Sunday, 7 April 2013

Tutorial: Hemming a Lined Skirt with a Placket

When making my first Wiksten skirt it took me a bit of time to figure out how to finish off the corners of the skirt and the lining at the hem. I used this tutorial from Fashion Incubator as a starting point. When I worked it out I took some photos as I went along. I then went the whole hog and turned it into my first proper tutorial.

I followed my tutorial when making my second Wiksten skirt and the corners came out fine. I even used it on my latest make to sew the corners of a vent on a lined skirt. I'm fairly confident it works so I thought I'd put it out there.

If you know of any other tutorials dealing with this area please provide a link in the comments. I'm always interested to read other ways of doing things.

So on with the tutorial. Firstly I have made it available as a PDF download here. Please let me know if the link doesn't work.

Just in case cloud storage disappears I have set out the tutorial in full below. The references to 1.5 cm below refer to the seam allowances used so this will change if you use a different seam allowance.

Hemming a lined skirt with a placket

This tutorial describes how to finish off the bottom corner of a lined skirt with a placket. The lining is loose rather than sewn into the hem.

The following steps should already be done.

The placket is attached to the outer skirt stopping just shy of 1.5 cm from the bottom of the placket. (Update: this is actually step 1 of the tutorial).

If you're topstitching the placket you can either do all the topstitching at the end or topstitch up to about 3 inches before the hem depth and do the rest at the end.

The lining is hemmed.

The hemmed lining is stitched to the placket facing.

The hemmed lining (with placket facing attached) is stitched to the outer skirt along the waist, down the length of the placket and halfway along the bottom of the placket. (Update: see step 1 for sewing the bottom of the placket). 

The outer skirt is hemmed stopping around 2.75 inches before the placket. (This gap can be smaller if your hem is shorter. My hem is 2.25 inches. The purpose of the gap is to leave enough room to finish off the placket).

Tip: I thread traced my seam allowance (using long basting stitches) on the bottom of the placket and placket facing in advance. I then used this thread traced line as the guide to hem my outer skirt as this line also marks the fold line for the hem.

Step 1 – start of tutorial

Sew the bottom edge of the placket, stopping just shy of the finished width of the placket. In my case I stopped 1.5 cm from the edge, being the seam allowance. Don't sew all the way to the edge. (The stitching to the right in the picture below is the thread traced basting mentioned above). Use pins to move the rest of the fabric out of the way if necessary. Press.

View from the other side

Step 2

Preparing to turn through. I've been experimenting with Tilly and the Buttons' method ( of not cutting the corners diagonally before turning through. I graded my seam allowances and then pressed them towards the back of the skirt (ie towards side with the lining attached). Alternatively you can trim the corners.

After turning through, press.

Step 3

Tack together all the seam allowances that meet at the bottom edge of the placket and the bottom edge of the outer skirt.

In the next photo I've put a white headed pin in the seams I'm going to tack together. I tacked using a small zig zag stitch, lowering the feed dogs and doing a few stitches. This can also be done by hand

Bonus photo: not in the PDF download

Step 4

Fold the lining back onto the placket facing, right sides together. Loosely tack the lining onto the placket facing just to keep it out of the way.

 On the right is the the part of the hem of the outer skirt not yet stitched down

Step 5

This is where it's important to have a bit of the outer skirt un-hemmed before the placket as mentioned at start of the tutorial.

Stitch the side of the outer skirt hem to the side of the placket facing, right sides together. In the photo below I have pinned where I will sew, with a 1.5 cm seam allowance. You can also see my tacking in this picture from step 3, on the left of the picture next to the red headed pin. To the left of the picture you can also see the stitching from the long seam that joins the placket and outer skirt.

This isn't the easiest part to sew by machine but it can be done. Here is a picture of the work in my machine before sewing. That green pin at the back was there to keep the fabric out of the way.

Step 6

Press the seam allowance of the placket facing and hem towards the placket. In the photo below you can see where I've tacked the seam allowances at step 3. Again using Tilly and the Buttons' method ( I haven't cut diagonally along the corners. If you want to you can undo the tacking and trim away those corners. Turn through.

Step 7

Finish / complete any topstitching on the placket.

Step 8

Hand stitch the rest of the hem on the outer skirt. (You can't see the top of the hem in this picture as it's underneath the lining).

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Light Blue Wiksten Skirt

It's been a lovely sunny Saturday in Norfolk. I spent the afternoon trundling around the charity shops in Wymondham looking for an upcycling project. I've never seen so many charity shops in a small town. I found two items for about £3.50 each which I'm looking forward to up-cycling.

When we arrived home my chap suggested we take some photos as it was still sunny. So I got changed into my light blue Wiksten skirt and we went to Caistor St Edmund which has the ruins of a Roman market town. Here are the photos.

I didn't know the camera was still rolling here!

This is my second make of the Wiksten tulip skirt. I made no major changes from my first version which is detailed here.

I used a light blue fabric from my stash but I'm not sure what it is. I lined the skirt again. My only change from my first version was to line the waistband and plackets, rather than face them with the skirt fabric (or polka dot cotton as in my first version). I still interfaced the lining for the waistband and plackets. This has produced a lighter overall result than interfacing with self-fabric or cotton.

I used a vintage seam finish on both the skirt and lining (which I also did on my first version). I like this finish but it does add time onto the make.

Anyway there's not much more to say about this skirt. I thought this would be more of a spring / summer skirt but I think it looks OK as a winter skirt with dark tights and a dark jumper. I'm looking forward to pairing it with my white Banksia top in the warmer weather (I can hope!). I'm stumped as to what other colours go with this light, duck egg kind of blue. I've tried googling but have found nothing much apart from a nude coloured cardigan which does go well. Does anyone have any other colour combination suggestions?

Happy weekend.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Denim Wiksten Skirt

It's only 3 degrees celsius in Norfolk this evening which makes a change from zero or 1 degrees. It doesn't look like we'll have a balmy spring any time soon so I thought I'd brave the cold air for five minutes to take some long overdue photos. I finished this skirt in the first half of January and I've worn and washed it loads of times. It's been hanging up for about 2 weeks taunting me to get on with the photos so that I can wear it. So at last I can start wearing it again – I've really missed it!

Weird how you can't see the bow belt in these pictures

This is the Tulip Skirt from Wiksten Patterns. The download is available here for $4.20, a bargain £2.60!

I love this skirt and of course it's made with my favourite fabric, denim. It's a comfortable skirt and goes with many things.

Luckily I made notes as I was making the skirt as I wouldn't have been able to recall any detail now. I started making this before Christmas and even had a couple of blissful hours sewing this on Christmas Day!

First muslin

I cut an extra large knowing it would be way too big, but figured I would fit it down to size.

I made the skirt in a different order to the pattern instructions. I attached the waistband pieces to the corresponding skirt pieces separately and then sewed the side seams of the skirt and waistband in one fell swoop. That way I could just adjust the sides to fit. The seam allowances are 1.5 cm on this pattern which I used throughout

After the first muslin I took in the side seams by 1 inch on both sides, tapering up to 1.5 inches in at the waistline starting from a distance of 3.75 inches down from the waist seam.

I found the back skirt piece to be 1 inch longer than the front skirt pieces. This may have been me cutting it wrong. Anyhow I subsequently made sure the pattern pieces aligned correctly with the waistband.

Slash Pockets

I wanted to add slash pockets at the sides much like I did here for the Miss Chalmers' skirt. The pockets are based on the pocket pattern piece for the Crescent skirt. I had to move the position of the pleats further along to allow enough room for the pocket openings.

Belt Ties

These are sewn into the side seams and I know some people leave them out.  I decided to keep them in but they were far too short for my liking. I doubled the length of the ties which means I can tie them in a bow. By the way it's really hard to tie a nice bow. Is there a tutorial to show how you can do this nicely? Every now and then I do something slightly different and end up with a brilliant bow. The problem is I can never remember how I did it or what exactly I did!


I'm a lining freak so of course I wanted to add lining. The skirt isn't designed with a lining in mind. The placket as designed is effectively a single strip of fabric (interfaced) that sits on the top of the right side of each of the skirt front pieces. The seam allowances are tucked inside. (The placket is attached much like bias tape is attached to a neckline where you want the bias tape to show from the outside).

To add lining I cut 2 more placket strips so each placket had a facing. I reduced the front skirt piece by shaving off 2.5 cm from the centre front of the skirt, and using it to cut both the skirt and lining fabric. (In fact I did separate skirt pieces for the front skirt lining and front skirt as I adjusted the front skirt piece to add pockets).  My lining was loose hanging rather than sewn into the hem.


The hem is around 7.5 cm on this skirt. I cut my lining pieces so that they would sit about 3 cm shorter than the skirt after hemming by turning under 1.5 cm twice.
Belt Loops

I decided to add belt loops after the skirt was finished. Although the ties looked OK they had a tendency to ride up past the waistband. I thought belt loops would keep the ties aligned with the waistband. They were fiddly to do but I'm so glad I took the time to do them. They have improved the look and feel of the skirt.

Topstitching and buttons

I did double rows of topstitching at the hem and the lower edge of the waistband. I did single topstitching lines on either sides of the placket and on the belt loops.  I used lime green ordinary thread for the topstitching. I tend not to use the thicker topstitching thread now as I can't get the tension right on my machine on the reverse side. Normal thread looks fine for topstitching.

The Wiksten skirt is designed with 4 buttons on the plackets but I didn't feel that was enough so I added 6.  The waistband is designed with a metal closure but I added two buttons to the waistband instead (making 8 buttons on the skirt in all). 


As I said I'm really pleased with this skirt. So much that I've made a second one in a light blue. This one I haven't yet worn and it's sitting patiently on a hanger waiting to be photographed.

The Great British Sewing Bee

Can I just say how exciting it is that our very own Tilly is a contestant on this show. I hardly watch any TV but I was glued on Tuesday night. All the contestants are lovely and some are very funny.

The challenges were tough. I wouldn't be able to finish, to a good standard, an A-line skirt in 3 hours and a dress to fit another person in 7. I felt for Tilly when her in-seam pockets came out baggy. I love that she was cool and collected enough to even think of adding them in that timescale! Yeah just adding pockets, not a problem. Love it!

I thought her red scalloped dress was lovely and looked great on the model. It had a lovely lining in a red scissor fabric. Yes the bust darts were baggy and the editing of the show focused only on that. I'm sure the judges must have praised other parts of the dress in real life but no praise was shown.

Lauren's Macaron dress was praised by the judges but it was way too tight for the model around the bust and there was some weird puckering above the sweetheart bodice.

I'm so looking forward to the next episode. Go Tilly!