The skirt for this dress is unique because it has a band that binds the hem, so after we attach the band, the skirt is done! First you’ll want to fuse the interfacing to both of the long U shaped pieces — there’s one for the front of the skirt and one for the back of the skirt.
Then we’re going to do something that feels a lot like edge stitching, but it isn’t. Using a straight machine stitch, we’re going to stitch on the inside of each U shaped band on the 3/8″ seam line. After stitching, press the edge inward along the stitching line and clip into the curves (but don’t clip through your stitching!) to help the fabric fold in easier.
Take the U shaped band and pin the right side to the wrong side of the skirt piece. Match up your notches and… this is very important! Make sure you’ve marked the dots from the pattern piece to the correct spots on the skirt bands. You’re going to stitch between both dots using the 5/8″ seam allowance, back stitch at both dots, and then trim the seam and clip the curves. At the dots, you’ll cut perpendicular to the dot, which will allow you to do the next step.
Now, turn the band to the outside so that the interfacing of the band is touching the right side of the skirt piece. You’ll see now how the band has a nicely prepared inside edge, to which we will stitch very close. First, give the bottom edge of the skirt a nice press with your steam iron and ever so slightly turn the seam line toward the wrong side of the skirt so that when you’re wearing it, people won’t see the seam line as much. After pressing, feel free to use some pins if you need them and make sure the band is lined up and flat on top of your skirt piece. I found that 1/8″ from the inside edge of the band was perfect as a guide — stitch all the way from one end of the U to the other… think of it like top stitching.
Once you’ve done all of the above to both skirt pieces, pin them right sides together and stitch your right side from top to the lower dot. The left side is where the zipper is going to be inserted so you’ll be stitching from the small dot to the big dot. Don’t be afraid to pull out your pattern pieces again if you forgot to mark all of your dots.
This is the moment to learn from Maw’s mistake: It’s really important that you only stitch to the dot! I had a big Make It Work moment with my skirt because I didn’t keep track of the dot and had to do a lot of jerry-rigging to make my skirt fit properly. Thankfully I had made this ahead of Mo, so when she and I got on iChat I was able to warn her of this very easy-to-make mistake!
…And your friendly reminder to press & finish your seams! You’re welcome…
Just as you did for the sleeve cuffs, at the dots, trim the seam allowances on a diagonal and slip stitch them in place. This will make your skirt have a professional appearance, instead of unsightly seam allowances flapping around as you walk.
Now we have a skirt! We just need to attach it to the waistband and we’re going to have a dress that is really looking like a dress. Time for more gathering… We’ve done this twice now and we’ll do it for a third and final time with this pattern. On both skirt sections, stitch in your gathering stitches leaving long tails on both ends between the notches.
Back to our bodice, it has the waistband attached to it, which we completed in the previous sew along post. There are two parts to the waist band and we are going to fit and then stitch our skirt right side touching the right side of the external waistband piece (the one with the interfacing). After stitching, be sure to press the seam allowance toward the bodice.
The very last thing is that we will slip stitch the internal waistband to the inside of the skirt (wrong side of the skirt), which will cover all of the stitching we’ve been doing.
When you’re done, it should look like the following picture.
Our next post will be all about inserting the invisible zipper… and that’s the end! New clothes!
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