Sew-alongs · Sewing for Argentine Tango · Sewing Techniques · Skirts · Tango Skirts

Asymmetrical Skirt Sew-Along 3: Finishing!

Hard to believe, isn’t it? We’re already almost finished with this skirt! I’ve decided that, for my example skirt, I’m going to finish it with the waistband as the pattern shows, with a foldover waistband that forms a casing for elastic. However, this won’t be the last post in this sew-along series!

Your homework from last time was to construct the second (top/shorter) layer, just as you did for the under-layer; in that post, I showed you how to sew a beautiful French seam, as well as an effective narrow-hem technique. (Don’t tell me your dog ate your homework?!)

Today, we’re going to:

  1. Baste the 2 completed layers of the skirt together at the waist;
  2. Construct the waistband, including leaving an opening for elastic;
  3. Attach the waistband to the skirt, creating a casing for the elastic;
  4. Add elastic to the waistband casing.

And that will complete our skirts! So let’s get going, shall we?

Baste 2 skirt layers together
1. After both skirt layers have been constructed, align them at their side seams, then baste your layers together at the waist, inside the seam allowance; 1/2″ from the edge works well.

Tip: When aligning your 2 layers before basting them together, make sure they’re both facing in the correct direction— the right sides (RS) should both be facing up. Also, since the back pieces hang longer than the fronts, be sure to line the backs & fronts up correctly too. I know that might all sound obvious, but when I was about to sew mine together, I suddenly realized that the under-layer (the grey) was inside-out! It’s always worth double-checking.


Now let’s start on the waistband. This is just 2 pieces, sewn together at the sides, but in 1 of those seams, you’re going to leave a gap; the elastic will be added through this opening later on.

Marking the waistband opening.
2. To construct your waistband, first make sure you’ve transferred the markings (the circles near the arrows) from the pattern to the fabric. Here, you can see my pins sticking out where I’ve pinned the 2 waistband layers together. You’re going to sew everywhere but between those 2 pins.
Creating the waistband opening
Sew this seam in 2 stages, but don’t sew in the gap between the pins. Be sure to backstitch near the pins so your stitching doesn’t work loose.

Tip: When I’m sewing a seam that’s split like this into more than 1 part, I usually just sew up to the first pin, backstitch, then lift the presser foot and move the fabric to the other pin, put the presser foot back down, and continue. Doing this saves cutting the threads while you’re in the middle of the seam; in the photo above, you can see my continuous thread going in between the pins. After the entire seam is sewn, then you can trim this excess thread (on front and back).


Opening in seam after sewing
It’s a little hard to see with this dark color, but after pressing the seam open, and folding the waistband in half, you can just make out the opening.

3. Next, fold the waistband in half and press, aligning the raw edges, then baste the raw edges together. (Do you really need to do all this basting? True confessions: The pattern does say to do this basting of the waistband, but — bad Lindy! — I did not do this, which I rationalized by my fabric being easy to handle, unlike many more slippery silks. I did, however, use numerous pins to secure the waistband to the skirt before stitching. It’s easier when you baste, though— less manipulating of fabric layers, thus fewer chances of distortion!)

Sew waistband to skirt.
3. After double-checking that the seam with the opening is going to end up on the inside of the skirt, attach the waistband to the skirt. The basting line (pink arrow) is where the 2 skirt layers were basted together; the dark green to the left is the waistband.

Tip: How much elastic do you need? Patterns almost always say to start with your waist measurement, then add 1″, but I personally find that this results in the elastic feeling loose. My own rule (for waist elastic, that is) is to cut the elastic to my waist measurement. When I overlap the ends to complete the elastic loop, the result is elastic that’s about 2″ less than my body measurement, which feels just right to me. However, if you have another method worked out for yourself, by all means use it! We’re probably all a little different in how we like things to fit.


To serge or not to serge? You’ll notice in the next photo that I used my serger to finish the waistband seam. This is actually the only time I’ve used the serger in this entire project (you can see the French seam finish here too). I decided to serge in this case because (1) the grey fabric in particular is quite inclined to ravel, and (2), with the 4 combined layers of fabric, serging helps to control bulk.

Add elastic to waistband
4. Add elastic to waistband casing. Put a big safety pin through the end of your elastic, and insert the pin into the seam opening. (My elastic is 1 1/4″ wide, per pattern specifications.) Work the elastic gradually into the casing, by feeling the safety pin and moving it along.

Aside: You’re probably wondering about that elastic. Yes, that is the drawstring-style elastic, and I confess here and now that I only used it because I happened to have it on hand, and it’s the right width and length— but I’ve never used this type before! As it turned out, the drawstring part did not play a part at all; I just treated it like it wasn’t there. End of aside.

Secure free end of elastic
When most of your elastic has been pulled into the casing, pin the remaining end down to keep it from accidentally disappearing into the casing. (Don’t ask me how I learned this.)

Tip: The only thing that can go really wrong with the elastic-in-a-casing treatment is for the elastic to get twisted. I’m always really careful about untwisting the elastic as I work it through the casing, and I also double-check that everything’s untwisted before sewing the elastic ends together. Not sure if it’s twisted or not? Feel along the casing— you’ll be able to feel if something isn’t the right way up.


 

Elastic all the way through casing
Here, I’ve finished pulling my elastic all the way through the casing, and have pulled the safety-pin end out of the seam opening. Now, pull both ends out until each is at least 6″ long. This will make the next step much easier.
Pin elastic ends together.
To secure the elastic ends, overlap them, lining up the edges, and pin in place. (I overlap mine by 1″.) You’re going to stitch them together next, so you may want to pull your ends out even more. And double-check that the elastic isn’t twisted before proceeding!
Zig-zag elastic ends together.
Zig-zag the ends together. I like to do this in the X-pattern shown here for extra security. (My zig-zag settings: Stitch length = 2, stitch width = 3. Your settings may be different than on my machine, and for this purpose, it’s really up to you. It’s not going to show.)

Now just ease the elastic back into the casing:

Elastic inside the casing
Here’s the casing opening after easing all the elastic back inside. Now you can slip-stitch* the opening closed if you like; I’m going to leave mine open for now, just in case I want to adjust the fit of the elastic.
Finished waistband with elastic
How the finished waistband looks on the outside!

And now, all the way from Portland, Oregon, presenting…

Finished asymmetrical skirt
My finished Asymmetrical Skirt! I love it, especially since I made good use of both the green silk print panels and the metallic silver-grey remnant! (Not to mention that random piece of elastic.)

How’s your skirt coming along? I’d love to see it, and would be thrilled to post your photos in a sew-along follow-up post! Just e-mail me (lindy@colormusing.com) to let me know, okay?

Homework: If you’ve completed your skirt with the waistband shown in this post, you’re all done— no homework! If you’re finishing with another elastic treatment, just make sure your 2 skirt layers are basted together at the waist.

Coming up next: I’ll follow up by showing you a few alternative elastic waist treatments (including applying wide decorative elastic directly to the skirt— no waistband needed), and I’d also like to give you suggestions for how to vary this skirt design, from different ways of combining the 2 layers to color-palette ideas.

*I’ll also show you how to slip-stitch the seam opening for a nice finish.

Colormusing

Want more sewing stuff from Colormusing? Check out myBratelier (lingerie sewing, including bras!), and Changing Your Clothes, which covers everything from repairs & alterations to dyeing and remaking thrift-shop finds.

And don’t miss all my color-palette-related excitement at the  A Musing blog! (Click on the dots above to visit my mother ship, Colormusing.com.)

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3 thoughts on “Asymmetrical Skirt Sew-Along 3: Finishing!

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