July 5, 2012

2-in-1 Sew-Along: Skirt Construction

The skirt construction is fairly simple. Simplicity 1880 has a 4 gore skirt, meaning that it has two front and two backs.

Stitch each center front and center back seam together and then stitch the right side seam together (this is traditional, but you can switch it if you prefer). Please note that this is right side seam as worn on the body. Seam finish all these seams and press.

For the left side seam, I apply stay tape or strips of fusible knit tricot interfacing to the zipper opening, then seam finish the seam allowances  and then depending on the zipper application, I stitch below the zipper opening and press the seams open. I'll show how to do two different zipper applications - a lapped and an invisible. For the invisible zipper application, just leave the left side seam open.

Attach the skirt section to the bodice section, right sides together, leaving the left side open for the zipper. Be sure that your notches line up.

Press the skirt section with the seam going up into the bodice of the dress.

Lining the skirt
If you are interested in lining the skirt section of this dress, this is how I do it. You'll construct the lining the same as above. When you get to the left side seam, you don't need to stay tape or interface the zipper opening, just finish the side seams and stitch the seam allowance below the zipper - or leave the seam allowance open if you plan to use an invisible zipper.

Attach the skirt lining to the dress, with right side of lining to wrong side of bodice. Pin in place and stitch from the fashion fabric skirt side of the dress. Leave about 2" from each edge (where the zipper opening is) unstitched, but be sure to back stitch in place. Additionally, when stitching from the fashion fabric skirt side, try to stitch just to the side of the skirt seam, toward the seam allowance edge.

Press in place. The seam allowance will point downward into the skirt and you'll have a nice finished seam line on the inside before inserting the zipper.

For more 2-in-1 Sew-Along posts, click here!



  1. I never thought about making the skirt first, but what you said makes a lot of sense. I am currently working on a different dress right now, and I think I may do just that! Thanks so much for the tip!

  2. OMG, and this idea is the solution to a problem I just had with a dress that I still need to hem. I can't get it on my dress form now that it's sewn up, the zipper isn't long enough to clear the shoulders (though it clears my shoulders just fine). If only I'd hemmed the skirt before sewing it all together it would be done now, not waiting for a 2-person job. :P Thank you!!

  3. That makes a ton of sense! I'm making a dress right now & I'm gonna implement this starting now! :)

  4. That is such a good idea. I've never thought to do that but it makes perfect sense.

  5. Lovin your sewalong and am not even sewing any of the dresses lol.

  6. I am a little behind now, as I still need to wash my fabric and press it and cut the pieces out but I will play catch up during the next couple of days! I love the idea of making the skirt first. When I make it last I just want to attach it and finish the dress and wear it, and like you said then the hem seems to stretch! Some things are just common sense! :P

  7. Oh this is such an awesome tip, thanks!

    Y'all, can I pick your brains about this: I was thinking of having a contrasting band around the bottom of my skirt- would you hang the skirt for a few days then attach the contrast, hang and them hem, or attach the contrast to the skirt at the beginning, hang and then hem? I was thinking about the 1st method but then thought that maybe the contrast piece wouldn't fit the skirt that has been hanging. I'm not sure if this has made any sense.... I hope so :p Thanks to anyone with thoughts & suggestions

  8. You clever thing. Love it!

  9. that is a great idea - i have a bias cut dress that i am dying to finish but need to let it hang. if i had thought about doing the skirt first i could have finished it by now!

  10. Hi, I'm running a little behind! I made my muslin yesterday and I've just put pictures on Flickr. (Flickr handle = nonlethalforce.) I'm at a stage in my sewing development where I can totally see the importance of making a muslin, and yet once I make one, I'm often confused about what alterations to actually do! Such is the case here. When I look at my muslin straight on from the front and the back, it looks pretty good (although I definitely need to add a smidgen more room in the waist). But from the side, though, there is some gaping happening, and I'm not sure what the reason is. Maybe the armscye is too high? Although the seam allowance is there, so maybe it's hard to tell. Do I need to add a sleeve to see what I need to do? I would appreciate any words of wisdom!

  11. That's it, it totally makes sense! thanks for the suggestion!

  12. I'd attach, hang and then hem, were it my garment. - The Hanging Judge


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