I love sewing pretty things in the springtime, and this year I have fallen in love with Amy Butler’s wonderful Barcelona Skirt pattern that my friend Holly sent me as a surprise gift. I just finished my seventh Barcelona skirt, in the green leaf & dot print from Denyse Schmidt’s Flea Market Fancy reprint, and wanted to share some quick tips on sewing my new favorite pattern – plus, here’s how to make a super-simple little-girl skirt to coordinate with yours!
Amy’s Barcelona skirt pattern instructions are clear, detailed, and thorough, and I followed them exactly the first time to make a fully lined skirt (except that I made mine 24″ long instead of the 27″ that her original skirt design measured in my size). I loved her lined version, but thought I’d also like to make a lighter spring- and summer-weight skirt with no lining – which halves the fabric requirements, for good measure. So I made a few tweaks to the waistband to add elastic and zig-zag stitching for shaping and stability, and really liked the results! I just wear a vintage half-slip under it if I’m wearing tights. Follow Amy’s instructions throughout, of course, but If you’d like to make yours a casual spring skirt like this one, here are my tips for adapting the wonderful original Barcelona to a one-layer version.
My first tip to make an unlined version of the skirt is to stitch your Coats invisible zipper in a bit lower than usual (as shown here). This leaves space for a simple double-folded waistband a few steps later.
I joined my skirt sides with French seams, my favorite way to finish them! Here’s a preview of what my version of the waistband looks like.
To make an elastic waistband like this, fold and press the top raw edges of the skirt down about 1/4 to 3/8 inch, all the way around the waistband. Fold and press once more to create a double fold, catching and folding the top edges of the zipper tape inside, above the zipper head. Now pin a length of 3/8″ wide flat elastic inside the fold, pulling it slightly as you go so it gathers. Pin the elastic all the way around the waistband and trim the edges if they stick out.
Now, sew the waistband with a large zig-zag stitch all the way around to finish it, catching the elastic in the stitching and gently stretching it as you go. On my machine, I sewed my zig-zag at width setting 4 and length setting 1.5, but you can experiment with a scrap of fabric and elastic to see what works best for you. Back-stitch at the beginning and end of the waistband (as shown here). Press the waistband neatly. This is certainly a casual approach to finishing the waist, but it fits nicely and smoothly on and I like the look of the zig-zag stitching.
Hem the skirt as you’d like. I used another simple double-fold hem, and as a bonus got to show off the pretty printed selvage of my fabric on the seam at the back of the skirt, just above it!
My last tip is to copy your Barcelona pattern onto sturdier paper. Around the time I was cutting out my fourth skirt, I realized my precious original pattern was starting to get pin-holed and fragile, so I quickly traced it onto semi-opaque dot pattern paper and transferred the marks. Now I have an evergreen version to tuck back into the pattern envelope!
If you have a little girl in your life, you might want to whip up a quick and easy a-line skirt for her, too! I made my brand-new five-year-old daughter Pearl a skirt in one of her (and my) favorite prints, Mind’s Eye from Anna Maria Horner’s Field Study collection. I shared a complete tutorial for making this kid’s skirt on my blog, West Coast Crafty, if you’d like to check it out over there.
And of course I showed off the printed selvage for her skirt’s back seam, too!
I’m so happy to have a colorful set of new, pretty skirts for us to wear!
Our next skirts will definitely be in Denyse Schmidt’s diagonal plaid from Shelburne Falls – I love both these colorways! What are you excited about sewing for spring?