Design Variation : Asymmetrical Darts and Elasticized Back Waistband
Darts don’t have to be simple — transform them into a stylish design element. For the skirt shown here, I topstitched four asymmetrical darts with contrasting thread. However, you can sew them from the inside to hide the stitches. This technique creates asymmetrical darts that curve across the skirt front, from side seam to side seam. To duplicate the look, you need to start with a complete skirt front pattern and then slash and spread it.
Draft the Pattern
1). Trace your straight back sloper onto drafting paper, leaving space all around for design features and seam allowances.
2). Trace the straight skirt front sloper onto the paper and then flip it over and trace it again with the center fronts aligned to create an entire skirt front sloper. Make sure there is plenty of space around the skirt front to slash and spread the new pattern.
3). Change the skirt length of both front and back slopers as desired.
4). Draft separate waistbands for the skirt front and for the skirt back, since the back waistband will be elasticized. At this point, only draft a skirt front straight waistband with a separate facing. Add ½” seam allowances all around.
5). Plot the curved darts. Tape the remaining darts closed. Draw four evenly spaced design lines on the skirt front for the new curved darts, beginning at the waistline and ending at the left side seam. Untape the darts and draw a line starting at the bottom of each original dart to the newly drawn design line directly below it. Draw registration marks through each new dart. The illustration shows this completed step.
6). Slash the skirt front pattern along the new design lines, starting at the waist and up to, but not through, the side seam edge. Cut through the original darts from the waistline down along the marked line to the new design lines and tape them closed (square up the lines at the top edge). Spread each new curved dart open about 2″ at the top edge. Trace the new skirt front so it will be easier to cut the fabric.
7). Draft the skirt back.
a) To make a wider back (which will be gathered with an elastic waistband), draw four vertical lines equally spaced across the back sloper, parallel to the center back. Measure and make note of the original width of the bottom edge.
b) Cut apart the skirt back along the lines. Spread the pieces evenly apart so that the new bottom width equals 1½ times the original hem width. Tape the pieces onto drafting paper and draw in a new waistline and hemline.
8). Measure the waistline (top edge) of the new skirt back. Draft the back waistband equal in length to this measurement, the same width as the front waistband. Add ½” seam allowances to all four sides.
9). Complete the pattern. Add ½” seam allowances and 2″ hem allowance to the new skirt front and back patterns.
›› 1½ yards of 44/45″ fabric
›› ⅓ yard of fusible interfacing
›› 1 yard of elastic (¼” narrower than waistband width)
›› Contrasting topstitching thread
›› Topstitching machine needle
›› Matching thread
›› Safety pin
›› Pressing ham
›› Tape measure
Sew the New Wave Skirt
1). Cut out the fabric. Use the newly drafted pattern pieces to cut the following:
• From fabric: one skirt front, one skirt back on the fabric fold, two front waistbands, and two back waistbands. Transfer all markings from the skirt front pattern to the fabric.
• From interfacing: one front waistband.
2). Stitch the darts.
a) Pin the darts from the right side of the skirt, making sure all the registration marks are aligned. Press them all in the same direction, using a pressing ham to shape the curves. Baste across the top edge of each dart to secure it in place.
b) Use contrasting thread (and a topstitching needle if the thread is heavy) to edgestitch each dart close to the fold. Be sure to keep the registration marks aligned and stitch each dart as far as you like toward the side seam; backstitch so the stitching doesn’t come undone.
3). Assemble the back and waistband. With the right sides together and edges aligned, stitch one back waistband to the skirt back. Press the seam allowance toward the waistband.
Attach the waistband facing as shown. Press the bottom edge of the facing ½” to the wrong side.
Pin the back waistband facing in place along the waistline seam so it encases all of the seam allowances inside the waistband. Edgestitch close to both the top and bottom waistband edges.
4). Insert the elastic. Measure your total waist circumference (on your body) and divide it in half. Subtract 1″ and cut the elastic to this length. Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic and use it to thread the elastic through the back waistband. Baste each end of the elastic to the side edges of the waistband; this will gather up the back of the skirt.
FABRIC NOTE : I made this skirt out of lightweight chambray fabric and used contrasting thread to really highlight the asymmetrical darts. Choose a lightweight fabric to avoid too much bulk along the back waistline.
5). Attach the front waistband. Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of one of the front waistbands, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
With the right sides together and raw edges aligned, stitch the interfaced waistband to the skirt front. Press the seam allowance toward the waistband.
Pin the other front waistband (facing) to the front waistband with the right sides together and top edges aligned. Stitch along the top edge, starting and ending ½” from the sides. Press the seam allowance toward the facing and understitch it in place.
Press the bottom and sides of the waistband facing ½” to the wrong side.
6). Sew the side seams. With the right sides together and side edges aligned, stitch the skirt front to the back at the side seams. Do not sew through the front waistband facing.
7). Finish the front waistband. Pin the front waistband facing in place, encasing all the seam allowances inside the waistband, including the side-seam allowances. Topstitch the front waistband in place close to the top, bottom, and side edges.
8). Hem the skirt. Press under the bottom edge in a 1″ double-fold hem, then topstitch close to the inside fold.
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