FO: Tiered Denim Skirt

For my niece’s first birthday, I got it in my head that I wanted to knit her a skirt or jumper in denim yarn. Easy care, plus denim yarn is just SO cool (but really hurts my wrists to knit with)!

I poked around ravelry for ideas and inspiration and came across an adult pattern that was published in Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2006 [ravel it!]. I don’t have that magazine but I used the photos of the adult-sized projects to give me ideas for a baby-sized version.

denim skirt
denim skirt [flickr]

The skirt has a picot edged waistband, space for a drawstring/elastic, flares out extremely, and ends with a ruffled edge. The length and size are easily customizable — note that for the denim yarn, it is knit a little long to accommodate the shrinkage that occurs in length when the skirt is washed.

Waistband: I started at the waistband and provisionally cast on 100 stitches using the crochet cast on and joined for knitting in the round. I knit 8 rounds even, then worked *k2tog, yo* around for one round, then I worked 3 rounds even. On the next round, I knit around to the center of the skirt, bound off 4 stitches, and knit to the beginning of the round. On the following round, I knit to the bound off stitches, cast on 4 stitches using the backwards loop method (you could use a cable cast on), and knit across the rest of the round. I knit 2 more rounds even.

On the next round, I unzipped the provisional cast on. I knit through the stitch on the needle and the relative stitch at the cast-on, holding the wrong sides together This creates a picot-edged waistband with a pocket for elastic and/or a drawstring.

First Tier: Next, I worked 16 rounds even. This can be lengthened (I would lengthen it quite a bit if I were knitting for an older child or an adult). Keep in mind that if you are using denim yarn, it will shrink vertically (I’ve seen anywhere from 10% to 25% in length depending on the brand — swatch!).

from above
skirt from above [flickr]

Second Tier: On the following round, I worked *k2, yo* around, increasing one stitch for every 2 stitches (150 stitches around).

I knit 18 rounds even.

Third Tier: I worked *k1, yo* all the way around, increasing one stitch for every stitch (300 stitches around).

I knit 20 rounds even.

Ruffle Tier: Again, I worked *k1, yo* all the way around, increasing one stitch for every stitch again (600 stitches around). This is where it started to feel insane and the rows felt so, so long.

I knit 1 round even, then worked the Russian bind-off all the way around. There are a few variations of the Russian Bind-off. I worked the simple version: k2tog, place resulting stitch back on left needle, k2tog, place resulting stitch back on left needle, repeat all the way around. The ruffled edge didn’t look very cute at this point, but I decided to wait until I washed and dried it before making that determination.

Drawstring: I considered sewing elastic into the waistband but eventually decided against it. I began to knit an i-cord drawstring but didn’t like the way it looked. I googled and ravelried (ha!) around looking for other options. The suggestions I came across: i-cord, single-stranded crochet chain, crochet chain + one row of single crochet, and a double-stranded crochet chain. I also considered buying a thick shoelace but decided that would not look right.

I tried a single stranded crochet chain (too thin), then a single stranded chain with single crochet (looked strange and didn’t like being tied in a bow), and finally a double stranded crochet chain. The double-stranded crochet chain worked out well — it looks fine, it’s sturdy, and it stands up to being tied in a bow.

It is cute and girly and very simple. I initially planned a picot hem but in the end went for the ruffle and I am glad I did.

9 Comments so far

  1. Julie on August 14th, 2008

    Jess this is absolutely adorable! I love it!

  2. Deneen on August 14th, 2008

    Sheesh, that is cute as heck!

  3. gleek on August 14th, 2008

    oh gosh that’s cute!!! i love it!

  4. Sara on August 15th, 2008

    that is so cute! i remember that skirt from the mag but i never would’ve thought to make it for a little girl. very clever and adorable!

  5. gina on August 16th, 2008

    That is sooo dang cute! And thanks for the how-to!

  6. Bron on August 16th, 2008

    That is too cute for words! I’m sorry – I realize I’m using the word “cute” like everyone else did…maybe “adorable” instead??? Dang…someone else got to it first…

    I’ve got it – “Precious!”

    There – I’m finally different. Whew!

    Great job!

  7. Holly Jo on August 22nd, 2008

    That skirt is so saucy! I can totally see a little girl flitting around in that thing thinking she is the bee’s knees. Love it. :)

  8. Kris on August 23rd, 2008

    It is so cute! I love the simplicity of the design!

  9. Andrea on September 6th, 2008

    That is *so* adorable!!!