Design Variation : Button-Front Closure
A front-button front skirt design is a great way to showcase your favorite buttons. This project will teach you how to extend the pattern to accommodate any button size. The skirt shown is made of sports-weight cotton twill, but it would also look great dressed up in a fancier fabric like tweed or washed silk.
Draft the Pattern
1). Trace your straight skirt front and back slopers onto drafting paper, leaving space all around for design features and seam allowances. Change the pattern to a one-dart silhouette in the front. Lower the waistline and change the skirt length as desired on both front and back patterns.
2). Draft the pockets. This skirt requires two pocket pattern pieces: a pocket facing and a pocket backing. Draw the pocket opening on your skirt front, following the shape of the innermost dart leg, starting at the top edge and ending at the side seam. Then, draw the outside edges of the pocket bag, making the pocket as deep as you want.
3). Make the pocket patterns. Trace the pocket facing and pocket backing onto separate paper to make the pattern pieces as shown. Be sure to trace the dart legs onto the pocket backing piece. Cut away the top corner of the skirt front along the pocket opening.
4). Plan for buttons. Measure and record the diameter of the button. Draw the button extension by extending the center front the amount equal to the button diameter.
5). Draw the center-front facing. The facing can be drafted as a separate piece, but it’s easy to incorporate it into the skirt front. To draft an attached facing, extend the center front again, this time by twice the button diameter. Mark the line between the extension and the facing as the button extension foldline. Then, add ½” hem allowance along the outside edge.
6). Buttonhole placement. Draw evenly spaced markings for the buttonhole positions, following these guidelines:
• Note that the buttonhole on the waistband is horizontal while the buttonholes on the extension are vertical. (You will add the waistband buttonhole later.)
• Buttonholes should be ⅛” longer than the diameter of the button.
• Plan for a buttonhole at the waist and the fullest part of the hips. The bottom-most button should end 3″ to 4″ above the hemline.
• Mark the vertical buttonholes directly along the center front. Mark the horizontal buttonhole on the waistband to begin ⅛” beyond the original seamline.
• Remember the buttons will rest at the top of a vertical buttonhole and at the right of a horizontal buttonhole.
DRAFTING BUTTON CLOSURES
This skirt features a button placket along the center front, with an overlap and underlap for the button and the buttonholes. However, you can use the instructions to add a button placket anywhere on your design (for instance, at a side seam, using smaller buttons). Buttons can be placed horizontally or vertically, as shown.
7). Draft the button extension interfacing pattern by tracing the center-front facing. Do not include the ½” hem allowance.
8). Draft a 2″-wide one-piece waistband with separate facing. Keep in mind that you need to extend the waistband to accommodate the new button extension (minus the facing). Mark a horizontal buttonhole (the same length as vertical buttonholes) in the center of the waistband, starting ⅛” to the right of the original center front and extending toward the side seam.
9). Add a slit or vent to the skirt back if desired.
10). Complete the pattern. Add ½” seam allowances to all the pieces (except where it has already been added), including the pocket opening on the skirt front. Add 2½” hem allowance to the skirt front and back.
- 2 yards of 44/45″ fabric
- ⅓ yard of fusible interfacing
- Matching thread
- Contrasting topstitching thread (optional)
- 5 buttons, approximately 1¼” in diameter
- Topstitching machine needle (optional)
- Temporary fabric marker
Sew the Twiggy Skirt
1). Cut out the fabric. Use the newly drafted pattern to cut the following :
• From fabric: two skirt fronts with attached facings, two skirt backs, two pocket backings, two pocket facings, two waistbands.
• From interfacing: one waistband and two button extension facings.
SEWING TIP : Since the buttons and buttonholes are such an important design feature, make sure you practice making buttonholes on two layers of fabric and a layer of interfacing to duplicate the skirt facing.
2). Apply interfacing. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the corresponding interfacing to the wrong side of one waistband and the button extension facings. For each facing, position the interfacing ½” away from the front raw edge of the button extension facings on the wrong side.
3). Stitch the darts in the pocket backing and skirt back. Topstitch the pocket opening as desired before stitching the pocket facing to the pocket backing.
4). Stitch the center-back seam with the right sides together. If you drafted a center-back vent or slit.
5). Sew the side seams. Stitch the skirt fronts to the skirt backs at the side seams with the right sides together. Press the bottom raw edge ½” to the wrong side. Then turn and press it under again 2″.
6). Sew the center-front facings. Unfold the pressed bottom edges. Press the raw edge of both skirt front facings ½” to the wrong side. Fold the facings to the wrong side along the marked foldlines and then refold the pressed hem. Pin the facings and hem the edge in place.
7). Topstitch the inner pressed edge of the facing extensions, the outside edge of the extensions, and the hem. Refer to the photograph, pivoting at the hem edge of the extensions to continue the stitching from the top of the extension around the hem and back up to the other extension. This will create two lines of topstitching around the hem.
TIP : The distance between the button position and the finished edge of the garment should measure between three-quarters and the full diameter of the button.
8). Add the waistband. Assemble and attach the one-piece waistband with separate facing. The waistband will begin and end evenly with the edges of the center front overlap and underlap. Add edgestitching as desired.
9). Sew the buttonholes. Refer to your pattern and mark the location of the buttonholes on the right skirt front (women’s clothing closes right over left). Remember that the buttonhole on the waistband is horizontal while the buttonholes on the extension are vertical. Following your machine’s instructions, machine-stitch each buttonhole.
To make sure you are positioning the skirt in the machine correctly, sew a practice buttonhole on scrap fabric. Carefully cut the buttonholes open with a buttonhole-cutter, small s harp scissors, or a seam ripper.
10). Sew on the buttons. Close the skirt and use a temporary fabric marker to mark the desired button locations on the left skirt. For vertical buttonholes, buttons should be centered in the buttonhole. For horizontal buttonholes, the button should be positioned at the original stitch line (or ⅛” to the inside of the buttonhole).
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