The New Dressmaker/Chapter 9

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Skirt Patterns—Pattern Alterations—Cutting—Foundation or Drop Skirt—Inside Belt—Putting the Skirt Together—Alterations—Hanging a Gored Skirt—Hanging a Circular Skirt—Altering the Length of a Gored Skirt—Placket—Finish of Seams—Seam Allowance at Top of Skirt—Finish of Skirt

THE SKIRT PATTERN should be bought by the hip measure. (Chapter 2, page 11, instructions on getting the right-size patterns.)

PATTERN ALTERATIONS. Before cutting your material compare the waist measure given on the pattern (envelope with your own waist measure, and if it is too large or too small it can be altered according to instructions given in Chapter 2, page 11.

Compare the front length of the pattern below the regulation waistline with the length you want to make your marked skirt. You will the front length of the pattern given on the pattern envelope. The regulation waistline is marked on the pattern. If the pattern is too long or too short for you, alter the length as explained in Chapter 3, pages 22 and 23. When you decide on the length of your skirt, you must also decide whether you will finish it with a hem or facing. Advice on the use of hems and facings is given in Chapters 18 and 19. If you are a woman of average height, you will have to make an allowance for tile hem in cutting. Ladies' patterns do not allow for hems except in special instances. If you are shorter than the average, the skirt pattern may be sufficiently long to allow for the hem. Misses' patterns give a three-inch-hem allowance. In the case of a tall girl, or of a small woman who is using a misses' pattern, it may he necessary to make an additional hem allowance if a hem is used.

If your figure is irregular in any way, if you have prominent hips or a prominent abdomen, etc., the skirt pattern should w altered as explained in Chapter 5, pages 28–30.

CUTTING. Before cutting your material read Chapter (on Materials, Sponging, Steaming, Cutting, etc.

Lay the pattern on the material according to the Deltor layouts included in the pattern. If the pattern does not contain a Deltor, follow the cutting instructions given with the pattern. If you are not familiar with perforations and their uses, read Chapter 2, pages 15 to 18.

Cutout the skirt following the advice given in Chapter (i. Mark all the perforations with tailors' tacks. (Chapter 16, page 85.)

The notches can either be clipped or marked with two or three stitches in basting-cotton. If you clip them, cut them so that you can see them distinctly, but do not make them any deeper than necessary.

For your wash skirt the inside belt should be shrunken before it is used.

FOUNDATION OR DROP SKIRT. China silk is the best and most satisfactory material for the foundation or drop skirt. However, for wearing qualities many women prefer some of the lining materials which are mixtures of silk and cotton, or the better grades of perealine.

For the transparent materials such as lace, net, chiffon, Georgette or silk voile, Brussels net is the best material for the foundation or the drop skirt.

If the pattern has a foundation skirt it should be made before the skirt itself. The Deltor or Illustrated Instructions will show you, with pictures how to make the drop skirt. Then make the outside skirt, tunic or drapery, following the Deltor or Illustrated Instructions.

THE BELT. Make the belt following the pictures given in the Deltor or Illustrated Instructions.

Fasten your belt with good-sized hooks and eyes. Number eight is the best size to use for this purpose. For a belt of average width sew three hooks on the right end of the belt, placing them about one quarter of an inch in from the edge. Sew them through the rings and over the bill.

Sew three eyes on the left end of the belt, letting them extend far enough over the edge of the belt so as to fasten easily when the belt is hooked. Sew them through the rings and at the end of the belt. Except for a very narrow belt always use three hooks and eyes; with only two hooks and eyes a belt of ordinary width will bulge at the center.

PLAITS, SHIRRINGS, DRAPERIES, ETC. Lay in all the plaits, shirrings, draperies, etc., in the outside skirt, following the Deltor or Illustrated Instructions included in every Butterick pattern. Baste the seams. (Chapter 2, page 17.)

ALTERATIONS. Try the skirt on. If the above instructions have been followed at every point and each step of the work has been done carefully, the skirt should fit perfectly with possibly some minor adjustment of the length.

If through some small miscalculation the waist is too large, it can be taken in at the seam or darts if it is plain at the top. If the skirt is gathered, the gathers can be drawn a little closer. If it is plaited, the plaits can be made a trifle deeper.

The New Dressmaker, 1921, Ill. No. 0085.jpgIll. 85. To Get an Even Line at the Bottom of a Skirt If the waist is too small, the seams or darts can be let out if the skirt is plain at the top and allows for this alteration. If no allowance is made for this alteration, the skirt could be raised a trifle higher on the belt all the way around. If the skirt is gathered at the top, the fulness can be let out the necessary amount. If it is plaited, each plait can be let out a trifle.

In altering seams or darts the alteration should run gradually to the hip, unless the skirt is large or small at that point, in which case the alteration should run all the way to the bottom of the skirt. Be careful not to fit the skirt too tightly over the hips or the skirt will draw up and wrinkle when one sits down and will get out of shape. If the skirt sets properly, the center line at the front should be perpendicular.

HANGING A GORED SKIRT. To make sure a gored skirt is an even length all the way around, cut a strip of cardboard two inches wide and ten or twelve inches long. Make a notch at one long edge at the distance at which you want the skirt to clear the floor. Put your skirt on and stand on a table. (Ill. 85.) Have some one mark the correct length with the marker and pins. (Ill. 85.) Take the skirt off, turn it up at the pin-line and baste it.

Try the skirt on again, to be sure that the lower edge is perfectly even before hemming or facing it.

There are two ways of hanging a skirt if you have no one to help you. Take a straight, flat stick or a yard-stick long enough to reach from the floor to a line on the skirt which you can reach easily without bending. Just below the fullest part of the hips is the best point. Stand the stick upright on the floor, with one end touching your figure, and place a pin where the top of the stick touches the skirt. Move the stick around the figure a few inches at a time, marking it at each point. Take off the skirt and measure from the pins down to the correct length. Mark the correct length with pins. Turn it up, baste it and try it on.

The New Dressmaker, 1921, Ill. No. 0086.pngIll. 86. Hanging a Circular Skirt to Prevent Sagging Instead of using a stick you could make use of a dressing-table or any piece of furniture with a flat edge of a height that comes the right point just below the hip. Stand against the edge of the table and mark the skirt where the table touches it, turning slowly till you have marked all around the skirt. Then measure down the correct length as described above.

HANGING A CIRCULAR SKIRT. A circular skirt being cut on the bias will always stretch more or less. You should make it stretch as much as possible before hanging it, so that after the bottom is finished it will stretch as little as possible.

A skirt stretches because its own weight and the weight of the hem or facing draw it down. If you hang it up for two or three days properly weighted at the bottom, it will stretch as much as it can stretch and you can then hang it safely. Every woman who sews accumulates a lot of useless material which can be used to weight the lower part of the skirt. Fold the material in strips three or four inches wide and use sufficient strips to make four or five thicknesses. Pin the strips to the lower part of the skirt. (Ill. 86.) Pin the two halves of the skirt together at the top, and pin to the skirt loops of materials by which you can hang it up. (Ill. 86.) Slip the loops on hooks just far enough apart to hold out the belt evenly (Ill. 86) and let the skirt hang two or three days until the weight of the strips has stretched it thoroughly. Then you can turn up the lower edge of the skirt, following the directions given for hanging a gored skirt.

ALTERING THE LENGTH OF A STRAIGHT SKIRT. If the length is to be altered the same amount all the way around and the skirt is plain, the alteration can be made at the lower edge. If it hangs unevenly and must be altered more at some places than others, or the pattern has many markings for tucks, trimmings, etc., alteration must be made at the top so as not to lose the straight grain of the lower part of the skirt, and, if tucked, marked, for trimming, etc., so as not to alter the lines of the tucks or marks.

If a skirt has tucks, find out the amount to be taken up by the finished tucks and add that amount to the actual length of the skirt. Then stand on a footstool or pile of books tall enough to allow the entire skirt length, including the allowance for tucks, to hang straight. The skirt can then be hung, following the directions just given on the preceding page.


PLACKET. Make a placket following the directions in the Deltor or Illustrated Instructions and in Chapter 21, pages 100–102.

THE FINISH OF THE SEAMS depends on the weight and texture of the material. The skirts of thin cotton materials and Georgettes may be finished with French seams (Chapter 17, page 86), or machine-hemstitched seams (Chapter 25, page 118), or the seams may be rolled and overcast (Chapter 17, page 87), or be cut close and overcast together. (Chapter 16, page 82.)

The seams in net, chiffon, etc., should be made as invisible as possible. They may be machine-hemstitched, rolled and overcast, or cut close and overcast together.

In wool, silk or satin materials seams can be pressed open (Chapter 32, page 154), or turned to one side and bound with ribbon seam-binding.

The seams can be pressed open and the edges turned under, stitched close to the turning, but not through the skirt. This is a quick finish and very neat. Or the edges may be finely overcast.

Wool materials and silks which do not fray, such as broadcloth, taffeta, crêpe de Chine, may be pinked. (Chapter 17, page 87.) Any of the French seams may be used for silk or satin. (Chapter 17, page 86.) The thinner silks may have machine hemstitched seams. (Chapter 25, page 118.)

For velvet it is best to hind the seams. (Chapter 17, page 88.)

For heavy cotton materials and gingham the seams may be pressed open or turned to one side and bound with lawn seam-binding. Gingham may also be finished with any of the French seams.

THE SEAM ALLOWANCE AT THE TOP OF THE SKIRT should be turned down on the inside of the belt and its edge covered with seam-binding. Press the seams. (Chapter 32, page 154.)

FINISH THE BOTTOM OF THE TUNIC OR DRAPERY according to the instructions given in the Del tor.