The quest to become up close and personal with my serger continues, in the next installment of The Knit Diaries – a maxi skirt. So, I’m not going to lie, when I realized that the maxi skirt was “in” this spring, I had to actually look up what a maxi skirt was. Let me just say, wikipedia totally schooled me on my skirt lore. Who knew there was so much I didn’t know abut skirts? Dirndl, and Prairie and Scooter skirts, oh my! I know, I know…..for a sewer, I’m terribly fashion illiterate. What I quickly realized was that a maxi skirt is just a fancy way of saying a long, A-line skirt. And since, A-line skirts are about the only type of skirt that looks good on me, I was psyched. So, after hunting around on Pinterest for awhile for some inspiration (see the lovely skirt below), I knew that a striped maxi was exactly how I wanted to delve into this wild and wonderful world of long hemlines.
I have a maxi dress from last season, which I used (sort of) as a template to get that nice A-line shape for my front and back panel. When cutting, I made sure to leave a lot of fabric (without the A-line slant) at the top so that I could figure out a waistline for my skirt.
Once I had my two panels cut, I serged down both side seams. Then, I thought more about the waistband. I decided to try a shirred waistband for my maxi. Why shirring, you may ask? Well, I wanted to learn the technique, it’s a pretty easy way of creating a waistband, and I like the look. What’s even better? All you need to have to ‘get your shirr on’ is some elastic thread, which I happened to have scored a lot of in a flea market find, and a sewing machine.
I put the elastic thread in the bobbin and regular thread up top in my machine. I adjusted the stitch length to a basting stitch and I was ready to go. I folded the top of my skirt in on itself to the inside to create 4-inch waistband – which at this point just looked like a double layer of fabric at the top. I pinned around the circumference to hold that slippery knit fabric in place.
I began stitching at the edge of the waistband and continued all the way around the top. As I stitched, I began to see the elastic bobbin thread cause the fabric feeding out to begin to slightly gather. (See below.)
After finishing the first row, I quickly realized that I’d better take care of securing the open edge of the waistband (on the inside of my skirt) before the waistband got too gathered. So, I set up my serger to do a coverstitch and did a wide coverstitch at the very bottom edge of the waistband. Then, I continued to stitch shirring rows (spaced about every 1/2 inch from one another) down my waistband. I had to be careful to stretch out my fabric as I was shirring it just enough so that it would lay flat as it went under the presser foot, but not enough so that the elastic only brought the knit fabric back to neutral and didn’t really gather it after it was stitched.
When I was finished with the waistband, I had 8 shirred rows. My waistband now has great stretch and is super comfy! The only thing left to do to finish my skirt was hem it. So, I put it on and made a note of where I wanted to hem it. Then, using the stripes as a guide, I used a wide coverstitch to put in the hem. My maxi skirt was ready to wear out on the town…..or at least to my side yard for some pictures until later tonight! :-)