Kathie’s back with part two of our Skirt Sew-Along. Part One includes a materials list and instructions for preparing your pattern and cutting the fabric. Today’s instructions include the use of 12-18 inches of 1/2″ elastic, which we missed on our supply list yesterday. We apologize for the oversight! Today you’ll learn how to sew the waistband, including the use of elastic thread to shirr the back waistband. It’s a really fun and satisfying process!

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Shirred back waistband.

Sewing Waistband Front & Back:
1. Place the two front waistband pieces right sides together, sew along the TOP edge, using a 5/8 seam allowance.
2. Press seam allowance open.

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Front waistband, sewn & pressed.

3. Refold waistband so the right sides are facing out, and press the top sewn seam.

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Back waistband.

4. Repeat the process, sewing the two back waistband pieces together and pressing well.

Shirring Back Waistband:
5. Wind an empty bobbin with elastic thread, making sure not to stretch the elastic thread when you are winding.

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Winding elastic thread on the bobbin.

6. Place the bobbin with elastic thread in your bobbin case, and lower the tension on your top thread just a little bit.

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Elastic thread in bobbin case, regular thread through the needle.

7. Test your tension on a piece of scrap fabric to make sure your machine is shirring properly. You may need to play around with your top tension a bit to get it right. You want the elastic thread to gather the back fabric but still have the ability to stretch back out to the original size.

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Sewing elastic thread.

8. Begin shirring your back waistband 3/4” down from the top seam.

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Rows of elastic thread.

9. Run 6 more lines of shirring. Each line should be approx 1/4” apart.

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Finished shirred back waistband.

Adding Stabilizing Elastic:
10. I found that the fit of the skirt was dramatically improved if I ran a length of narrow 1/2” elastic through the channel that is created between the seam at the top of the waistband and the first line of shirring. I used a 12” piece of elastic for a 21 1/2” back waistband piece.

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Adding elastic band to top of back waistband.

11. Stitch down the short ends of your back waistband to secure all shirring and elastic in place.

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Back waistband with elastic band.

Joining Front & Back Waistband:
12. Open up front waistband.
13. Place right sides of waistbands together, aligning the front of the back waistband (the side that does not show the elastic thread) with the front of the front waistband (choose a side- they should both basically be the same).
14. Your front waistband should still be flared open and the piece that will be the back of the front waistband should open up and above the aligned front and back waistband pieces.

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Piecing together front & back waistbands.

15. Pin together your short ends. Match top seams. You will still have one half of your front waistband ABOVE the junction of your matched up top seams.
16. Sew a 5/8” seam allowance.
17. Fold the opened up back side of the front waistband to the back side of the back waistband, sandwiching the back waistband in between.
18. Pin and sew 5/8” seam allowance.
19. Repeat for the other side of the waistband.

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Front & back waistbands, sewn together.

20. Flip the back waistband out from being sandwiched between the front and back of the front waistband and you should have a nice full waistband, front and back joined. You should iron the waistband and gathering, otherwise it’s just too poofy! Take some steam and a hot iron to it and it will keep its stretch without looking like a tutu.

Tomorrow: Sewing the skirt!


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