Here is Part 2 of our first Sew-Along for Home Ec: the Poppy Skirt. To start this project from the beginning, click HERE. To follow the whole “Learn to Sew” series, click on the button on the sidebar.
To refresh your memory, this is what we’re making:
Okay let’s pick up where we left off…
Time to add the flower at the top of our poppy stems! Get out your buttons…
To machine-sew buttons, first you have to drop the feed-dog. The feed-dog is the little ‘teeth’ underneath the foot that feeds that fabric through the machine. Most machines have a little lever or button that will drop the feed-dog. Consult your manual to find where this is. Your machine may not have this option, so you can just slide a thin piece of cardboard over the feed-dog and tape it on. On my machine, the button lies behind the base, after you pull out the detachable tray.
There is the slide button…I just slide it over to drop the feed-dog. To raise them again later, I push the button back and then wind the handwheel (don’t forget that part!)
To sew the button on: Place your button where you want it (you can put a piece of clear tape over if you’re nervous about it staying put.) Bring your foot down over it, making sure the button holes are showing through the foot. Choose the zigzag stitch and using the handwheel at the same time, adjust the width until the needle pierces the fabric through each hole.
You can either wind the handwheel to sew the button on or slowly run the machine. Make sure your needle is going to go through the holes though, because it is easy to break the needle or the button by not being precise. It might take several tries until you master this, but once you do, it is the easiest thing in the world and such a useful thing to know how to do!
Sew on all your buttons…practice makes perfect!
Next, turn your fabric right sides together. This means the side with the print or pattern (the ‘right’ side) is facing the inside.
Pin the sides together if you want. They should lie well so I usually don’t pin. But pinning is always better than needing to unpick later. I always use the edge of my foot as my seam allowance guide. (The seam allowance is the distance from the seam to the edge of the fabric.)
So after I sew the line, this is what it looks like. Not perfect, but it’s for me, so I don’t care.
Finish the seam off by doing a zigzag down the side. This helps prevent fraying.
After you’ve sewn up the sides, it’s time to make the elastic waist casing. At the top, turn down a 1/4 inch and iron. Then turn down about 1 1/2 inches and iron again.
Sew along the edge of the casing (see how the edge of my foot meets the edge of the casing?) Stop just before you meet your starting point, leaving a place where you can slip in your elastic.
This is a good width of elastic for a skirt. To measure elastic length for this skirt, I put the elastic around my own waist and pulled it a tiny bit. I didn’t want the skirt to be super bunchy because I think that would lose the print visually. The elastic is just to keep it up.
Cut the length and put a safety pin at the end. I also tend to put a straight pin through the other end just in case I pull my elastic too far, it won’t go inside the casing.
Put the safety pin side through your opening and use it to work your elastic through the casing.
Pull both ends out pretty long so you can easily sew them together.
Put your elastic one on top of the other like this. This will prevent a lump in the elastic. Make sure your elastic in the skirt is not twisted!
Sew a seam, then backstitch, then stitch, then backstitch. Basically just go back and forth until it’s really secure.
Clip off the excess and then sew the last little part shut.
Now onto the hem!
Iron the bottom of the skirt 1/4 inch up and then about 1/2 inch after that.
Sew the hem closed. (Hems are pretty easy, huh?)
You are done!
Congratulations! You now know how to:
Sew a straight stitch
Machine sew a button
Sew a side seam
Make an elastic casing
Sew a hem
Our next project will be a bit more challenging that this, written by a special guest poster. So stay tuned!