Design Variation : Sailor-Style Front Opening
For a skirt that looks great on the boardwalk and the catwalk, try this nautical style complete with contrast stitching. Featuring a functional button closure inspired by sailor trousers, this skirt is sure to be a summertime favorite. Use topstitching thread in a contrasting color for the most visible stitching on the skirt and to highlight the nautical theme.
Draft the Pattern
1). Trace your high-waisted skirt front and back slopers onto drafting paper, leaving space all around for design features and seam allowances. Change the design to a one-dart silhouette. Draw the yoke seamline on the skirt front so it falls just above or below the dart point. Make it as deep and as shaped as you wish. Cut off the yoke.
2). Draft the yoke pattern pieces.
a) This skirt has button closures in the location of the darts, so cut the yoke apart along the dart legs and discard the inside of the darts. Label the side piece as sidefront yoke. Label the center piece as the center-front yoke and indicate for it to be cut on the fabric fold.
b) To the dart side of each yoke piece, add a button extension that is as wide as twice the diameter of the button. Add ½” seam allowance around all the edges, except for the center front (it is cut on the fold). Mark the placement of buttons and buttonholes.
3). Add a cluster of gathers in the front.
a) Below the yoke seam, measure what is left of any remaining dart and shave it off the side seam (if your yoke design line was below the point of the dart, disregard). Then draw a slash line from the side seam to the desired location for the center of the gathers.
b) Tape the center front of the skirt pattern onto drafting paper, slash the line from the yoke seamline to (but not through) the side seam. Spread the side section about 4″ to create extra room for the gathers shown. Smooth out the yoke seam. It will be easier to cut the fabric if you trace the slashed-and-spread pattern to create a new, neater skirt front pattern.
TIP : The shape of the back yoke can be different, and often not as deep, as the front yoke as long as it aligns at the side seams.
4). Draw the yoke seamline on the skirt back, aligning it with the skirt front at the side seam. Cut off the yoke and close the dart in the yoke to create the yoke pattern. You can leave any remaining dart below the yoke and sew it into a dart during construction, or mark to become a pleat as shown. The original dart legs become the pleat markings.
5). Complete the pattern. Add grainlines and registration marks to all of the pattern pieces. Add ½” seam allowances to all seam edges except those cut on the fabric fold and add 2″ hem allowance.
PATTERN DRAFTING NOTE : The skirt front yoke is made from three panels so the buttons are functional. However, you can simply make it from one piece and topstitch the details for a trompe l’oeil effect. Because of the hourglass shape, you’ll still need a zipper to get in and out of the skirt.
›› 2¼ yards of 44/45″ fabric
›› 1 yard of fusible interfacing
›› 11″ zipper (invisible or regular)
›› Zipper presser foot
›› Hook and eye
›› 4 buttons
›› Topstitching thread
›› Topstitching machine needle (optional)
›› Matching thread
Sew the Coney Island Skirt
1). Cut out the fabric. Use the newly drafted pattern pieces to cut the following:
- From fabric : one skirt front and one skirt back on the fabric fold, two center-front yokes and two center-back yokes on the fabric fold, four side-front yokes.
- From interfacing : one center-front yoke and one center-back yoke on the fold and two side-front yokes.
2). Apply interfacing. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of one center-front yoke, one center-back yoke, and two side-front yokes.
3). Assemble the center-front yoke. With the right sides together and raw edges aligned, stitch the two center-front yokes together around the side and top edges. Stitch the bottom edges only along the button extensions on each side, as shown; backstitch. Then, snip with scissors into the seam allowance at the backstitches, through all the layers. Trim the corners and turn the yoke right side out.
4). Assemble the right side-front and back yoke.
a) With the right sides together and edges aligned, stitch the interfaced right sidefront yoke to the interfaced back yoke at the side seam as shown. Press the seam allowance open. Repeat with the remaining (noninterfaced) right side-front yoke and back yoke to make the facing for this piece.
b) With the right sides together and raw edges aligned, stitch these two assembled pieces together around the top and front side edges as shown. Pivot at the bottom of the right front side edge and stitch along the bottom edge for the length of the button extension only; backstitch. Leave the left side seam open. Then, snip into the seam allowance at the backstitches, through all the layers. Trim the corners and turn the yoke right side out.
5). Assemble the left side-front yoke. With the right sides together, stitch the two remaining yoke pieces together along the top and front edges. Pivot at the bottom of the front edge and stitch along the bottom edge for the length of the button extension only; backstitch. Leave the left side seam open. Then, snip into the seam allowance at the backstitches, through all the layers. Trim the corners and turn the yoke right side out.
6). Gather the skirt front. Run one or two rows of basting stitches along the two areas to be gathered. Pull the bobbin threads to gather the skirt to fit the yokes. Don’t knot the threads yet, just in case you have to adjust the gathering to fit the yoke when you attach it.
7). Stitch the back darts or stitch the pleats depending on how you drafted the skirt back.
8). Sew the right side seam. With the right sides together and right side seams aligned, stitch the skirt front to the skirt back along the right side seam. The left side seam has an invisible zipper and will be stitched later.
9). Attach the yoke pieces to the skirt.
a) With the right sides together and side seams aligned, stitch the yoke piece from step 4 to the back and right front side of the skirt. Align the center backs and side seams. Fold the facing seam allowance out of the way so the seam is easier to sew. Be careful to not sew through the facing. Press the seam allowance toward the yoke. Repeat to stitch the left side-front yoke to the left side of the skirt front.
b) With the right sides together and raw edges aligned, center the front yoke on the skirt front and fold the facing seam allowance out of the way to make it easier to sew. The raw edges should align with the side-front yokes, with the button extensions overlapping. Stitch the center-front yoke to the skirt front, being careful to not sew through the facing. Press the seam allowance toward the yoke.
10). Insert an invisible or regular zipper in the left side seam through the skirt and yoke pieces.
11). Finish the yokes. Press the bottom and left side seam allowances of the yoke facings ½” to the wrong side and fold them so they cover and encase all the raw edges. Stitch in the ditch at the yoke seamline. Hand-sew the side edges to the zipper tape.
12). Make the buttonholes. Try on the skirt and check the best location for the four horizontal buttonholes on the front yoke. Buttonhole information, and refer to your sewing machine manual for how to machine-stitch buttonholes. Handsew the buttons in place.
13). Hem the skirt. Press the hem edge ½” to the wrong side and then 1½” again. Topstitch with contrast thread (install a topstitching needle) along the inner pressed edge. Or hem the skirt using your preferred method.
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