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Kids' Cashmere Skirt

Turn moth-eaten cashmere sweaters into soft, stylish children's skirts with this how-to from Stella Neptune designer Eva Kisevalter.

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, November 2010


  • Measuring tape

  • Grid ruler

  • Stiff poster board or cardboard

  • Pencil

  • Craft knife

  • Cutting mat

  • Gently worn cashmere sweater(s)

  • Sharp scissors

  • Rotary cutter

  • Pins

  • Sewing machine

  • Coordinating thread

  • 1/2-inch roll-proof waistband elastic

  • Mild detergent


  1. To find the pattern's top width, measure the child's waist and add 1 inch, then divide that number by six. (Ex: Waist = 23 inches + 1 inch = 24 inches, 24 inches divided by 6 = 4 inches.) Add 1/2 inch to this result for seam allowance. The resulting number (Ex: 4 1/2 inches) is the top width measurement of the skirt pattern.

  2. To find the pattern's length, measure from the child's waist to the desired length of the skirt. Add 1 inch to this measurement for the hem and 1 inch for the waistband casing. (Ex: Length = 12 inches + 1 inch + 1 inch = 14 inches.)

  3. Use a ruler to draw a horizontal line at the top of a piece of poster board or cardboard, the length of the pattern's top width from Step 1. Beginning at each end of this line, draw vertical lines downward at a right angle, equal in length to the pattern length from Step 2. Draw a line between the ends, completing the bottom of the rectangle (see template diagram).

  4. Place ruler on the bottom line and extend line 2 inches to either side. Draw lines from the top corners of the rectangle to the new end points of the bottom to make a long trapezoid shape (see template diagram). The wider bottom measurement gives the skirt its A-line swing. Carefully cut out the pattern piece with a craft knife.

  5. Cut the sweater along all of the seams, and cut open the sleeves. Cut off any ribbed cuffs, waistbands, or collars, saving these pieces for matching ponytail holders or headbands.

  6. Find the grain line of the sweater: the row of knit stitches from the top of the sweater to the bottom. Position the pattern pieces straight up and down in relation to these lines. Cut first piece, guiding rotary cutter around pattern. If there is room next to the first cut piece, flip the pattern upside down and line up with last cut edge to get the most out of the wool. Cut a total of 6 pieces from sweater(s).

    Tip: Plan cutting first by laying out your pattern to avoid any holes or stains.

  7. One by one, pin the pieces together along the diagonal sides, right side to right side. Join the last piece to the first piece in the same way. (At this stage, it should look a bit like an inside-out skirt with a bunch of pins in it.) Sew along the pinned edges, using a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

  8. Cut a piece of 1/2-inch elastic to the length of the initial waist measurement plus one inch. Turn the top one inch of the skirt down, wrong side to wrong side, and sew to skirt about 1/4 inch from raw edge to form a casing for the elastic. Thread the elastic into the casing. Sew the ends of the elastic together securely to form a circle for the waistband; tuck into casing.

  9. Hem bottom edge with a machine-rolled or hand-stitched hem. Hand-wash skirt in a mild detergent and dry flat.

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