Make a “Rara” Skirt, perfect for the under 8s!

With the addition of fabulous $14m fabrics to our offerings in our shops, I wanted to pass on some simple project ideas. Using other simple products we sell.

First up: the Rara skirt. This is a term coined in the 1980s for a simple, gathered skirt with an elasticated waist. The fun part that makes it a RARA skirt is the waistband elastic. We have 50mm coloured elastics in many bright colours. Today’s example uses the turquoise.

1 You need:

– a full width of craft cotton, as long as the finished skirt plus about 5cm,

-a length of 50mm elastic about the same length as the waist of the wearer-to-be, minus about 2cm;

– thread

– a small piece of 16mm ribbon or tape.

Fold your fabric into quarters, not including the selvedge, like in the photo below (folded back to show you the layers)


Make a small snip out of the folded corners on each side:4

Open the fabric out, and you will see the little snips marking your fabric into quarters.


collage8Sew your width of fabric, right sides together, just inside the selvedge line. Open the seam out and press. The selvedges give you a nice strong seam with no fraying, yay!

Along the unsnipped edge, press a little bit of the raw edge under (about 5mm to 1cm) all the way around. Then fold THAT under again about 15m to 2cm and press all the way around. This will be the hem.

9 10

Sew the hem all the way around like shown below.


  Now it’s time to do the waistband. Overlap the cut ends of the elastic about 1cm and sew together using a zigzag or wavy stitch: 13

This is what the wave stitch looks like – it may be a zig zag but with three stitches going one way then the other instead of one. These stitches are brilliant for darning and joining elastic like this:


Next we’re covering up all that cut edge with a tape. Cut a piece of tape 13cm long, wrap it around the cut edge bits and sew it down as shown below:



21Wrap the rest of the tape around to cover the raw bits, tuck the end under, and sew through all layers, all the way around. This seals everything up. when I did this I didn’t quite catch one edge of the tape on the other side, so I just went over it. Big deal!

22 Now you need to pin the elastic at every quarter – I took a pic of this but it is so blurry I’ve had to skip it. So first, fold the band with the tape at one end, and pin the other. Then fold it like in the pic, lining up the pin and the tape, and put a pin in each end fold. Tada, you have marked the quarters!

Now, we’re pinning the skirt to the waistband. Turn the skirt inside out, and match up the snips with the pins, but starting with lining up the skirt seam with the tape! See how I am pinning it just a few mms away from one edge of the elastic waistband.


24Now the fun part! You may want to put a few more pins in, by stretching the elastic and pinning the fabric to it evenly. Now sew it, stretching the elastic as much as you can. Always stretch from both back and front, taking care not to put too much strain on the needle. It’s a technique that once you nail it, it is really easy. If the elastic won’t stretch enough for the fabric to flatten out, put a few pleats into it.

26Here is the skirt sewn on and flipped over. See how the inside bottom edge of the elastic waistband is hiding the raw edge of the skirt? Now we’re going to sew  the waistband again to catch that raw edge between two rows of stitching.

Using the same stretch and sew technique only on the right side this time, and to the left of the first stitching, sew again. This stitching needs to be about 1cm away from the first, but still going through the elastic on the underside.

2834 30Here’s the inside of the finished skirt, and on the right is the outside.

I hope that all made sense! The sample is in the shop so do have a close up look. This project cost about $15 altogether, and takes about an hour, but once you get the hang of it you could make them much quicker than that!

Add pockets, frills, layers, trims – the possibilities are only limited by imagination – and the taste of the wearer to be, of course!

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