Hello hello, are you all ready for day 3 of the Named Dakota sew-with-us series? We’ve now assembled our pattern and cut our fabric, and also made up the bodice. So today, it’s time to make the skirt!
Sewing the skirt
First up, let’s sew up those skirt panels!
Now, you may notice that there aren’t any side-seam notches to help you figure out which panel goes onto which other panel. But never fear, all is not lost! Hopefully you copied over the CB (centre back) marking onto the back skirt pieces – start there, by joining them up with the centre back markings joined to each other. Next, add on piece #6 (the back side panels) – you can figure out which way to attach them by comparing the lengths of the skirt panels – the Dakota has a shaped hem, so for the skirt panels, one side will always be longer than the other. Just find the side that’s the same length as the not-yet-stitched-up back panel side, and join ’em together. Moving on to the front side panels, do the same again. And finally, add on the centre front panels. (Note: the side panels, front and back, both have markings for pocket placement, and are wider than the front and back panels, to make it easier to figure out where they go.)
Here’s a tip from me to you – leave that centre front skirt seam unsewn for now. We’re going to make and attach the pockets next, and it’s a lot easier to sew them on to a flat skirt than one that’s fully joined together.
Here’s my skirt, all stitched together (except for that centre front seam) and seams pressed open:
Making and attaching the pockets
Pocket time! (Oh, how I do love pockets! So practical.)
Time for another tip from me: the first thing to do with the pockets is to stitch down the top edge. I recommend pressing this seam first – it’ll make for a much neater finish. Just press it, then stitch it. Easy!
Once the pockets are prepped, it’s time to attach them to the skirt. I like to use pins to help me align things like pockets with placement notches – I simply stick pins through the fabric, from the wrong side to the right side, right through the placement marks. And then I align whatever it is I’m lining up (in this case, pockets) with those pins. That way, I don’t have to transfer markings to the right side of the fabric (which also means I can wear the garment as soon as it’s finished, without having to worry about visible chalk marks or the like. Win!)
Now that you’ve got your pockets attached, it’s a good time to sew up that centre front skirt seam. (Unless you’re doing a nursing-friendly pattern hack like I am – I’ll be leaving that seam open for now, so I can insert an invisible zip there.)
Attaching the skirt to the bodice
Now it’s time to make it look like a dress! Nice and easy – simply pin the pocket flaps to the skirt (aligning the edges with the notches), then pin the bodice over the top. Make sure your centre front and centre back seams and side seams are all aligned, and stitch it all together. Done! 🙂
Unless you’re wanting to add an invisible zip, like I did. In which case, here’s how to do that pattern hack….
Adding a centre front invisible zip (pattern hack)
As I mentioned in yesterday’s sew-with-us post, I’m doing a couple of pattern hacks on my dress. The main one is adding a centre-front invisible zipper – I’ve got a little baby due to arrive very soon, so I’ll be needing speedy access to certain parts of my anatomy for the next year or so! Want to add a centre front invisible zip like I am? Here’s what to do next:
Yesterday, we left the centre front seam of the bodice unstitched, and so far today we’ve left the centre front seam of the skirt unstitched. Now’s the time to add the zipper and close that long centre front seam up!
Sew on your zipper, aligning the start of it with the bottom of the collar (or in my case, the bottom of the piping, which is slightly lower). The zipper tape above the start of the zipper will be on the inside of your collar, so it’ll end up tucked neatly out of sight.
Sew up the rest of the centre front seam, from the bottom of the zipper to the base of the skirt.
Remember how we left the bottom part of the collar facing (from the notch on down) loose yesterday? It’s time to stitch that down. Pin it over both the collar and the invisible zip, and stitch it in place, making sure you don’t catch the invisible zipper’s teeth in your stitching. Now when you flip it around to the right side, it’ll be a mini facing and the zipper tape will be nicely enclosed down to waist seam. Since I added piping to my collar, I made sure to pull the little end bit of it out of the way towards the bodice side seam while stitching down the facing, so that it’s got a neat finish on the outside of the collar (see how its been pulled inwards away from the seam?).
Once that facing is fully attached, we can go and topstitch it down (another step that wasn’t done yesterday, since it had to wait until the zipper was sewn in). Just do what it said in the bodice instructions, and top stitch the facing all the way around from the waist on one side to the waist on the other side.
And we’re done! One centre front invisible zip successfully added to the Dakota dress. 🙂
How’s your Dakota sewing going? Ready to join me in adding sleeves to our dresses tomorrow?