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We’re about half way through our September Sew Along with our friends at Coats & Clark, FreeSpirit Fabrics and Tula Pink. Have you started your garment yet?

This week, Gretchen continues with her Skirt with Front Pleats, concentrating on the waistband. Click through for Gretchen’s detailed instructions and stay tuned for one more week of steps and tutorials as we close out National Sewing Month in style!

Welcome back to the skirt sew-along! Today we will complete the exciting jobs of applying the waistband and zipper.

The last thing we did in last week’s installment was to do a basted fitting. After you’re happy with your fit, permanently stitch the right side seam of your skirt and press the seam allowances open. Leave your left side seam open for now.

The waistband requires two lengths of 3/4" wide grosgrain or petersham ribbon. (Don’t know the difference? Grosgrain has a straight edge, while petersham’s edge has a tiny scallop at each rib on the edge.) The pattern directions give you lengths to cut for each size, but I would recommend measuring your waist to get a custom fit, especially if you’ve made any changes to the fit of the pattern. I simply wrapped the ribbon around my waist where I wanted to wear the skirt, added 1-1/4” for seam allowances on the zipper opening side, and cut two pieces this length.

Next, pin one length of the ribbon flat to the waistband edge of your skirt, with the bottom edge of the ribbon on the seam allowance. This means that your 3/4" ribbon will extend 1/8” beyond the raw edge of the skirt. Make sense? On the zipper opening, the ribbon will match up with the raw edges of the fabric.


Baste the ribbon in place by hand.


Place the second length of ribbon on the inside of the skirt, pinning it in place.


Edgestitch around the ribbon on the two long sides. I like to use my edgestitch foot for this purpose (Bernina #10), which has a center “blade” that helps you get a perfectly even edgestitch every time.


Remove your basting stitches. There’s your waistband!


Now let’s put in the invisible zipper. Start by pressing in the left side seam allowances 5/8”.


-Pin your left zipper tape so that the teeth line up with your pressed edge. The top zipper stop will line up with the top of your ribbon waistband. It will look like this.
-Using an invisible zipper foot, stitch down the left side of the zipper. Make sure that your stitches are right in the crevice of the zipper teeth.
-Repeat this on the right side of your zipper.


-Now you will complete the skirt side seam. Switch to a regular zipper foot and stitch from the zipper stitches down to the hem, holding the zipper tape out of the way.
-Press the seam open. The top seam allowance on the zipper tape will be sticking out at the top of your skirt.


Fold it in, pin it in place, and then stitch it down by hand.


That’s it for this week! Next week we’ll finish our skirts.



  • Missing

    Sep 29, 2011, 11.54 PMby Jennie De Groot

    I am up to date~! I added some length to the waistband ribbon so I can tie a side bow….I find my waist measurements fluctuate on an almost daily basis(sighs deeply) so it is usefull to have a little extra leeway . The ribbon allows me to “tighten” the waistband that fraction to make it sit on my waist…and not slip to my knees(no hips,you see…..).next we hem?!Am loving this sew-a-long! Thank you!

  • 014_large

    Sep 17, 2011, 01.04 AMby lunamom2

    my skirt is looking great! I can’t wait to hem it and start wearing it.

    1 Reply
    • Glasses_0_large

      Sep 19, 2011, 01.02 AMby gertie

      Yay! We shall hem this week!

  • Img_2199_large

    Sep 15, 2011, 07.34 PMby katubelitos

    ¡Gracias, Gretchen! Explicado foto a foto es muy claro para nosotros los principiantes…

    1 Reply
    • Glasses_0_large

      Sep 16, 2011, 06.28 PMby gertie

      De nada, my dear!

  • Ghetto_girl_goes_to_colo__large

    Sep 13, 2011, 04.17 PMby turtlegirl00

    love it!!! i love the fabric and the skirt is adorable!

    1 Reply
    • Glasses_0_large

      Sep 19, 2011, 01.03 AMby gertie

      Thanks so much!

    • This is a question
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