February 28, 2012A Mad Men Sewalong! Peggy’s Perfect Skirt – Part 2 – Skirt Front
Hello Everyone! I am back again with the next installment of our Mad Men sewalong! Is everyone ready to start sewing?? Last time I left you with a bunch of pieces cut out and ready to go:
If you’re using the same pattern as me, and taken a peek at the instructions, you may notice that Simplicity makes mention of “units”:
Simplicity touted their “unit system of sewing” for many, many years. I am not sure when they started with this, but the oldest pattern in my personal collection is from the 1940s, and makes mention of this in the instructions.
The picture above is from my 1972 edition of the Simplicity Sewing Book, which explains the unit system in more detail. In general, if you run across any edition of the Simplicity Sewing Book, I recommend picking it up, as it’s an excellent basic reference book. I am not sure exactly when they abandoned the unit system, I think sometime in the 1980s. However, the Simplicity unit system is a nice way to divide up your sewing project if you’re not completing the whole thing in one sitting, and that’s the way we’ll be dividing up this sewalong.
Since we modified the pattern to use the contrasting inset for the pleats, the first thing we’re going to need to do is to attach our pleat insets to the skirt front and side front pieces. Start with the skirt front, and attach one of your pleat insets. Take note of the top of the pleat inset piece, you will have one side with a larger curve, and one side with a smaller curve. You need to make sure you are matching the side with the larger curve to your skirt front piece:
Once you’ve sewn this seam, you’ll need to attach the other side of the pleat inset to the skirt side front:
Repeat this for the other pleat inset, press your seams open and seam finish using your preferred method. You should now have a really big piece that looks something like this:
Now it’s time to sew your darts and press them. When pressing, press them towards the centre of your skirt:
Time to create some pleats! This part requires some definite attention to detail. You will want to fold your skirt down the centre of the pleat inset, and very carefully match your seams on either side of the pleat inset. You’re then going to sew from the top of the skirt to the dot:
When I sewed mine, instead of “stitching in the ditch” of the existing seam, I sewed just outside of the existing seam – this was just in case I didn’t have my pleat perfectly lined up. This way I won’t have any white fabric peeking through at the top of the pleat.
Once you’ve done this, press your pleats and stay stitch along the top of the skirt. Et voila! Your skirt front is done!
Come back in two weeks, when we’ll work on our skirt back. As always, please ask any questions you might have in the comments. I’d also love to see progress photos! If you’ve got any you’d like to share, please feel free to send them to me at email@example.com. Happy Sewing!