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How to make a retro skirt that you and your daughter will love

and you will get fantastic compliments for your sewing skills.

I just love this design which must date from the 1950's or 1960's. The design just sings retro goodness. A simple gathered checkered skirt with the paper dolls as a border, so simple, so cute.

I came across the design going through old knitting patterns of my mothers. I recall this pattern featuring as a border on a dress I wore at primary school.

Immediately I knew that I wanted to make a fabric border with it for a skirt or dress with this pattern.

The design pattern is called Paper Dolls as the boy and girl are linked by their hands, like paper doll cut outs.

 The paper doll design is really effective and easy to create, using faux embroidery (drawing with a fabric marker pen) although you can embroider this with embroidery floss as well.

If used on a gingham/vichy fabric this pattern does not need tracing, so its just so easy to get going and create something unique.

I have drawn on fabric for a while so  I guess I have some expertise in the area. One thing that may strike you as funny is why use cross stitch. (I have used it on all my faux embroidery designs so far).

Cross stitch adds to the authenticity or faux "ness" of the design, which wouldn't happen if you were just drawing lines.

People get horribly nervous about drawing and drawing lines in particular. Cross are so achievable, especially if they have been penciled in before inking. With a cross,  you can't really muck that up. 

Any mistake, is not really noticeable.

This pattern is transferred on to fabric using the count method. So readers will realise they don't need a design pattern.  

If you are using the design as a border, count a couple of rows up (say an 1") to leaving room for a hem or seam, and start with the left hand of one doll. 

You want to count up from the bottom foot position to where the first hand starts. 
Draw 4 crosses going up and diagonally for the hand and arm,
 2 crosses horizontally for the chest, 
one neck, 
2 crosses for other side of chest and 
one for arm. 

Then draw doll neck and head and body. 
Link the second doll by start at the hand. 
Go up three crosses only (gives a total of 4 if you count the cross that both dolls share) and draw in the same way as shown in the pattern below.

Although you don't need an embroidery hoop to ink this pattern, it is highly recommended. A hoop makes the inking easier and your work more even. If you don't use a hoop, ensure that you have a piece of paper or cardboard under your work as the marker will come through the fabric to the other side.

Fabric markers

I prefer to just use the black marker and I use a Sharpie fine point permanent marker. The sharpie black permanent marker has always been colour fast on fabric. The other colours in the permanent range have not and are not, as far as I am aware. So if you want to use anything other than the black you will need to buy a  fabric makers. There are lot of there for sale and its a matter of trying them out.

Just be sure to consider the colour that you are working on. Say for example a light blue background, may not show a yellow up effectively and an orange may appear brown rather than the orange you imagined.

Most inks will need to be ironed to set and left to dry completely over approximately a week before washing.

Setting out your pattern on Gingham/Vichy Fabric

Gingham or Vichy, can be large checks or small checks. On the smaller checks I have just applied by crosses to the white squares, on the larger yellow check, I have used every square. By using different sized gingham and using different combination of squares will alter the size of your pattern.

I have the paper dolls design and skirt making instructions on ETSY for $2.99 cents. The skirt is a very basic pattern of 2 rectangles, some gathering if that option wanted and an elastic casing. But the result is a really cute skirt.

Tops to go with this skirt