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Tube skirt offers versatility, ease

If you wear a lot of loose tops or oversized sweaters, skinny pants are not your only option to wear on the bottom. How about a narrow tube skirt in narrow pleated polyester charmeuse or stretch denim, wool crepe or linen?

Before you buy the fabric, decide whether you will use the fabric crosswise or lengthwise. By using narrow-pleated charmeuse on the crossgrain, vertical pleating is more flattering than horizontal and the selvage can be used as the finished edge on the hem. If you are using a stretch woven fabric, use the direction with the most stretch, lengthwise or crosswise, around the body.

Measure your full hip. For pleated fabric, using the pleats up and down on the body, cut your finished length, plus a 3-inch casing, and a width of your hip plus four inches. Don't add a hem allowance since you will use the selvage as a hem finish.

Create a tube by sewing a |-inch seam parallel with the pleats. Don't try to sew within one pleat, and flatten out the pleats in the seam allowance with fingers as you sew. Serge off raw edges. Allow pleats to relax, making the seam almost invisible.

On the tube end opposite the selvage, serge raw edge, keeping your finger behind the presser foot, as when easing, to prevent pleats from spreading too much as you serge.

For stretch woven fabrics, using the greatest stretch around the body, cut a width of your hip plus four inches and the length of finished skirt length desired plus three inches for casing and two inches for hem. Serge around entire piece.

Forming a tube, sew a |-inch seam, leaving a 9-inch opening on one end for hem vent. Press seam open.

Turn up 2-inch hem at bottom of skirt. Topstitch with a stretch twin needle using woolly nylon hand wrapped on the bobbin.

Create a finish on the vent by turning back seam allowance in vent area. Topstitch vent opening. Bar tack at top of vent to reinforce vent opening.

For waistline finish on either skirt, turn down 1{ inches along top edge of tube. To create a casing, use the triple-stitch zigzag stitch. Topstitch casing into place a quarter-inch from fabric edge. Leave a 3-inch opening to insert elastic.

Cut no-roll activewear elastic your honest waist measurement minus two inches. Insert elastic into casing, then join elastic by butting elastic ends over scrap fabric to avoid bulk. Close up opening in casing. Prevent elastic from rolling by sewing in the well of the seam casing.

Wasn't that easy?

Sandra Betzina is host of Sew Perfect on Home & Garden Television.

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