I'm a sewing enthusiast in Beacon, New York, with a love of all things retro. This site is all about tutorials, tips, inspiration, and lots of spirited discussion about sewing as it relates to fashion history, pop culture, body image, and gender. My first book, Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, is now out from STC Craft/Melanie Falick Books! Also look for my line "Patterns by Gertie" from Butterick.
Sunday, I posted the first part of this tutorial (see it here), which showed you how to draft a simple pattern for the blue skirt above, which is similar in style to the taffeta gingham one on the right, from Vogue's New Book for Better Sewing. Now, here are instructions for the easy-peasy construction. First, a note about fabrics. If you want super-duper fullness, I recommend using a fabric with a lot of body, like taffeta. If you want a softer look, something with more drape (like silk crepe or a soft cotton) would work better. Also, it's worth noting that this type of pattern was just made for border prints! For my skirt here, I'm using a navy dupioni ($9 a yard at AK Fabrics in New York!) The dupioni is softer than the taffeta, and you can see the difference in the photos above. For a 45" wide fabric, you'll need about 2-1/2 yards.
Also, please note that my method is a little unusual in that the zipper stops at the top of the waistband, rather than requiring a tab and button. This makes it faster and easier to construct, but it might look a little strange to you at first, if you're used to traditional methods.
Okay, let's get sewing! So you've followed the directions in part one of this tutorial, and you have your pattern pieces ready to go.
Now, on to the cutting. For a 45" wide fabric, you'll need to use a crosswise layout. This means laying out the fabric completely flat, with the selvages at the top and bottom, and then folding the fabric horizontally, so that the fold is on the right side.
Above is a picture of my layout. Note that there is a double layer of fabric, with the selvages at the top and bottom, and the fold on the right side. Make any sense? The waistband piece can go below or above your skirt piece.
If you're serging your seam allowances, do so now. If you're finishing your seams by pinking or zigzagging, do so after the seams are sewn.
Now, sew the right side seam of the skirt only. We'll sew the left side after inserting the side zipper. Press open.
Gather the top of the skirt. You can use the traditional method of running two lines of long stitches, and then pulling up the bobbin threads. But have you ever tried the method of using cord and a wide zig zag stitch? There's a great tutorial for it here. It's fantastic for fabric like taffeta that has a lot of body. I used it for the first time for this skirt, and I don't think I'll ever go back to the old way!
Apply interfacing to one of the waistband pieces. Pin the two waistband pieces together, right sides together. Sew along both short sides and one long side.
Trim seam allowances, cut corners diagonally, and turn right side out.
Use a point turner or knitting needle to push corners out. Press.
Next, you're going to pin the interfaced side of the waistband to the gathered skirt, right sides together.
Now, find the middle of the waistband by folding it in half. Mark that point with a pin. Match the halfway point on the waistband to the side seam on your skirt. Next, pin the ends of the skirt piece to the end of the waistband. The finished ends of the waistband will match up to the raw edges of your skirt. (This method is a little unusual, but bear with me.)
See how I'm only pinning the interfaced side to the gathered skirt, and the uninterfaced side is free?
Now, distribute the gathers evenly among the sections and pin. Next, baste the skirt to the waistband by hand or machine. If your fabric has a lot of body (like a thick taffeta), I highly recommend doing your basting by hand. You'll save a lot of time ripping out machine basting that went wrong! This dupioni I used was soft enough that machine basting was fine.
Now, stitch the skirt to the waistband. Trim the seam allowance and press up towards the waistband.
Next, you're going to hand stitch the inner waistband down. Turn the seam allowance up and pin it in place on the inside of the skirt.
Using thread and a hand sewing needle, slip stitch the inner waistband down.
Next you'll insert an invisible zipper. You need to cut off the top of a zipper, right past the upper stop.
See where I've marked this zipper in blue? Cut off the top with pinking shears.
Now, you're going to insert the zipper. Make sure to align the top of the zipper with the top of the waistband, like so:
Follow your favorite method for invisible zipper insertion. There are a lot of tutorials online, like this one. My favorite method is from issue #119 of Threads magazine, which you can order online here.
After your zipper is in, finish sewing the seam.
Now, all you have to do is hem. Remember that you have a 4" hem allowance on your pattern. So turn up four inches, press and pin. Try it on to check length. Then hem by hand or by using a blind stitch on your machine. (There's a great video tutorial for that here.)
Add a hook and eye to the top of the zipper, if you wish.
Now, as VoNBBS would say, press your skirt, freshen your makeup, and slip into your fabulous new skirt. And go show the world what you've made!
If you have any questions at all, please leave them in the comments and I will respond in a jiffy.