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We’re almost through the month of September, but our Sew Along is still going strong! Check in with Gretchen as she finishes up her Skirt with Front Pleats project and make sure to stay tuned for last minute sewing tips and tricks from all of our participants.

Have you finished up your skirt yet? We are dying to see how you each let you individuality shine with this project, so make sure to upload your finished garments with “Sew Along” in the title for the chance to be a part of our Sew Along slideshow and win great prizes from Coats & Clark and Free Spirit Fabrics!

Welcome back, skirt sew-alongers! This is the last installment of the sew-along (sniff). Last week we applied our waistbands and installed our invisible zippers. Today, we’ll hem and finish the skirt!

First, mark your hem. I do this using a dress form and my handy vintage pin marker. These are great little contraptions that you can find both new and vintage. The have a stand that lets them sit upright on the floor.


I got mine on eBay. You just set it to the height you want, clamp the metal part down on the skirt, and insert a pin. Voila!

You can also have someone mark your skirt while you’re wearing it, by measuring from the floor up with a yard stick and marking consistently around. Then there’s the most likely scenario: you don’t have a dress form or anyone to help you mark. We’ve all been there! What you can do is fold up the hem where you think you want it (i.e., fold it up 2” all the way around), try it on, and adjust the hem by eyeballing it. This can get frustrating, but it is possible.

Next, press your hem along your marked hemline.


Now we’re going to even up the hem allowance. To make a narrow hem, you only need a 1/2” hem allowance. Measure 1/2” down from your marked hemline and cut evenly all the way around to neaten. I like to use a rotary cutter and clear ruler to get a nice clean edge.


Now, fold in the hem so the raw edge meets the hem fold. Pin in place and press.


Edgestitch along the fold. You’ll have to do this in sections since we left our pleat seams unsewn 4” from the bottom. (Remember that step way back in week 2?)

Now we’re going to sew up those last 4” on each pleat seam. To avoid the seam allowances peeking out from the bottom of the skirt, you’ll want to fold the allowances together and turn them under diagonally. Pin in place and then finish stitching each pleat seam.


Here’s what it looks like from the back.


Ladies, your skirt is done! Your last step is to model your new creation and take a photo to upload and show off.


I hope you’ve all enjoyed the sew-along. It’s been such fun writing it! I’ll leave you with a cat picture since I know you like that kind of thing. Here’s my little Pippi, who fell asleep in a box on my cutting table after rolling all over a piece of red wax tracing paper. Notice the chic pink patch on her arm? That took days to come off.


Happy National Sewing Month to all!



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    Sep 26, 2011, 04.38 PMby lunamom2

    I love, love love this skirt!!! Thank you so much Gretchen.

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    Sep 26, 2011, 10.09 AMby estherosita

    Hey!! the finished skirt looks amazing!

    I’ve had to drop the project for the time being – a quick mock-up I made and while it’s a cute skirt, it’s just not gonna suit me at the shape I currently am. oh well. I’ve printed out the steps so I’ll file them away for when I want to make this for someone else.. \ thanks for the opportunity, Gretchen! I hope there are more sew-alongs you can lead in the future!

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    Sep 23, 2011, 10.21 PMby harrietbazley

    Hem marking without assistance – the tip I got from an old book was to ‘sidle up to a table’ (I love the way they put it) at somewhere around/just below hip-height and revolve against it while marking off with chalk where the table edge falls all around the skirt. This gives you a line round the skirt parallel to the floor without distorting it by your bending over – then you measure downwards along each seam the required amount for the desired skirt length.

    Disclaimer – I haven’t actually tried this!

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    Sep 21, 2011, 03.42 PMby turtlegirl00

    the skirt turned out adorable!! And so good to see pippi! i will have to post pics of Tubbs… i am way behind in the sew along but still enjoying it very much!! Thanks so much for posting great pics and descriptions. I also love the shoes!!!

  • Missing

    Sep 21, 2011, 07.44 AMby crinkle

    Pin marker – what a great idea. I hadn’t heard of this so looking out for one.

    Your skirt is great – I’ve followed along with a basic a-line lined skirt as I was worried the pleats would add too much bulk to my already ample hips but seeing the finished thing, I think i will give the pattern a go.

    Kitties are so cute :-) Thanks for the wonderful sewalong – my first and I’ve really enjoyed it and would never have thought of using just crossgrain ribbon for the waistband – I thought it was only used for the inside as a facing. Your instructions have been so clear and I’ve learned loads – can’t wait for the next sewalong.

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    Sep 21, 2011, 01.22 AMby meggiemoo

    That skirt is so cute!! Just wondering, what was the reason for leaving the end of the pleast unsewn and then turning the little triangle/diamond up after hemming? I have never seen that technique before – mind you, my experience of hemming is very limited!

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    Sep 20, 2011, 08.32 PMby carottesauvage

    Yeah cats always win me over…mostly when they get the pink treatment. Are you testing dyes on yours :)? Thanks for the tutorials, and cute skirt!

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    Sep 20, 2011, 08.21 PMby nouvellegamine

    wow! seriously cute.

    and i think i’m going to have to pick up a pin marker. i didn’t even know about them.

    • This is a question
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