Hopefully you have seen my previous post How to Make a Simple Pattern Free Skirt, I do hope it has inspired you, & those of you new to sewing, to make an A-Line Skirt!
Carrying on, I wanted to give some instructions on how to cut the skirt out & start to make it up. Often in my classes I am asked questions about the simplest of techniques & I am slowly realizing that whilst there are many lovely books out there with gorgeous photographs of dresses, tops & other garments to make in them, they sometimes skip steps, or brush over the finer points.
Firstly, you will need 1.5m of a nice 100% Cotton fabric. I have chosen the above from Flo-Jo Boutique, which is most jolly! I’ll hopefully be adding the Velvet Ribbon Trim & pockets as Tilly did in The Great British Sewing Bee. Also needed are a 20cm Zip, Thread to match your fabric, a 1m x 10cm strip of Iron On/Fusible Interfacing & a 1,.5cm Button.
Fold your fabric from Selvedge to Selvedge, & with Right Sides together & lay flat on your cutting surface. It should look long & thin, with a fold along one side & both Selvedges matched on the other side. All of this is covered in the How to Make a Simple Skirt instructions, & you will need to follow them to make the pattern.
For the purposes of this I have cut my pattern on Pattern Paper:
I have marked all the instructions on the paper: where to cut on the fold, the Centre Front & Centre Back, the Grain Line & Seam Allowances for future reference, and cut it out ready to use.
Once your Pattern is cut- whether directly on to your Fabric, or as a Paper Pattern- pin the Fabric/Pattern to the Fabric as directed & cut out. These photos show a little more clearly what I have illustrated here.
Pin in to the corners first, then around the rest of the Skirt. When cutting out, lay your scissors flat on the cutting surface & cut. This will enable you to be a lot more accurate!
Once you have made & cut the Pattern, & cut the fabric out (don’t forget your Waistband!), you are ready to start sewing! On the pattern I have designed you have a 2cm Seam Allowance at the back seam, 1cm Seam Allowance everywhere else and 4cm Hem allowance & somewhat scarily, the first thing to do is insert your Zip. As in the majority of sewing, this is all in the preparation. Firstly, mark the length of the zip on the Centre Back seam- line the top of the Zip up with the top of the Skirt, & put a pin in the fabric alongside the metal Zipper end.
With 2cm Seam Allowance, sew straight down the Centre Back Seam. From the top to the Pin marking the Zip end use a large stitch, which will be easy to unpick. Reverse stitch a couple of times over the Pin, then change the stitch length to a normal straight Seaming Stitch & continue to the end, as illustrated above.
Introducing Mr Vader, my swanky new Iron!
Iron the Seam ‘out’ (also known as ‘busting your seam’ in the U.S.!), as illustrated above from top to bottom.
Lay the Zip- with the opening lying down as shown- along the seam. Pin at the top, then continue to ‘roll’ the Zip down, matching the opening of the Zip, with the opening of the Seam, along the length of the Zip. It is important to make sure the opening of the Zip is lined up as closely as possible with the opening of the Skirt Seam, this will ensure the finished Zip opening runs neatly along the opening of the Skirt.
Pin at a 90o Angle to the Zip, & Pin every few centimetres to ensure the Zip is lying directly over the Seam & wont move too much as it is sewn in.
Start at the top & at the edge of the Zip, then curve the seam in to Sew alongside the Zip. Because the Head of the Zip is so large, this ensures you leave room for the Zip Head to slide closed.
I always Sew on the Outside of the garment. Whilst this is slightly more difficult, & you have to use the Zipper foot to ‘feel’ the edge of the Zip so as not to Sew too close (or the Zip wont open!), it gives a more polished look to the garment.
Remember, you are able to unpick at any point! Don’t worry if you make a little wobble, or are unhappy. Just unpick & start again as it is worth getting this right so your Skirt looks as nice from the back as the front. Once you have Sewn in the Zip, Unpick the Central Seam, remove all threads & check your Zip works!