I know, I know, it’s supposed to be pants week (which I’m extending into the week, because life happens). But my waistband interfacing still hasn’t come in the mail. Trust me, my dusty pink slacks are all ready to go once that bad boy finally shows up.
So I moved on to the final fabric, the dark gray poly. I had two more pants patterns ready to test, but wasn’t really feeling either of them for this fabric. And then I did laundry and realized I already own slacks in this exact color and fabric. Whoops.
So instead, I decided to make a killer skirt. I bought one everyday khaki skirt in the middle of summer, which quickly replaced any shorts of the same color. It just fit and looked so much better. Why not more skirts then?
I had this McCalls pattern, which has a fitted yoke and set in flounces which gave it some nice movement. And I had enough fabric, as skirts usually take less than pants. I only needed to buy a new zipper, as I prefer invisibles to lapped applications in my skirts.
McCalls pattern 6842
1.5-1.75 yards fabric
I started laying it out and quickly realized that the flounces were quarter circles, which is a lot fuller than I had anticipated. But cute, and I had enough, so why not. It sewed up remarkably quickly, in only an hour or so. I did end up almost completely backtracking to take it in a size, due to how stretchy the fabric was. Some construction notes:
Use matching serger thread. It’s a full skirt. If you don’t, everyone will see the crazy thread when you twirl. And trust me, you’ll want to twirl. I didn’t have any gray serger thread, but had 4 random almost matching gray spools I used instead.
The facing is quite short. I really wish it was as long as the first seam, so you didn’t have a line that sometimes shows through. It was curved slightly differently, and I could tell it was cut a hair smaller to hold the waist in, or I would have just cut a facing from the skirt pattern. Maybe next time I would draft one with the same curve as the facing, but the length of the design line so they could be finished together.
Invisible zippers: I set mine differently than most commercial patterns do. I worked in alterations for a crazy long time, and after having to reset a few of them, figured out how factories set them in for a much cleaner result.
First, roll and press the tape open. Next, do NOT sew the seam shut beneath the zipper. Every pattern everywhere will tell you to sew it shut. DON’T. Instead, lay the zipper tape as you normally would, right sides together. Place the top of the stop 3/4″ below your cut edge, and unzip the pull down to the bottom. Pin in place so the tape doesn’t slide and the fabric doesn’t stretch on you. Stitch using a zipper foot, keeping the tape unrolled and stitching close to the teeth. Zip the pull back up to the top, and mark the other piece of fabric where you want the other tape to start and stop so it will match. Repeat pinning and stitching on that side.
Zip the zipper up. Now pin the rest of the fabric together below the zipper. When you stitch the seam and get to the stitching, keep using your zipper foot and stitch for a few stitches next to the zipper stitching. Do not make the stitch lines meet. This allows for the fabric to roll nicely and gives the breath of space needed to make the bottom of the zipper and the seam below look flawless. Open up the seams and press lightly; don’t clamp this down into place. The key to invisible zippers is to let the fabric roll and not hard crease.
Then for the part that makes a huge difference. You’ll have a facing or waistband to set. Your pattern will tell you to stitch across the top of the zipper. Don’t do that yet. Instead, sew the side of the facing to the zipper tape first. Offset it by 1/4″ so it’s sticking out, and stitch 1/8″ or so away from your first zipper stitching. Press it to the side. Then you can pin the top edges together, pushing the zipper tape into the corner and allowing the seam allowances to all come away from the edge. Now when you stitch across the top, you won’t have a crazy amount of excess bulk to trim away and try to fold out of the way to get your facing to back off of the seam. This is so hard to verbalize, but trust me, follow the pictures, do it once, and be amazed. Before you grade and understitch the top edge, do poke it open and check to make sure the tops of your zipper sides are aligned. If not, just stitch the waist seam a little bit again to take off a too high corner until it matches.
Hemming. Since it is almost a full circle, you’ve gotta let it hang for a few days once the skirt is made. More if you’re using a fabric that doesn’t have a lot of snap back. The bias grain pieces will grow crazy amounts, and the hem will look wonky if you don’t just sit on your hands and let your fabric do its thing. It’s also a really crazy curved hem, so I do a double roll. But again I use a different technique than most, so maybe a separate post on that…
And done! This is seriously comfy, and did I mention washable? I wish I’d had it for all of September. It makes Tshirts look classy. I made the long version so I can play on the ground with my kiddos and not worry about coverage, and I think the longer length lends itself equally well to ballet flats, heels, and tall fall boots. So happy with this pattern, and yay for skirts!
Love from Wisco,