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1940’s Wrap Dress Sewalong: Constructing the Skirt
Hello sewalongers! We’re back with the next instalment of the 1940’s Wrap Dress sewalong and we’ve got a fairly simple one for you this time. It’s all about the skirt. Let’s dive in.
1. To begin with, before we remove the paper from the fabric, check you’ve transferred all the markings from all pattern pieces onto your fabric. On the back piece for example, snip the notches at the base of the dart, and mark the dart tip with a tailor’s tack. Once you’re confident everything is transferred, carefully unpin the pattern from the fabric.
2. We’re going to start with the back skirt first. Draw in the dart with chalk, matching up the tailor’s tack with the notches on the waist. It might help to place pins at the notches to see where you’re aiming for.
When draw in it should look like the above.
3. With right sides together, fold the skirt in half down the centre of the dart. Pin the dart closed, making sure to pin directly through your chalk line on both sides.
Pin both darts on either side of the back skirt.
Once pinned securely, stitch the darts in place. Sew from the waist to the dart tip, and make sure not to backstitch at the dart tip, as this can cause unsightly puckers. Instead, sew off the end of the fabric, leaving long thread tails. Tie the tails of thread together, teasing the knot as close as you can get it to the dart tip point.
Press the darts towards the centre back.
Because one half of the front skirt wraps over the other half, we’re going to treat these two pieces a little differently. The right front skirt wraps over the top of the left, which means we don’t want to create any extra bulk on the left side. For this reason, the left side sits flat and is shaped with a dart, whereas the right side has some decorative (and functional) gathering.
4. Starting with the slightly hidden left side, stitch the single dart in the same way as the back skirt above.
5. On the right front skirt, pop two pins in the waist, exactly where the notches fall. We like to pop pins in so we know exactly where to start and stop.
Set your sewing machine to a long stitch length, and at 1cm and 1.4cm from the raw waist edge, sew two rows of gathering stitches between the pins. Leave long thread tails so you can pull on them to gather up this area later.
Don’t gather this area just yet – we’ll get to it when we attach the skirt to the waistband.
6. If you haven’t already interfaced the skirt facing, interface it now. (Make sure to then pin it back onto the pattern piece to transfer any markings or notches.) With right sides together, pin the right front skirt and the facing at the front edge. Pin from the waist to the hem, and stitch in place.
7. Open out the facing, and press the seam allowances towards the facing. Understitch the seam allowances to the facing a few millimetres from the seam line.
8. Finish the remaining long edge of the facing with an overlocker or zigzag stitch to prevent it from fraying.
9. At the waist edge, where the gathering stitches are, fold the facing closed, rolling the seam over to the wrong side of the skirt so it won’t be visible from the outside of the dress.
Pin the facing in place at the waist, and with a long stitch length, machine tack the facing in place with a 1cm seam allowance.
10. Overlock or zigzag the front edge of the left front skirt.
11. With wrong sides together, fold over this edge by 1cm and press.
Pin in place and stitch. We used a 9mm seam allowance, to just catch the finished edge.
We’re almost there!
12. With right sides together, align the front and back skirt pieces at the side seams. Pin in place and stitch with a standard 1.5cm seam allowance.
13. Finish the seam allowances together using an overlocker or zigzag stitch, before pressing them towards the centre back.
And that’s your skirt constructed! You now have a completed bodice and skirt – all that’s left to do is stitch them together at the waistband! That’s what we’ll be covering in our next sewalong post.