Making a 1940’s skirt

I am using simplicity pattern 1261, this pattern was printed in 1944 (if I remember right I know that makes it quite ‘old’) and hasn’t been reprinted so it might be hard to find one in your size, but I encourage you to still look (try eBay and Etsy). My first pattern I found at at thrift store but, the size was too small for the skirt so I looked it up on eBay and found one I wanted. The poor thing was quite fragile but armed with packing tape I managed to reinforce it so it can last.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Okay then lets get into it!!!

First I got out my pattern pieces, navy fabric, and read through the instructions (this might be the most important part.)

Now (you should iron out your pattern and material but I was naughty and I didn’t) I pinned my pattern pieces to the fabric and cut it out. Remember to mark the holes and tick mark on to the fabric, minus the 3 large dots)

This what the pattern showed for laying it out
this is cut on the fold

Now I pinned the 2 right sides (right as in the right side and wrong side) to one another then sewed the 2 skirt pieces together.

The next step I ended up mixing up and having to redo some stuff, So I hope this will help you do it in the right order. I was stumped when it came to reinforcing the side opening of the skirt. So I turned to you tube and found a great video about that. Let me explain; I cut a 2 inch strip of fabric on the bias (cut diagonally) and hemmed up one of the edges twice. So one side was hemmed one was raw. I then sewed the raw edge of the strip to the one side of the side opening when I gt the the bottom of the opening I sewed a little past then lifting the presser foot but leaving the needle simply turned the skirt and keep sewing the same strip up the second side. (if this is confusing I encourage you to look up a quick tutorial)

Now I gathered the skirt, again I used a two basting stitch lines one 1/2 inch from edge and the second 5/8 inches away. I gently (don’t pull to much or they might brake) pulled the top threads to gather the waist of the skirt.

I then went to the waistband. I used the waist band pattern to cut out some fusible interfacing, then trimmed a little (approx. 1/8 inch) from the edge.

I then ironed the interfacing to my waistband (remember your interfacing won’t stick unless it is the fusible. If you don’t have fusible stuff you can baste stitch it on.)

Now I pinned my waistband to the gathered top of my skirt. lining up the tops evenly and pinning with right sides together I stitched 1/2 inch. Try to arrange your gathers so they are even and not to bunched up or spaced out in one spot.

I then flipped the waist band to the inside, turned under the other raw edge(tucking in the corners) , pinned and sewed down.

I then went to the bottom of the skirt to do a hem, It wasn’t just a normal double hem. First a turned over about 1/4 inch pinned and sewed.-

Then I turned up 1 3/4 inches and pinned. I whip-stitched it down. Whip stitching was still new to me even though I did it once before (that was for closing a hole not a hem) but I enjoyed it. You might ask, “Why not just use the machine? Well the beauty of the whip-stitch is that it is almost invisible from the other side.

Now the only thing left for me to do was sew on the hook and eye fasteners and snap buttons. Again you tube came in handy as I looked up a tutorial. First I attached the hook and eye fasteners to the waist band.

I placed the hook where I wanted it then sewed around the two circles using doubled up thread as if they were eyelets. Before finishing I also sewed a few across the straight part of the neck to keep it from flipping or flopping. I then measured (by eye or by tape) up how far apart they were then sewed their respectable eyes to the other side at the same distance.

I then sewed on the snap buttons which also took a bit of time, but I simply (again with double thread) sewed on the snaps going though each hole, Remember to sew them on firmly and even like, so they don’t wiggle (I had to fix a few) Also remember to match up the other side of the snap so it lines up at the same distance and doesn’t bunch weirdly.

Now I tried on my skirt, I had been trying it on through the process and worried it wouldn’t fit right but, I was pleasantly surprised to find it not only pretty but comfortable.

I am excited that it turned out well and it has really given me a new appreciation for clothing.

I have discovered that their is always new skills to learn and that it sometimes takes a lot of perseverance!!! So I want to say that if you are struggling through a project, you should give your self a break but don’t put everything away, take a walk read a book then come back to it when you are refreshed. If you are feeling super rushed practice some deep breathing and put on some calm music.

Anyways I hope you enjoyed this post (If so please ‘like it’ and leave a comment) and are encouraged to take on some sewing or any hobby before to long! Join me next time as I make a matching ‘peasant style’ blouse to go with my skirt. (and thank you to all who read this post and also to those who voted on my story prompts!)


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