Hot! The “Bandanarama” Skirt

The Facts

Fabric: six 1970s vintage handkerchiefs + scrap corduroy (both stash)
Pattern: None
Year: 2012 does the 1970s
Notions: 7″ zipper and hook & eye (stash)
Time to complete: 2+ hours
First worn: Jan. 7, 2012
Wear again?: I think so!
Total Price: FREE

So, I didn’t think I could come up with anything to do for the first challenge and I was focused on next week’s challenge, busily pinning pattern pieces and cutting away. Then it occurred to me that I had six deadstock 1970s bandanas sitting in my drawers. I got them free from a friend who was passing them on (they were also free to her, the poor, unloved things) and had the idea to someday make them into half aprons to sell on Etsy. “But why not put them all together and make a skirt?” I asked myself. After all, they are accessories. Plus I realized they matched a necklace that I stole years ago from my mother than is also from the 1970s. AND it wouldn’t have to be hemmed! Score.

I sliced off some edges, sewed everything into one long strip, got out the ruffler foot I’ve never actually used for a garment, broke a needle on the stupid thing, put a new needle in, ruffled the darn thing up, and found that it was still way too big. Bleh. So I ripped out the ruffles, set the foot to do a more dense ruffle, ruffled it up again, and this time it looked good. But what to do with the waistband? Enter the scrap brown corduroy I had almost thrown out a while back. A wide strip of that plus a stash zipper and a hook & eye finished it up. I put the zipper in by hand so I’d have a bit more control. All in all, I think it took two hours (not counting the technical difficulties with the ruffler foot). And the silly thing was totally free.

The skirt is shorter and poofier than I would normally wear (and dangerous to wear on a very windy day, as you can see), but I did hope that the Sew Weekly challenges might help me ease out of my comfort zone. Nothing like doing that right out of the gate.

These photos were graciously taken by my husband (who didn’t seem to mind the wind) in beautiful Bay City, Michigan, USA, when we were visiting my family for a late Christmas celebration this past weekend. There’s a lot of great orange brick downtown to set off this orange ensemble, including that great wall near my father’s classic car showroom, and at the venerable Sage Library (with its lovely one-armed mistress). That huge, white, egg-shaped thing is called The Friendship Shell, but everyone I know calls it The Toilet Bowl for its resemblance to a toilet seat. Bay City is nothing if not classy.


Erin Bartels

Erin is a copywriter by day, a novelist by night, and a wife, mother, dressmaker, quilter, zoo docent, painter, poet, and photographer in between. She only gets paid for the copywriting.


Comments are closed.

  1. I love the skirt and the photos. I thought the “huge, white, egg-shaped thing” represented the total price of the skirt – ZERO!

  2. Your skirt is adorable!

  3. Great idea and the colours in that wall set the skirt off beautifully.

  4. You MUST wear this skirt again – it’s fantastic! Wonderful job! :)

  5. I really like your skirt. I may have to copy you this spring.

  6. What a great idea for handkies! (I also think it looks like a toilet seat)

  7. That skirt is great!

  8. Push posh short, the length suits you very well! Love love love the design and color combos of this entire outfit!

  9. Pish posh too short! Love love love the design and colors of this outfit!

  10. It’s a great skirt! I love that you made it from the 1970s bandannas, and how great is it not to hem stuff? I love short cuts!

  11. The length look so good on you! Love the prints too :)

  12. I’ve made one of these and all the women I work with always remark about how they remember making bandanna skirts back in the day (1970s/1980s). I love the prints on yours :)

  13. Lovely and all from your stash! Brilliant!

  14. So cute! I love this! What a great idea!

  15. super cute – the bandannas were a great idea

  16. Brilliant use of 70s bandanas – they make one fabulous skirt.

  17. Love it! The photographs are beautiful as well :D

  18. The length is perfect on you and the whole look spot on! Love the windy shot.

  19. Cutey Cute Cute!! Love it!