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Tips for Sewing a Designer Skirt in Heavy Fabric

Learn techniques to reduce bulk in a pencil skirt made with heavy or highly textured fabric.
Threads #198, Aug./Sept. 2018

A beautifully made pencil skirt is a fashion classic that looks great with a coordinating jacket or with a simple blouse or sweater. You can create this versatile style in many types of fabric. If you’re working with a heavy or highly textured fabric, such as bouclé or tweed, try these tips to reduce bulk in key areas and to make the skirt more comfortable to wear.

In Threads #198, Aug./Sept. 2018, author Mary Funt explains how to make a close interpretation of a designer version. She shows how to adapt a basic skirt pattern and shares construction techniques that yield a flattering skirt that will wear well for many seasons.

Below, she shares details on how to adapt those techniques for heavier fabrics.

Balance the darts

1. Sew a strip of muslin or silk organza into the skirt’s dart seams. Press the dart to one side, and the muslin or organza to the other. This balances the darts in the fashion fabric.

Balance the darts by sewing a muslin strip to each and then pressing the strip in one direction and the dart in the other.

2. Press the lining darts in the opposite direction from the skirt darts.
3. Don’t sew the dart value into the waistline seam. When you attach the waistband, sew up to the dart seam, stop and backstitch, and restart the stitching on the other side of the dart seam. This eliminates bulk along that seamline and enables more movement of the dart within the skirt.

Reduce bulk in the waistband

1. Press the waistline seam allowances open.
2. Trim the waistband facing to 5/8 inch wide.
3. Hand-sew the lining to the waistband facing.
4. Fell-stitch a strip of petersham—a flexible ribbed ribbon—along the waistband as a facing. Align it just below the waistband’s upper fold, and overlap the lining’s upper edge.

To reduce bulk, use petersham as a waistband facing.



Attach the petersham with hand fell stitching.



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  1. jodiegraham | | #1

    Balancing darts is a thing that requires all of my focus, so hard to concentrate when my dog is nearby

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