Hello again and welcome to PART 2 for making this simple gathered skirt! If you need help with cutting the fabric, please refer to PART 1 earlier in my blog. Today, we will cover how to sew all of the pieces together to complete your beautiful skirt!
First up, you’ll need to whip out that iron once more and fuse your waistband piece. I cut my fusible interfacing to be half the width of my waistband so that when folded, only one side is interfaced for stability. If you’d prefer to fuse the whole thing, by all means! After fusing, I folded my waistband in half and ironed it to form a nice crease. This will make the sewing much easier later on. I’d like to start off by mentioning that you’ll probably notice an extreme lack of straight pins used in my photos below. I simply find pins to be tedious, time-consuming, and all-too frustrating to work with as I forget to pull them out while stitching and they end up breaking needle after needle. Here is where more of my laziness comes into play! When working on fabrics without a stretch or no difficult curves that require pinning, I forgo them entirely. I’d recommend trying this out if you want to increase your sewing capabilities! I’ve worked in a design warehouse for several years and the most experienced seamstresses I know rarely used pins. Over time, you’ll get better & faster! (Again, not recommended for stretch fabrics, or difficult curves!!)
Now we’ll begin with those self & contrast pieces for the body of the skirt (you should have 4 of each). Start by grabbing one self piece and one contrast piece and joining them together along the longer edge. If your fabric has a nap/print direction, be sure it is oriented correctly before sewing! I chose to join these together on my serger to clean-finish the raw edges in one swoop. I find this to be quick and efficient, but you can also sew them together with a straight stitch and finish the edges how you see fit. Repeat with the other panels so that after joining them, you end up with 4 total skirt pieces. If you’ve chosen to make a skirt without the contrast fabric, you can skip this step entirely! From here on out, your steps will be the same.This skirt has 4 seams on it, a front, a back, and two side seams. You’ll be adding the pocket pieces to the side seams before you sew those together, so we’ll start with the front and back seams first. Take two panels and match them up along their vertical edges. It is crucial to match the seam where you joined the self and contrast pieces because you’ll want to keep a nice continuous line! You’ll notice in the photo below that I overlocked the raw edges on mine before piecing them together. Not necessary, but it gives a nice finish! This is now your front seam. Repeat this step on the remaining two panels for your back seam, but leave the top edge open by about 6″ for your zipper insertion! You should now have two very long pieces for the body of your skirt. Next up is adding the pocket pieces to the sides. I generally place my pockets roughly 2″ from the top edge. Match the flat edge of your pocket piece to the flat edge of one of your panels, right sides together, and stitch it down. Now you have the optional step of edge stitching the pocket piece to the seam allowance for a professional, clean look. Simply turn the pocket back towards the seam allowance and sew about 1/8″ from your first stitchline. You’ll see I also chose to overlock the pocket edges prior to attaching it below. Repeat this step with the remaining three pocket pieces, one on each open edge of your panels. Now it’s time to join together your two skirt panels at the side seams! This may look more complicated as you’re about to sew the first & only curve on this skirt, but don’t fret because it is very simple! Start at the top edge and sew down to the start of your pocket pieces. Now turn your fabric in the machine and sew along the outside curved edges of the pocket pieces. This is where you might prefer to use pins to match the curves more easily. When you reach the other end of the pocket, turn your fabric again and continue down the straight edge till you reach the end. Repeat for the other side seam. Nicely done! You should have a very, VERY large loop created for your skirt that will be gathered up into the waistband. It CAN all be gathered, I assure you! We’ll work on this next.
My favorite method for gathering large areas lately has been to use a thin ribbon (or scraps of yarn as you see in the photos) and essentially “encase” them in a zig-zag stitch. When you pull on the ends of your ribbon , it gathers up the fabric evenly and EASILY! No more double basting stitches that are easy to break and hard to make even! After sewing down to your waistband, the ribbons can then be removed by pulling them out.Simply start at your center back opening and zig-zag stitch over the ribbon as closely to the top edge as possible around to the side seam. Cut the ribbon, leaving a few inches of a tail and start again, zig-zagging along the entire front piece to the other side seam. Cut and repeat with the remaining back edge. You now have three separate ribboned sections that you can pull to gather. See how nice those gathers are above?? Pull on all of your ribbon ends to gather your pieces up as tightly as possible. You’ll want to make this small enough to fit the length of your waistband.
I chose to add a decorative lace to my skirt, which I added to the waistband and bottom edge. If you’d like to add something similar, go ahead and sew it to the waistband now, BEFORE sewing your waistband to your gathered skirt body. This will be much easier!
After you’ve done this, find the center front of your waistband and mark with a pin. Keep in mind that your waistband has a 1″ overlap at the opening, so your true “center front” is really 1″ to the side of where you’d think!Match that pin with the center front seam on your skirt body and start pinning all of the gathers evenly around your waistband. You should be pinning down the side that will be shown (with decorative ribbon) right sides together. The other edge of the waistband will be turned inside and stitched down by hand at the end. Also be sure to leave your 1/2″ seam allowance and 1″ overlap hanging past the edge of your gathers, which you can see in the very bottom of the picture above. I turned back the center back edge about 1/2″ as well for the zipper. Sew down the gathers to the waistband as closely to the ribbon as possible, then pull out your ribbons and VOILA!Now sew together the ends of your waistband with right sides together, clip and turn right side out. Fold under the raw edge and pin down. At the center back opening, place your zipper so the top edge hides up underneath the waistband. Sew down with your zipper foot attachment using whatever method you prefer! Keep in mind that I used whatever zipper I had available… typically one with polycoil teeth and a smaller zipper head is preferred!
I always try my best to leave a “lip” of fabric protruding past the zipper teeth to hide them when it is zipped. This was mostly successful as you can see above, even with my giant plastic zipper teeth! The waistband overlap should lay behind the other side so it finishes with a straight line up the center back. You can now use a blind stitch or something similar to sew down the inside of your waistband and sew on your skirt hooks to finish the center back closure.Next up is the hem! You can hem the skirt with any method you’d like… blind stitch, single turn, double turn, baby hem, hem tape, the options are endless! I chose to overlock my raw edge and do a single fold. As much as I like to avoid extra steps, I find it’s generally a good idea to press your hems for efficiency while sewing. I recently bought this lovely hemming gauge from Dritz and it is a wonder I ever got along without it! To be even more efficient, I sewed down my hem while simultaneously stitching on my bottom lace trim (see below)… talk about satisfying!There you have it folks! Hopefully by now you’ve completed your lovely gathered skirts and learned a few tricks about how to sew the LAZY way, or as I prefer to think of it, the more efficient way! Granted, some of my methods don’t work for patterns that require tailoring, but it is incredibly gratifying to complete something that looks beautiful and professional, knowing it only took minimal effort in certain regards. Thank you for following along and please feel free to comment below with any questions/clarifications you might have or to share your lovely creations!