Today we will be gathering the layers and attaching them to each other and the waistband. We will only be working with the waistband pieces that are NOT interfaced.
First, let’s talk about gathering stitches. These stitches are a longer stitch length have long tails left at both ends for pulling up the gathering. I use a 4.0 stitch length when I am gathering. Before I start the gathering stitch, I pull up the bobbin and top thread slightly longer than usual and when I finish the stitch at the end, I leave a longer tail of thread instead of cutting near the stitching. We will use these tails to pull the stitches and make the gathers.
Usually patterns will tell you to sew two or three rows of gathering stitches within the seam allowance. If this is the method used, three rows is definitely better than two. However, the method I use has only two rows of stitches, but has one row inside the seam allowance, and one outside. Yes, that does mean I have to remove a row afterwards, but the gathers turn out so much more even this way. Plus, since the stitch length is 4.0, the stitches are very easy to remove after the final stitching is completed. Try this method….you may never go back!
Lastly, some of these pattern pieces are very long. And gathering stitches sometimes have a tendency to break. To combat this, it is better to stitch from the center towards the edge for these stitches. This also makes it easier for the gathers to be in the center and not just on the outer edges.
The picture above shows the gathering stitches ending in the center and the long tails left. You will need to sew gathering stitches at 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch on the top of all pieces through both the fashion fabric and the lining fabric.
Next, you will pull up the gathering stitches to fit the piece they are being attached to. The Tier 2 (pattern pieces 8 and 6) pieces will be attached to the bottom tier pieces on the line we marked with snips in Sew-Along Post #2. Make sure you attach the front tier 2/middle layer (piece 6) to the front bottom tier, and the back tier 2 (piece 8) to the back bottom tier. Keep the front pieces with the fronts, and the back pieces with the back.
After pulling the stitches on the middle layer pieces, line up the right side of piece 6 or 8, to the right side of the bottom tier. But line it up so the middle layer piece is upside down from the bottom tier. Sounds confusing? A picture will be easier.
See how the scallops are facing opposite directions? This is how you want your fabric to look. Distribute the gathers evenly. Go ahead and pin that layer into place matching up the edges with the marking snips you made earlier.
Next, sew along your 3/8 inch seam allowance to attach the pieces together. This means you will be sewing directly in between your two gathering stitch lines.
Flip the middle layer piece down and remove the one line of basting stitches the shows if you want. The top tier will cover it so it is not necessary. It is purely up to you. To remove the stitches, use your seam ripper in approximately every 5th stitch and clip those stitches. Then turn the fabric over and grab the under thread end and pull. Bye bye stitches!
Next, we press the seam down. I start this from the back, and give it a good pressing, then flip to the right side and only press just barely over the edge so the gathers do not get ruined. One thing to note: If you do not want this one line of stitching to go through the lining, you can flip the lining up while you attach the gathers to the fashion fabric only. Then put the bottom tier lining back up for the rest of the gathering. Then you will have a completely smooth inside, instead of one line of stitching showing. Completely up to you and your preferences.
Now make sure the top of the bottom tiers and the top tiers have gathering stitches at 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch. We are going to gather the tops of these pieces to their respect NON interfaced waistband pieces. Again, the front pieces attach to the front waistband, and the back pieces attach to the back waistband.
Repeat the same gathering procedure. I found it easiest to gather the top tier to the width of the waistband and pin or baste it right sides together to the waistband. Then gather the bottom tier to the waistband behind it and pin. Then sew the seam with all three layers together.
Press the waistband and seam allowance up. Then flip over and remove the one set of gathering stitches that shows on the outside. Repeat for the back.
It is almost starting to look like a skirt now! Next post will cover sewing the skirt together and will post on Tuesday, February 19th. It looks like you all are following along well and really making some nice skirts! I love it!
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