Mary Reed Cooper, American Square Dance Magazine
It is both creative and economical to make a patchwork Square Dance skirt out of leftover fabric from your past projects. But it would be even more fun to make a skirt of patches from friends' dresses.
Stockpile leftover pieces of at least 24 cm wide and deep and ask other sewers to do the same. When you have a big pile, arrange a patch swap.
For a three-tier skirt, you will need 63 patches, 9 for the top tier, 18 for the middle tier, and 36 for the bottom tier. If you don't have enough patches, make some from white eyelet, or a favourite solid colour to fill in. To determine the size of your patches, first determine the finished length of your skirt. This should be approximately one inch longer than your petticoat. The three tiers of the skirt may be of equal depth, but if the arithmetic suggests unequal sizes, for proper proportions the top tier is the shallow one and the bottom tier is the deep one. The middle tier may be the same as the top, the same as the bottom, or in between.
Make the patches 7 ½ inches wide, and 7 ½, 8 ½ or 9 ½ inches deep, as needed. Remember, this includes ½ inch seam allowance on all four sides, so measure carefully. Same suggestions for sizes of patches are: for a 19-inch petticoat 7 ½ -inch squares for the top two tiers, and 7 ½ inches wide by 8 ½ inches deep for the bottom tier; for a 21-inch petticoat 7 ½ inches wide by 8 ½ inches deep for all tiers; for a 23-inch petticoat 7 ½ by 8 ½ inches for the top tier and 7 ½ by 9 ½ for the bottom two tiers.
Spread out the patches in rows, and arrange them to suit you, nine in the top tier, 18 in the middle tier, and 36 for the bottom. Sew all side seams but one in each row of patches, making long strips. Gather the 18- patch tier and stitch to the 9-patch piece. Narrowly hem, then gather the 36-patch tier and stitch to the middle one. Now sew up the center back seam, inserting a zipper. Gather to a waistband in the usual manner, and you are finished.
Won't it be fun to wear a skirt that is a constant reminder of your Square Dance friends?