Since we were last working on the skirt front, lets continue there by doing the pleats. You will have marked them up in one of our earlier steps. Its as simple as bringing the lines together:
And sewing along it!
Then press it towards the centre, but only press the bit that has been stitched.
Next, sew the skirt backs to the skirt fronts, then press the seams open.
Well, now (obviously) we have all the skirt put together, and at this point I always like to do the hem before I attach it to the bodice. Mainly because there is less fabric to have to manipulate later, but also because when you attach the skirt to the bodice its finished!
So lets look at the hem first. If you haven't already, cut it to the skirt length you want plus 1 5/8 inches (or 2 if you are lazy like me!). I like my skirts to be a bit longer so I can wear them with heels, so I have cut 4" off the length making it 29", so by the time we take the seam allowance off, and fold up the hem, the skirt will be 27 3/8".
But before we fold up the hem we need to sort out the raw edges on the skirt sides. A lot of you ladies noticed the skirt back facing on the original layout pictures I posted in Part 1, and wondered where they were. None of my original swirls have a back skirt facing, so why should we! We will be doing a narrow hem instead.
First step is to do a 1/2" fold. I do this with the iron in one hand and my tape measure in the other to make sure my fold is 1/2" the whole length.
Oh! And here is an awesome tip I learned recently. Turn the steam off on your iron and you won't burn your fingers!! You have no idea how excited I was when I read that, and then I wondered why it had never occurred to me - haha!
Next step is to turn the raw edge under to the fold line you just made.
Then its as simple as running a line of stitches near the edge of the fold!
Then repeat the same process for the hem, but use 1" instead of half an inch!
Now, parts of this hem aren't going to be so easy because its curved. Use plenty of steam and you should be able to ease it flat(ish).
There is one last piece of stitching that we need to do before we sew the skirt to the bodice. That is the line of gathering stitches on the skirt front. It needs to run from the pleat to the side seam on each side. Set your machine to the longest stitch it has, drop the speed, and sew a line that will be within the seam allowance (say, at a foot width) and another one beneath the seam (say at 1 1/2").
You might wonder why I've suggested to run two lines of stitching. Well, I used to only run one and every time I sewed it to something the gathers would be uneven, or they would get caught up in my stitches - basically it drove me INSANE every time. But if you run two lines, your gathers are neat and stay out of the way! Hooray!!
Ok, the last bit. Are you ready? We are going to sew the skirt to the bodice!
Find the centre of the skirt front and the centre of the bodice front and mark them by making a little crease with your iron. I do this by putting the two pleats on the skirt (and the darts on the bodice) together and ironing the fold.
Line up those little folds and pin to them together, then pin the darts to the pleats and put some pins in between to make sure any excess is eased in.
The next thing to pin is the side seam of the bodice to the side seam of the skirt. You will have heaps to ease on the skirt, and that is where the gathering stitches come in!
I do the two rows at the same time, so pull the tail threads (I can never remember which ones!) of each line until the excess fabric is eased, and then distribute the gathers equally and pin together.
Repeat for both sides.
Then last of all, pin the skirt to the bodice back. Make sure that you don't pin the bodice facing in!
Then sew the skirt to the bodice!!! I am going to pink the seam, like I've pinked all my other seams, but you could also bind it with bias.
Then press the seam up. Also, press up the bottom of the bodice facing.
We are on the home straight now! Pin the facings back at the waistband. Then hand sew them in place. (notice that this is the only piece of hand sewing in the entire project. Nice isn't it!
Then the final job is to remove the second line of gathering stitch.
Congratulations, you have made your first
Now, if you are anything like me, it will not be your last. You will quickly become addicted to making them, as there are endless options for personalisation. You will also become addicted to wearing them because you will look put together and stylish with absolutely no effort whatsoever.
Thank you for sewing along with me. I have loved every part of this process, so I know there will be more to come in the new year.
Much love to you all!
PS. I will be doing a round-up post in a couple of weeks, so if you would like a photo of you in your Swirl dress included in that post, email it to me at sewretrorose(at)gmail(dot)com by the 30th of November. Thanks!!!