Working with Embellished Fabrics, Part 2
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It’s time to finish up the embellished skirt…
In my previous post, “Working with Heavily Embellished Fabrics, Part 1,” I shared how to plan and start with fabric encrusted with beads, sequins and embroidery. This post picks up after the side seams on a simple skirt are completed.
Here in Part 2, I will show you how to:
1. Stabilize the heavy fabric
2. Sew in the zipper
3. Use a facing for the hem
4. Sew and place the lining
5. Stitch the lining securely
6. Add a finishing touch
1. Now that both side seams have been machine sewn and catchstitched, it’s time to stabilize the top edge of the skirt. Not only are these sorts of fabrics tricky to deal with because of the embellishments, their heaviness can be problematic as well. You want to do whatever is necessary to keep things from stretching, pulling, and becoming misshapen.
In addition to thoroughly tacking a silk organza underlining to the fashion fabric, baste a strip of silk organza selvedge (one of my favorite stabilizing tools) close to the top edge.
This is a quick way to keep the waistline from pulling out of shape–and as the silk organza is sheer and lightweight, it doesn’t add any bulk.
Trim down the seam allowance (in this case, the area above the waistline) and remove the beads (just as with the side seams). Fold the seam allowance down, clip it so that it follows the contours of the skirt, and catchstitch it to the silk organza. Press the reinforced edge on a ham, to mimic the contours of the waistline.
2. Put the zipper in by hand.
I use double thread that I coat with beeswax, then press. Obviously, sewing this zipper by machine would be impossible; happily, this treatment is really pretty easy. Put your stitches (which will be totally invisible from the right side of the fabric) fairly close together–there’s a lot pulling on them, and you don’t want them to come undone.
Leave room for the hook and eye, and fold the zipper tape out of the way.
It may not be the most beautifully stitched zipper, but if the zipper tape is hidden, the patterns in the embroidery match, and it’s good and sturdy–it does the job.
3. Hem with a facing. I suggest this for two reasons. It will keep from wasting any of the embellished fabric in the hem allowance, and it will cut down on the weight of the skirt overall. There’s no advantage in this case in having a heavy hem allowance.
Hand-baste a piece of bias hem facing to the right side of the skirt.
Press the seam allowances toward the facing, then press the facing into place, favoring the fold slightly so that it’s on the inside of the skirt. Finally, catch-stitch the top edge of the facing to the organza underlining.
4. Put the lining together in a mirror image of the skirt (the lining’s right side will face the interior of the garment). Staystitch the top edge, clip it, and press it into place.
Place it slightly below the foldline so that it is not visible from the right side of the skirt.
Sew it in by hand with small, firm fell stitches. Sew down along both sides of the zipper tape on the inside of the skirt (those nasty zipper stitches are now covered up!).
5. To keep the lining from shifting, prickstitch it along the top edge, about ½ inch below the waistline.
My stitches, which are about 1/2 inch apart, go through all but the outermost layer of fashion fabric.
It’s not the easiest seam to stitch, as I hit beads and sequins, but wiggling the needle around usually allows me to find a clear path through the embellishments.
Sew the lining in place along the hemline, adding a jump pleat for ease. Use a loose running stitch to keep a little movement between the layers.
Add a hook and eye at the head of the zipper.
Use lock stitches to keep them in place.
6. Last but not least, add a label! (Mine were unearthed in my studio clean-up, as was the fabric for this project.)
The finished skirt–ready for an elegant occasion!