Day 3: Sewing the Front Facings & Darts
Now that we have all of our pattern pieces ready, it’s time to start sewing our skirt. Today we are going to fold and topstitch the front facings, sew the darts and the side seams. It might seem like a lot but it doesn't take too long. Happy sewing!
Note: If you are making a lined skirt, skip to Day 4. If you’re not doing a lining, then start by making the front facings. You already applied the interfacing for Day 2 and now it’s time fold and topstitch.
MAKE THE FRONT FACINGS
Start by folding the long angled edge to the wrong side .5 inch and press. It's really handy to use one of these little rulers called a sewing gauge to check the measurements of your fold.
Then fold it in again along the fold line (also where the interfacing ends) and press. To make the top stitching easier, I like to glue baste the facing in place using a water soluble glue stick or wonder under fusible tape.
TOPSTITCH THE FACING
I recommend testing out your topstitching on an interfaced scrap of fabric before stitching your skirt. This is a great way to test the stitch length and color. Plus you’ll get a little practice and make sure the machine is threaded correctly.
With a slightly longer stitch length than normal (I use 3.0), topstitch close to the folded edge for both the left and the right sides. I recommend stitching slowly to make sure your stitches are even and properly aligned to the edge of the facing.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can do two rows of topstitching or try out a decorative stitch. Here is an example of an alternate way to topstitch the skirt. This is a mini version of the skirt made from a heavy non-stretch denim. I used a denim topstitching thread (thicker than normal thread) to make parallel lines of stitching. I love how something as simple as lines of stitching can elevate the look of a basic skirt. Now, do a little happy dance and admire your topstitching. Maybe even instagram it.
SEWING THE DARTS
Darts are really cool little folds in the fabric that give the garment shape. They might seem intimidating but they are really very easy. And if you mess up, you have a seam ripper handy to try again. To make a dart, fold the fabric right sides together matching the dots and pin. To make sure I get everything lined up, I stick a pin in the center of a dot, fold the fabric and stick the end of the pin out the other side. Repeat for the next set of dots. The fold will go directly through the dot at the end point of the dart. Insert a pin so that it lines up with the end point.
Starting at the waistband, stitch along the dart line ending at the dart point. You’re essentially connecting the dots with a line of stitching. Some people like to mark the stitching line however as these are pretty short darts, I just eyeball it. You don’t need to backstitch at the point and you really shouldn’t backstitch because it could make the point a little wonky. Instead, when you get to the end of the dart, raise your presser foot, pinch the end of the dart between your fingers and gently pull it away from the machine. Cut the threads about 4 inches (10 cm) long and tie in a knot close to the fabric. Trim thread. Repeat for the rest of the darts. Press the darts towards the center.
Now is a good time to finish your side seams. I personally find it easier to finish the raw edge before sewing the seam but you can do it afterwards. For this fabric, I finished the raw edges with my serger. I turned off the knife so it didn’t cut away any of the seam allowance. You can also use a zig zag stitch on a conventional machine or get all fancy and sew some french seams. Pin the fronts to the back at the side seams with right sides together and stitch using a 5/8 inch seam allowance.