The Frugal Decorator: Skirting The Issue

by Leah Wynne

If your bathroom sink lacks a counter surround, you can dress it up by adding a skirt around it. To measure for the amount of fabric you will need, measure from floor to the top of the sink and from wall to wall around the sink. Mine measures 33" high and 52" around the sink. We'll use these measurements for the example. To make a skirt we need a piece of fabric twice the width for fullness, plus 1/2" - 1 1/2" around for seams: 33" + 1/2" seam on bottom + 1 1/2" seam on top = 35" long for length; 104" + 1/2" seam on both sides of two panels = 106". Our fabric must be 106" x 35".

We're going to have two panels that come together at the centre of the sink granting easy access. Fold your fabric in half width-wise and split it up the middle. Fold, pin and sew a1/2" seam on both sides and the bottom of each panel. Fold, pin and sew a 1 1/2" seam on the top of both panels. We have a larger seam on the top because when the skirt is around the sink, we'll be able to see about an inch of the inside of the skirt.

Now you should have two panels approximately the same size. Now we need to gather the fabric so we get the bunched-up fullness we're looking for. You can buy shirring tape by the yard. Sew it to the back of your fabric and pull the strings on the side, thus gathering the fabric. The same can be done at home with shoelaces (or similar strong cord). Pin your shoelace all the way around the width of your panel, about an inch down from the top. Zig-zag over the shoelace, using the widest stitch available and ensuring that you don't sew the shoelace. Now gather the fabric by holding both ends of the shoelace and bunching the fabric.

Once the fabric is gathered, you need to sew a piece of Velcro tape all the way around the width of your panel, preferably right over your zig-zagged cord. It's best to use the soft side of the tape on the fabricso you can throw it in the washer without it catching on your clothes. Then, attach the same size self-stick Velcro, hook-side, to your sink about an inch down from the top. This will ensure the top of your panel sits flush with the top of your sink. Sew-able and self-stick Velcro are sold together, hook and loop, so you'll to buy a yard of each and save the extra for a project - or do another sink in your house.

Now your sink is ready to be skirted. You can use the space beneath as storage. Here's a decorative hint to go with your skirted sink. Try making a valance out of the same fabric and hanging it under your light or above your mirror. This won't work for all bathrooms and light fixtures, but if it does, it adds a decorative flair that you probably won't see in your neighbour's house.

Leah works part-time at a home-decorating store and practices frugal living on a daily basis.

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