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Monday, 20 February 2017

Sewing A Skirt & Vest The Old-Fashioned Way Part 1

My mom had saved some very old patterns from when she was still young and I happened upon some of these the other day. Ever since then, I had been wanting to try my hand at sewing a pattern the old-fashioned way. I will be making some adjustments to accommodate new products, and I will try to give the old pattern a more modern twist, but I invite you to venture down memory lane with me in this fun sewing project. In this first blog of a two-part series, I sew a skirt with suspenders.


This is the pattern I decided to try out and I chose this fabric to experiment on, which is satin finish.


I took a look at the pattern instructions and had a hard time making head or tail from it as patterns had evolved so much over the years.


A point in case, is the addition of these pattern pieces for the skirt. A waistline stay, is something that had fallen into disuse, as has the use of facings on a skirt.


Both front and back skirt pieces had to be cut on the fold.


To add a bit of fun to the pattern, I cut the suspenders from both fabrics.


I opted to use the facings, rather than swapping these for more modern methods. After all, those old-fashioned patterns did have a very nice fit!


Starting on the back skirt, I stick a pin through each dot for the darts. I then gently pull the paper away from the fabric, allowing the pin heads to make small tears in the paper, rather than risk removing them and getting them in the wrong place.


Turning the fabric over, I stick pins in right next to the first ones to mark the dot on the other side of the skirt as well.


I gently pull the skirt open. The pins now mark my darts.


I pin the darts on the wrong side of the fabric.


I sew the darts.


I pin the darts on the front of the skirt in the same way. This time I have two darts on each side of the skirt.


The darts on the reverse side of the skirt front have been pinned as the back had been.


All four darts on the front of the skirt is pinned.


Sew these darts. Iron all the darts flat, making sure the flatten to the side of the skirt, rather than the center.


Decide which side is most comfortable for you to have the zipper. Sew this side seam closed. Iron the seam open.


I take time out at this stage to cut vilene for my facings.


I also cut vilene for the suspenders.


I then pin the zipper to the side seam. I love how the pattern instructions read at this point: 'Put zipper in according to instructions on zipper'!


Sew as close as possible to the zipper. When done, open the seam over the zipper with your unpicking tool.


Pin and sew the remaining side seam.


My gran would turn in her grave if she saw me putting a hem in with the machine, but I opted to save myself some time.


Iron the vilene onto the facings and suspenders.


Lay the front and back suspenders on each other and sew. Iron these seams open.


Fold the suspenders in half lengthwise and iron flat. Then fold the ends in and pin down.


Do a neat top stitch on the seam, as close as possible to the side. Set your stitch length longer to create a neat top stitch.


Sew the facings together at the end that is opposite to the zipper opening.


Pin the facing to the skirt waist. Fold the seam allowance back at the zipper.


Sew the facings on to the skirt.


Under-stitch the facings as close as possible to the seam to make sure it remains neatly tucked in.


Sew the facing to the zipper, by hand.


Pin the suspenders to the facings at the back of the skirt, opposite to the darts. The suspenders will cross over each other.


Sew the suspenders onto the facing only. Pin the suspenders to the front between the darts and sew to the facing.


The completed skirt.


In the next blog I will show you how to sew this lined waistcoat/vest.


Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy the books here:
You can purchase Designs By Miekie 1 here.
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