How to make a simple gathered skirt (and hijab with underscarf)

I made this for my daughter, for Eid. Eid al-Adha is the celebration of the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son. We celebrate a lot like Christians celebrate Christmas- we exchange gifts, eat special food, spend time with family, and go to the mosque to pray.

Naturally, I wanted my daughter to have something special to wear, but I don’t like the clothing available at our local halal market, because it’s very bright colored (think…orange), and because all of the children end up wearing the same thing (like Walmart). So I decided to make her an outfit!

The outfit is comprised of four components. First and foremost is the skirt and shirt. This type of assembly can be appreciated by anyone whose daughter dresses modestly, and even for play costumes. Little girls love long cotton skirts, and these instructions will work on ANY fabric. That’s right- ANY fabric (provided it’s not see-through). I made my daughter one of these skirts out of jersey knit, brocade (above), and cotton.

I would recommend you buy the shirt- this one is from the Children’s Place. The reason being, shirts are complicated and often not worth the work or the cost of the fabric.

And the last components are an underscarf and a shayla (rectangular scarf). The shayla can also be worn as a “fashion” scarf for those who are not Muslim.

In order to determine how much fabric you’ll need, I recommend you measure a pair of pants. I folded my daughters pants in half vertically and measured the length from the top of the waist to the bottom. And for width, I recommend you add 4-6 inches to the waist measurement of where the child wears their pants. My daughter, for example, has a 27in waist, and I added four inches. I bought the fabric so that it was wide enough to be folded in half, creating a back and front. For the brocade, I made the bottom on the salvage edge of the fabric because it was decorative. Here is my end result:

Then sew up the side parallel to the fold. The fold shown here is on the bottom, so I sewed the edge that is shown on the top. Remember to fold with the RIGHT SIDES of the fabric together, so that your seam is on the inside.

At this stage, I recommend you hem the bottom of your skirt if you’re using a cotton or jersey fabric. For stretch fabrics, you will want to do ample pinning when turning your fabric edges under, and to keep it from stretching and distorting, you can pin and sew it onto tissue paper, and then rip the paper off.

The salvage edge of the brocade

You’ll want to turn your seam over just once on the top of the skirt. I then sewed it. You can turn it over and sew along, or pin it.

Next, I folded it over, leaving a large space for my elastic. You can place your elastic underneath the fabric to see how much you’ll need to leave. When you go to sew this, I begin at the seam on the side of the skirt, being careful to leave an opening large enough to feed the elastic through. Do not sew it all the way around.

Measure a piece of elastic that is about 2in or so shorter than the waist measurement, depending on how tightly you want the skirt to fit. Leave about an extra half inch on top of that to overlap it for sewing.

Once you’ve left space, you can feed the elastic through. Veterans to sewing can sew the elastic at the same time they turn the fabric over, but I don’t recommend this to people who are new at putting in elastic. To feed your elastic through, I put a clothespin on the end of the elastic so that I have something large to help me.

When you reach the end, you’ll want to slightly overlap the elastic, pin it in place, and then close up the hole you left.

Turn your skirt right side out and iron it!

For the underscarf, there are two options. The easiest option is to sew a tube underscarf from a stretchy fabric. Do this by measuring around the head and cutting a rectangle the same measurement. Then you can sew it, wrong sides together, up the side, to make a tube. Then hem the edges.

The harder option for fabrics that don’t stretch would be to cut a rectangular or triangle underscarf. First I hemmed the edges. Then I made ties by folding under some fabric.

For the shayla, I simply hemmed the edges of a rectangular piece of fabric!


One thought on “How to make a simple gathered skirt (and hijab with underscarf)

  1. Pingback: 2013 Gift Roundup | Kate's Apartmentsteading

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