Picnic Skirt

comments: 99


I finished my smocked skirt yesterday, stitching up the sides and hemming it, attaching a strip of bias tape to the waistline, adding a zipper. I'm very happy with it, though it's still too cold to wear, I think (in spite of camellia evidence).

This skirt is from a different Japanese craft book than the bag and the apron; this one is ISBN 4-277-31151-2. But basically, this skirt is simple — just measure your waist and cut two panels using that measurement as the width, one for front, one for back. Then smock them all the way across the top for about four inches; my pattern gathers the 1/4" gingham fabric to about half of what I started with, but it's not exact, so I made sure to remeasure each panel before stitching up the side seams and putting in the zipper.


Then I just zoomed around the top and attached a strip of purchased bias tape for the waist band. You could add a regular waistband here, too; that's how it was in the book. But I hate it when those things fold over (ahem) when I'm wearing them (ahem) so this little strip is fine. What I noticed when I tried it on is that it really had to fit kind of high on my waist to look right. I wound up having to take it in a little more before adding the bias tape to finish. It's not a hip-hugger skirt, it's more like a dancing skirt. It will also make your can look huge. Huger.


The embroidery across the bottom is a classic thing called Chicken Scratch you see on a lot of vintage gingham aprons and sundresses and stuff like that. It's just three strands of white floss, and straight stitches; to make what looks like white circles, you make sort of an open-cross shape with a white square in the middle, then go under each leg of the cross, around in a spiral, twice. For such a simple treatment, I think it looks so pretty. If you do this, I would definitely wait to do the embroidery until you are sure you've got the side seams right; since I had to take the skirt in further, after I put the zipper in (whoops), my embroidery is a bit off center. You can't really tell since it's all so gathered, but I'd do it differently next time. Welcome to Alicia's Smocking Blog! I know, right?


So cute! It's the perfect skirt for summer visits to Kruger's Farm!

Love it! It sparked my memory of a long skirt with smocked waist that I wore to our town's Wagon Train Parade in the 70's. Flashback! (Yours is nicer!)

Good grief! That's so cute!

Well, this is just adorable.

I like Alicia's Smocking Blog. :D

Andrea Hoover says: February 26, 2008 at 10:56 AM

I love the smocking blog!

Although I really love the baking blog and the Clover Meadow blog, and the writing-a-book blog, too.

This skirt is darling. I think I might have to try my hand at smocking... cuz I really need another project/craft/technique to obsess over.. NOT. But I'm going to try it anyway.

Just as soon as I finish my pleasant kitchen dish towels.

Alicia! The skirt is so cute! I'm still cranking away on my dishtowels, too. I even took them to knitting with me Sunday---the coffee bar we met in has super-good light. I want to make some coasters and potholders next, so I can practice binding the edges and mitering the corners. (I ended up buying Martha Stewart dishtowels so I wouldn't have to pay shipping, and the hems are actually nice.) We got tons of freezing rain in the Quad Cities over night, so it's a perfect day to stay home and stitch.

That is a very cute skirt! I love the embroidery on the bottom. I think my next apron might be gingham. :)

Way cute! Inspiring. Now daydreaming about cute summer skirts and hand knit cotton cardigans....

i love the embroidery at the bottom! that's really clever how the straight stitches work with the gingham pattern.

Well, that is probably the cutest skirt I've seen in awhile! Utterly gorgeous!

Too freakin' cute. I so love a good skirt. I don't need any help with can embiggening though, thanks.

I love that the smocking continues. Looking forward to more smocky song lyric titles! (Come on, you must have a few more for us!)

i love it! crap, now i need to make one....

very cute! i really like the embroidery.

Well, that's absolutely fantastic. Beautifully done! I got a slew of catalogs this afternoon in the mail and could not help but notice that many things are smocked this Spring....so Alicia, you are in STYLE!

You are so talented. I am super impressed with the embroidery on the bottom of the skirt. This is very sweet, I love it!!


Hey, what's goin' on with your door back there? Did you place pieces of fabric on it yourself? That is gorgeous and inspirational! I love it! If only I had a door in my craft/sewing room!

i love this smocking blog! what a sweet skirt, alicia. and i know you say the embroifery is simple but what an amazing detail.

high waists are not a friend of mine... it's like, *poof*, you instantly grew a dress size or two in the fanny... it's my biggest issue with the 80's style coming back. i'm sure you look lovely. yes, a dancing skirt indeed!

Bobbie Lynn Duran says: February 26, 2008 at 12:01 PM

You did a wonderful job on the skirt. The smocking and embroidery are absolutely beautiful.

Despite the enlarged can issue, the skirt sure is cute!

Love this skirt alot. Very good job and color:-). The last photo of the embroidery you did, we call that here "chicken scratch design" :-). I made a king size quilt with that design. Isn't it wonderful?. Thanks for sharing..
Have a great day!!!

great job! I love it. I might have to make a skirt.

eeeeGAD! Let the cutest picnic in the world
If you wear red sparkly shoes and have Clover meadow in your basket you'll be a shoe in for Dorothy in the Wizard of AHHHHHs!

Well, I'm easily confused, so please bear with me while I ask this question. You say:

"...just measure your waist and cut two panels using that measurement as the width, one for front, one for back...my pattern gathers the 1/4" gingham fabric to about half of what I started with"

Doesn't that mean it would only half-fit?

Oh so cute! I have to try this. Love the embroidery too.

Oh, I just love that skirt!! I want to make one now. Question: In the past I have had a problem finding 100% cotton gingham. It is usually 50/50. Where did you get yours and is it 100% cotton?

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.