Hello dearies! Well here it finally is! The construction tutorial for the zipper-free half circle skirt. Are you all ready to see the assembly side of things? Trust me, it’s stinking easy. Plus, I added some brief instructions for suspenders at the end, since I made some for my skirt, and I knew you all would probably like to know how I made them.
1. First off, you will need your pattern (which you can see how to draft here). Go ahead and lay that out on your (pre-washed if necessary) fabric, according to the grain markings made on the pattern. Match up any patterns that you wish (I had a stripe chevroning at the side), and cut out.
2. Sew your CENTER BACK and FRONT SEAMS(we’re just using a straight stitch throughout the whole tutorial).
3. Press your seams flat, then…
4. Press them open!
The next step is just a method that you can use for finishing your raw seam edges. You could pink, overlock, or whatever method is best suited to your material. My method that I used is just a simple turn under and stitch which I will illustrate below.
5. After you’ve pressed your seams open, place your seam down flat on the ironing board and fold out a seam allowance away from the skirt. Press about 1/4″ of the seam allowance towards the seam. Repeat on the other raw seam allowance edge, and on your front seam edges.
6. Sew down this fold that you’ve pressed on each seam allowance edge, and press your seams open again.
Voila! A beautiful finished seam! (note: the seam allowance is NOT top-stitched to the skirt. You are merely seeing the folded-under-and-stitched edges)
7. Go ahead and stitch up your SIDE SEAMS (I would advise using a basting stitch), but DON’T finish them yet.
8. Since our side seams are cut on the bias, we need to let them hang overnight, just to make sure they won’t draw. And if you’re wandering what drawing looks like on a bias seam, it will basically look as if your fabric is pulling from the hem to your seam. If this happens after it has hung overnight, simply unpick your stitches up to the point from which it is pulling, and let the fabric drop, then re-baste it.
9. After you’ve let your skirt hang overnight, and once you’ve fixed any drawing at the seams; repeat steps 2-6 on your SIDE SEAMS.
Congratulations! You’ve finished the skirt half of the tutorial! Now let’s move on to the waistband!
10. Sew up your waistband side seam (this will match up with your right side seam on your skirt).
11. Now we’re going to measure from notch to notch on the FRONT side of our waistband. You will know if you’re measuring the right side, if it crosses over the seam you made in step 10. Take this measurement and cut some interfacing the length of it, and half the width of your waistband pattern. I just used some petersham ribbon that I had on hand. You could use some fusible interfacing. Just make sure it doesn’t extend over the fold we will make in the next step.
12. Fold your waistband in half down the length of it (wrong sides together), and press a crease. Line up your interfacing that you cut in step 11 on this crease, making sure it is inside the waistband on the wrong side of the “facing”*(notched) side (if you’re using some sort of ribbon like me). If you’re using fusible interfacing, put it on the un-notched side on the wrong side of your waistband.
13. Secure your interfacing (I just stitched down my ribbon. That’s why we placed it on the facing side, so the stitching won’t show).
14. Press your seam allowance on the notched/facing edge up towards the crease you made in step 12, making sure it is on the wrong side ( it will cover your interfacing if you used ribbon). We want to leave the other seam allowance unpressed because that is the edge we will be sewing to our skirt.
15. Pin the un-notched edge of your waistband to your skirt, matching your right side seams, and left side seam with the left side seam marking of your waistband. Sew.
NOTE: After pinning this edge, fold over your waistband along the crease to see if it will cover the seam you will make. If it doesn’t, trim the un-notched seam allowance down about 1/8 of an inch (NO MORE!), reposition, and then sew to your skirt.
16. Press the seam allowance up towards the waistband, and fold the waistband to the wrong side along the crease, covering your seam allowance.
17. Turn your skirt around to the right side, and stitch in the ditch between your skirt and waistband, making sure you are catching the underside of the waistband too. See the note below step 15 if you’re having trouble. Leave two openings, about an inch wide, around the notch markings of your waistband. These are left open so we can thread our elastic through in the next step (this is a zipper free skirt after all!).
18. Cut your elastic a little bit longer than your desired measurement, plus seam allowances.
19. Thread your elastic through.
20. When one end of your elastic is lined up with your notch marking (i.e. matched up with the edge of your front interfacing), put a pin in it, making sure it is neatly tucked away inside your waistband.
21. Finish threading the elastic through to the other notch, and pin the same way as in step 20.
22. Stitch ONE side of your elastic from the top to the bottom of the waistband on the right side. Try on your skirt (put in a safety pin or two pins on the right side of the waistband holding the elastic, just so you won’t poke yourself, or have the chance of your elastic being pulled through), and pull the unstitched edge of the elastic until it is comfortable, making sure you can still get it off comfortably. Pin the elastic to the new length, trim if necessary, and stitch.
23. Now that you’ve stitched your elastic down, you can stitch up the openings we left in step 17.
Hooray! You have finished your skirt (almost). Now all you have to do is hem it however you like (I just folded up the edge twice and hand stitched it), and you are done!
Now if you would like to add button-on suspenders (scroll down to the bottom to see how those look), you can take a look at how I made mine below. WARNING: These are not fancy suspenders, i.e. they do not have elastic, suspender hooks, or any of those do-dads. If you want suspenders of that nature, go ahead and browse around on the web. There are plenty of darling tutorials for how to do that.
1. Measure from your center front seam out to about where you would like your suspenders to start. Mark. Pin another mark the same distance away from the center front on the other side. Repeat for the back.
2. Measure from the bottom of your waistband at the front marking to the bottom of your waistband at the back marking, making sure to cross the measuring tape over to the opposite marking in the back (just look at the picture if that didn’t make sense. :P). This will be the “finished/desired” measurement of our suspenders.
3. Add a few inches (I added four) to the measurement you took in step 2 and cut two rectangles this length by two times the desired width, plus seam allowances. My finished width was about an inch.
4. Fold your suspenders in half and sew up just the long edge. If you aren’t going to be interfacing your suspenders the way that I am going to do it, you can sew up one of the short edges too.
5. Turn your suspenders right side out and press, making sure your seam is in the middle of the under-side of your suspenders.
6. I stiffened my suspenders using grosgrain ribbon. If you want to do the same, just thread your grosgrain through the same way you would elastic.
7. Trim the grosgrain ribbon, fold under the raw edges of your suspenders and sew closed.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos of the next steps, but hopefully they will be clear enough on their own.
8. Sew on buttons on the inside of your waistband at the markings you made in step 1. I sewed mine on at the very bottom edge, so they didn’t have any chance of peeking out of the waistband.
9. Try on your skirt and pin your suspenders in place. Mark where the top edge of the waistband hits the suspenders. Make buttonholes in the end of your suspenders, a sensible distance below this mark: Straight up and down at the “front”, and Diagonally at the “back”. I made one buttonhole in each front half of my suspenders, and two diagonal buttonholes (reversing the direction of the angle on the other suspender) at each back suspender half. You can see a picture of my suspender buttonholes at the bottom of this post.
Congrats! You’ve now made yourself a cute pair of suspenders to wear with your skirt! Go ahead, button them on, put on your skirt, and twirl away!
–THE FINISHED PRODUCTS
I’ve always wanted a suspender skirt, and now I finally have one! I hope if you follow this tutorial that you will share your finished work! I would love to see it!
Just out of curiosity, would you all be interested in a Palazzo pants sew-along?
*the facing side is the side that will not be visible when the skirt is worn, and should be the side of your waistband pattern that is notched. It’s the side that sits up against your body.