In my English school textbook, there was this story of a little girl who wanted to go to a party but did not have the money to buy a good dress. Her mother who was a seamstress sew thousands of small scraps together to make a new dress for her. That story with the wonderful backdrop of love and frugality has stayed with me all through the years of sewing and reading a thousand other books – I remembered this again when I started to make the gypsy skirt.
The Gypsies of Europe, North America, and Asia are distinguished by their special way of clothing – layers and layers of colored fabric are a constant feature of all their clothes. The ankle length or longer voluminous Gypsy skirts are the same – colourful, feminine, altogether bohemian. Check out this related post on the 15 aspects of Bohemian clothing
Method 1 Easy Jean Gypsy skirt
If you have old jeans (or an old Jean skirt ) which fits well on the waist but is too short to wear, it is calling for a refashion.
The first step to make a gypsy skirt like this is to cut out the jeans or skirt just past the front fly. Attach a lining fabric skirt as a base to attach the fabric scraps that make up the skirt.
You can cut a fabric piece of length equalling your hip round plus 3 inches and width equalling measure from your hip to the knee plus 1 inch for seam allowance. Join the short edges to form the tube.
Cut out the fabric scraps ( the drapy flowy chiffons or organzas are the best) of the following dimension with A- B as the length you need ( measure from hip to the length you want – this plus 1 inch seam allowance is A-B)
You will need enough pieces to go around the lining skirt you have. I took A-B as 18 for a small size ; If you want longer skirt simply increase the length of the piece
Join the fabric scrap by the sides.
Baste stitch this to the lining skirt. Attach to the skirt
Method 2 Make a tiered Gypsy skirt from fabric scraps
To make the fabric scrap gypsy skirt ( very similar to a ruffled petticoat skirt) first you need to join all the fabric scraps you have into a big piece of fabric 45 inches wide and as long as you want
I have a short 25-inch skirt here and so used only 2 tiers for the skirt in addition to the waist portion. For this, a medium frilly gypsy skirt, you need about 2 meters or more of the joined fabric patchwork piece for a skirt – You have to add more tiers for more length and calculate yardage accordingly. You need a lot of sewing to do.
Cut out 6 panels of the following dimensions.
First join 2 panels by the short edges to make a tube. Then join the remaining 4 to make another tube. If you want a longer skirt make another tier by joining 8 panels together.
Gather the top edge of all tiers. To gather the fabric easily , keep a piece of thin cord over the edge of the fabric where you want to gather it. Sew a wide zig-zag stitch over the cord so that you are passing over the cord, not stitching through it. At no point should you catch the cord in your stitching? After stitching is over, gather the fabric easily by pulling at this cord. Keep aside
Cut out 2 pieces of fabric with the following dimensions. This is for top tier (waistband) of your gypsy skirt.
Join the two fabric pieces by the short edges to make a tube. Cut out 3/4 ” elastic measuring your waist round. Join the elastic to make a tube
Make the waistband – Turn under the top edge of your fabric first 1/4 inch and then 1 inch. Keep the elastic tube inside the turned under edge and stitch as you turn under the edge. Adjust fabric as you stitch. This way make the waistband of your skirt.
Stitch the first gathered tier to the waistband tier – keep the edges, rightsides together and stitch them together ; the gathered tier should be on top so that you can adjust the gathers as you sew.
Gather and Join the next layer also, the same way. If you want a lengthier skirt, continue assembling more tiers, and sewing them to the previous tier.
Hem the bottom edge. There you have it – frilly Gypsy Skirt.
Here is a very Informative read on the Gypsies and the Gypsy Clothing