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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sewing Hints for Making a Skirt

If you’re new to sewing, the pattern for the skirt in yesterday's post really is very easy and would be a great project to work on. I have a few hints for some things to keep in mind when making something from a pattern similar to this one.

• When you are cutting out multiple pieces that are seamed together, try to line up the fabric design the best you can so that it matches nicely at the seam line. I hate it when I see garments in the store where it is obvious that there was no effort made in planning how the pattern pieces are laid out on the fabric and the fabric design on each side of the seam doesn’t go together at all. A little planning makes a huge difference in the look of the finished garment. It’s kind of like matching up wallpaper seams…

• This skirt was very easy. The hardest part, and it wasn’t really hard, just the piece that took the longest, was attaching the ruffle to the skirt. One thing I would do differently the next time I make this is to gather the ruffle in sections. I think there would be an easier way than to do the gathering (sew around the top of the ruffle with a long stitch length so you can pull the bottom thread and create the gathers) than by sewing all the way around the ruffle in one continuous piece. Next time I would break up that gathering stitching. Probably do it in three sections, corresponding to the seams of the ruffle. Then you wouldn’t have to pull on the bottom thread in one place and redistribute the gathers halfway around the skirt. Would be much simpler that way.

• When you stitch the casing for the elastic at the waist, leave the opening to insert the elastic at one of the side seams. Since it’s a little trickier sometimes to insert the elastic by a seam, you only have to do that once and not twice if you leave the opening of the casing at a seam.

• An easy way I always use to pull the elastic through the casing is to put a safety pin at the leading edge of the elastic. Push the safety pin through the casing to insert the elastic all the way around the casing.

• When you have the elastic inserted about halfway around the casing, pin the other end of the elastic (the one without the safety pin) into the opening in the casing so you can continue to thread the elastic through the rest of the casing without worrying about pulling the elastic too far and losing the back end from the casing opening.

• When the leading edge of the elastic is all the way through the casing, pin the ends of the elastic together and try on the skirt. Adjust the overlap of the elastic so that it is exactly as you want to have it sewn and repin.

• Sew across the elastic back and forth several times where it overlaps, having your stitching perpendicular to the long edge of the elastic.

• After you have sewn the opening in the casing down to the skirt, stretch the waist of the skirt to help adjust the gathers evenly around the waist. Once you have the gathers adjusted the way you like them, sew over the side seam line in the casing to hold the elastic in place on each side. This will help keep your elastic from twisting or curling and will help keep it nice and flat in the casing.

• One thing I never thought about since I’ve never made anything with patchwork fabric like this before is how the seams of the patches would affect the seams of the garment. If I had this skirt to do over again, I would make sure that where the casing was turned under and stitched was in the middle of the patchwork squares. In parts of my casing, the top edge of the skirt, which became the part of the casing that was turned under and stitched, was very close to one of the patchwork seams, making it a little more work to make the casing lay down nicely and smoothly. Plan how your garment seams will work with the patchwork seams as you are placing your pattern pieces on the fabric.

I hope some of these tips will come in handy if you make something similar to this skirt and if you are trying some techniques that you have never done before. If you make a garment, please post a photo in a comment…I’d love to see your creations!

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