Since we're so very close to being done, we are going to finish up the skirt today!
The post today covers the final steps for sewing the skirt, and then I'll be back on the 23rd to talk about how to line this skirt.
For those of you in the Sew Along, there will also be a final pdf document with a compilation of the instructions from the blog posts. I'll let you know how to get your copy when I email you on the 23rd.
Here we go...
a) Match the front and back up at the E/F & A/B seams.
I mentioned this yesterday when we matched up seams, but if you move the seam of the piece that will be on top when you are sewing up about one stitch length above the seam you are matching it to underneath.
When the presser foot gets to a thicker area like these seams, it tends to push the top piece and then your perfectly matched up seams end up being slightly off. By placing the top seam slightly ahead, the presser foot will push it up onto the seam underneath, and they'll end up even.
b) Sew the side seams.
c) Try the skirt on to see how it looks and feels. Because the zipper passes through a seam, the zipper might feel like it's sticking. It just needs you to provide some resistance by holding onto the fabric at the top of the skirt. The zipper will loosen up with use, but will probably never glide through the E/F seams without stopping briefly at the seam.
If you are going to bring in the sides, turn the skirt WS out and put it on. Pin or mark the seams where you want to make adjustments, and then make your changes. You might want to make notes on your pattern pieces, so you can make the changes there the next time you make the skirt.
e) Press the side seams to the back side of the skirt, and then topstitch each seam on the E/F side. While you are sewing, periodically check you aren't accidentally catching other parts of the fabric in the topstitching.
Before we finish the top of the skirt, let me tell you a little more about the waist facing.
This type of facing is comfortable, simple to sew, and it is a cute detail on the inside of the skirt.
However, it isn't the most stable way to finish the waist, and it does mean there is a second row of stitches about 1.75" below the top of the skirt.
As far as stability, the top of the skirt is going to wrinkle some, and it will stretch out more than if the entire yoke was faced with additional A & E pieces (I'll talk about that type of facing in the lining post on 1/23/15).
To add stability, the fabric can be interfaced. I don't use interfacing here because the fabric alone feels fine to me, and adding interfacing isn't as simple as just applying some to the fabric and calling it good.
There are a few layers of fabric where the facing folds next to the zipper, so adding more bulk to this area isn't ideal. Which would mean measuring and cutting a piece of interfacing so it would fit within the folded ends of the facing. That's just more work than I want to do here, but it's also not that difficult if it's something you want to do.
For the extra stitching line, keep in mind that if you don't tuck in your shirt, it's not obvious.
How visible the second stitching line is also depends on the type of fabric used for the skirt, and how closely the thread color matches the fabric. The stitching lines shows more on fabrics with pile (corduroy) and lighter colored fabrics. It tends to be more hidden on fabrics with smooth surfaces (denim) and darker colors.
One thing you can do to make the stitching less noticeable, is to make the facing piece shorter. What we are using here will be 1.5" (3.8cm) high when finished. So just cut this piece with less height and the second stitching line will automatically move up closer to the top of the skirt.
a) Press 0.5" at the bottom edge of the facing piece to the WS. I draw a line with a fabric marker 1" from the bottom edge and then press the edge to meet the line. The 0.5" can also be measured with a seam gauge or ruler.
b) Beginning and ending the stitching 0.75" from the CB edges, sew the facing to the RST of the skirt waist. I don't pin the facing piece in place--it's easy enough to handle just matching up the edges as I sew.
c) Leaving about 1" or so to fold under, trim off the extra fabric at the ends of the facing piece.
d) Fold the ends back at the CB crease and press.
e) Fold the top ends of the zipper tape toward the CB edge and baste in place.
The ends can be sewn down by machine, but it's probably faster just to tack them down with a few hand stitches. They are kind of small and fiddly to get under the presser foot, but it can be done (I did it and wished I'd just hand stitched them...).
f) Turn the facing piece to the WS. Massage the seam out by rolling it between your fingers. Then press around the top and pin the facing in place.
g) Sewing along the top edge of the skirt first, sew all the way around the facing piece.
The fabric can be thick at the top corners, so it's easiest to begin sewing an inch or two in from the CB. Using a slightly longer stitch (2.6+) will help give you some momentum to get through the thick spots. If you get stuck, you can move past the thick area and try backing into it with a back stitch.
A 1.25" hem is included in the pattern pieces, but the hem can be made shorter by turning it up less than the amounts shown below.
I wouldn't fold it up much more than the 1.25" though. Since the sides of the skirt are slanted, the fabric measures slightly longer at the bottom than where the hem is stitched in place. At 1.25" this difference is pretty small, but it will increase the more you turn the fabric upward and it will be hard to avoid puckers.
If you want the total skirt length shorter than the 1.25" hem will provide, at this point the only option is to trim the bottom (next time make the skirt pieces shorter up front). If you trim the bottom, make sure to add new backstitching to the bottom of the CB and side seams so the stitching won't come undone.
a) Press the bottom edge 1/4" to the WS. This is so scant that I find it helps to sew a line of stitching at 1/4", and then use the stitched line as pressing guideline.
b) Press the bottom edge up another 1" to the WS. It helps keep everything in line if you press 1" at each seam first, and then press the sections between the seams.
c) Stitch the edge of the hem down. Hold the bottom edge firmly as you go around to gently stretch it out and prevent puckering (bottom edge is shorter than the top folded edge of the hem).
I sew the hem by machine because I don't mind the stitching around the bottom, and also because I don't want to hand stitch it. If you don't want the stitching line around the bottom, the hem can be slip stitched in place to make it a "blind hem". It takes a while and it isn't totally invisible, but it is far less visible than a machine stitched hem.
If you are using a hook & eye, hand stitch them on now. The hook faces the inside of the skirt.
Ok, that's it! The wearable muslin skirt is done. Now wear it and see how it feels and fits and see if there are changes you'd like to make for your next skirt.
I'll be back on the 23rd...