Thursday, June 28, 2012

the summer of the skirt: the gathered waist skirt

I purposely didn't sign up for a class to make a gathered waist skirt because I had hoped (desperately hoped!) that I would be employed by the date of the class.  I'm still not employed and the class is full but after reading the description of the skirt - two large rectangles and a waistband - I thought it would be a fun project to try on my own.

Fortunately, I found a really really helpful tutorial. The tutorial probably would have been a bit more helpful had I actually paid attention to the sizing of the skirt.  You see, the tutorial's author, Gertie, said that she was "a ready-to-wear size 8".  I am not at all a ready-to-wear size 8 in skirts, especially in a skirt that is supposed to sit on your waist, and not your hips.  As a result, I made the waistband way too big and had to go back and take out about 6" of fabric from my gathers before inserting the zipper.  Lesson learned: do not be afraid of my own measurements!  

Despite the waistband mis-measurement and a disastrous buttonhole experience, I am super pleased with how this skirt came out!

Things I liked about this skirt:
- I wasn't sure about the style at first but now I love it.  It's sort of 50s inspired and not something I would usually wear.  I am branching out!
- If you measure correctly, this is a really easy skirt to make.  
- The patterns on the side seams match up nearly perfectly!
- The tutorial suggested hand sewing the inside of the waistband.  Ugh.  I hate hand sewing.  I machine sewed the waistband and managed to perfectly sew through both sides of the waistband. *pats self on back*.
- This was only my second time using an invisible zipper and it's so so easy.  My machine doesn't have a specific invisible zipper foot so I used my regular zipper foot and you can't tell the difference.
- At first I wasn't sure about the length - I've always viewed mid-calf skirts to be slightly dowdy and unflattering - but mid-calf balances out the fullness of the skirt nicely.  If I had fewer gathers in the waist, I would probably go a little shorter.

Things I didn't like about this skirt:
- If I make this skirt again, I will only use as many gathers as needed for a size 4, not a size 8.  It's a lot of skirt for a smaller frame.  Fortunately, I'm tall enough to balance it out.
- Though I took the waistband in, it could still stand to be taken in another inch.
- The. Damn. Button. Hole.  Seriously!  I spent several hours trying to figure out how to use the buttonhole feature on my machine and I still ended up making it too small.  My seam ripper got a little too carried away so I had to try to sew the rip closed.  Fortunately, when the waistband is buttoned, you can't quite tell what kind of mess is lurking underneath.


  1. This looks great! I recently made a gathered skirt with Gertie's tutorial and found it very helpful. I also refused to hand-stitch the waistband. :)

  2. I machine my waistbands from the from in the line between gathers and the bottom of the band. Not as hard as it sounds and it's invisible. No honest give it a go.

    1. I use the "stitch in the ditch method for attaching quilt bindings. I kind of like how the waistband of this skirt came out but, armed with a little patience, I might try it your way on my next version of this skirt. :-)


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