toothpick.  Her waist/hip measurements are 27"/30" and the length from waist to below knee I want is 28".
Current pair that we used for pattern
I added a few inches to the length in order to roll the hem under and be sure to have enough waist hem allowance.  I didn't realize it when I started, but this material frays and frays and frays...

There are 7 pieces for this pattern. (Unless you can cut the legs on the fold line--which I couldn't due to the fabric lines i chose)

The legs are almost a rectangle, so measured how far from waist to below the knee I wanted (don't forget to include the waistband in this total--i forgot to)

So if you wanted the total length from waistband to below knee to be 30 inches (includes 2 inches for elastic and hem), then the length of your fabric needs to be 22 inches. (Waistband described later is 8 inches)
<------------width 30 inches-------->

I cut the width of the leg from inner thigh to outer thigh measuring 30 inches (THE GIRL's widest measurement of her bottom half.) Cut 2 if you are able to place on fold or cut 4 if you cannot place on fold.
Then for the inner thigh area, in the shape of a J, I measure 3 inches inside of the outside edge and then about 10 inches from the top of the J to the curve.

The next piece is the dropped waistband.
Pay no attention to my inches.  I had this on the fold for the length to end up being 34 inches.   I thought I might need extra wiggle room (hem, seams, etc.) but alas, it's a little big.  Only add about 1 inch to your widest measurement.
Waistband should be about 8 inches from top of waist to where it meets skirt to accommodate your elastic casing that you will have to sew.

Onto sewing:
**If you cut 4 leg pieces, sew 2 J's of the legs together. 
*If you cut 2 pieces, when you open your material from the fold, sew the 2 separate pieces together at the J.

(In order to help curve the seam, cut a notch in the corner of the curve of the J and be sure to sew that really well.)

Once your J's are sewn together, you should have a J on either side of your material.

Next, if you turn your material over, you will be able to sew the inside of the legs together as a straight seam.

Next, start your pleats.  I started 4 inches from the J and sewed the front and back together down to about 2 inches.  I did this for both sides of the J's.
And then my BELT broke.  *SIGH* Off to Jo Ann's for another one.
Got the belt, replaced it and onto finishing the pattern.

I am sure there is a math equation, but like all other projects I do, I guess and adjust.  Insert the amount of pleats (for her it was about 1/2 inch pleat x 5 per leg, front and back)

I had to remove the pins once to match up the length.  Face your pleats toward the inside of the garment.
(I added the waistband with my pleats in this picture)  Sew your pleats all around.
The material I used was a little sheer, so i planned to fold my waistband over to give it more substance. 

Once you have your pleats finished, match your waistband to the pleats, right side to right side and sew.
I made THE GIRL try it on to see if it would work so far. (I hate ripping out)  At this point, one side of my doubled waistband is sewn to the inside of the legs. If you don't have to double yours, skip ahead to *.
If doubling waistband, turn garment right side out, fold over the waistband and pin to the front, about 1/4 inch below the sewn pleat line.
Sew the front of the waistband to the pleated portion.
* Time to get out your elastic and cut to desired length.  Fold over the top of the waistband to give you about 1/4 inch+ elastic width wiggle room for your elastic.

Sew, being sure to stop about 1 inch before you close up the waistband.  You need to be able to insert the elastic.  I use the safety pin at the end and pull through method.

Hem the bottom of the legs.  Cut any stray strings you might have missed.  Have your garment tried on for fit. 


Doesn't she look adorable?  And it looks like a skirt with the freedom of shorts. 

----> If I didn't make this clear, please feel free to comment and I can try and explain with any further pictures. 

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. These look great!

  2. They turned out great. I'm following you from Fingerprints on the Fridge. Would love to have you link this up at my {wow me} wednesday link up party going on over on my blog right now. :)