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February 14, 2012

Mad Men Sewalong – Peggy’s Perfect Skirt – Part 1 – Pattern Prep and Cutting

By Andrea

Happy Valentine’s Day! Is everyone ready to start sewing?  It’s time to start our Mad Men sewalong!  For a reminder about the dress and pattern we’re using, see my previous post here.  However, if there’s another pattern that tickles your fancy more, or suits your body type better, feel free to substitute that one.

Let’s start by prepping our pattern.  Some people prefer to trace vintage patterns, and keep the original intact; whereas some people prefer to just use them as is.  The choice is up to you, I prefer to trace them if it’s uncut, or if I am going to be grading it up.

This one I am going to be grading up, so I am just going to give the originals a bit of a press, since they’ve been folded in the same envelope for the past 40-some years.  I am not going to cover grading here, as Threads Magazine has done a much better job in this article than I ever could.

As the original pattern was intended to be made from a singular type of fabric, we’re going to have to create a pattern piece for the contrast inset for our pleat.  Let’s get started!

You’ll notice on the skirt front, and the skirt side front, there is a pleat line marked.  This is the line that we’ll use to make our other pattern piece.

We’re going to start by tracing the center front portion of the skirt, which is the right side that I have my hand on here.  You will notice that I am not copying the notches when I trace the pattern – this is because I am grading mine up, and they probably won’t match.  I am, however, transferring the dots and darts.

Trace your pattern piece, ending along the pleat line.  Add 5/8″ seam allowance along the left side.  This is your new center front skirt piece.

Next, we’re going to make the pleat insert pattern piece.  Grab your skirt front piece again.  This time, we’re going to trace from the pleat line, up to the seam allowance line on the left side.  We don’t need this seam allowance, so don’t include it in your tracing.

However, we do need to add a seam allowance for where we will attach the piece on the right side, so add a 5/8″ seam allowance there.

Now, grab your side front skirt piece.  You are going to want to line up the seam allowance line on the right with the left edge of the pattern piece you just traced.  Line these up, and trace this piece up to the pleat line.

Once again, add your 5/8″ seam allowance to the left side of this piece.  You’re now done with the pleat inset piece!

Now, we’re going to make the skirt side front piece.  Grab the original side front, we’re going to be tracing the left side up to the pleat line.

Once again, add your 5/8″ seam allowance, this time to the left side.  We’re now done pattern prep!  The waistband and the skirt back will be used as-is.

Time to lay out and cut your pieces.  You’ll need one of your center front cut on the fold, two of the side fronts, two of the backs, one of the waistband, and two of the pleat insets – the pleat insets will be cut out of your second fabric.

Transfer your dots and darts to your pattern via your preferred method (I used tracing paper and a wheel), and we’re done for today!

Be sure to come back in two weeks, when we’ll start sewing our skirts.  If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments, and I will do my best to answer them!


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15 Responses to Mad Men Sewalong – Peggy’s Perfect Skirt – Part 1 – Pattern Prep and Cutting

  1. Sara In AZ Reply

    February 14, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Eeeeee!!!! How exciting! Even though I am not participating in this, I can’t wait for next time!!!

    • Andrea Reply

      February 14, 2012 at 12:51 pm

      Hehe! I am glad you are living vicariously through the sewalong, Sara! 🙂

  2. RetroRuth Reply

    February 14, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Nice, Andrea!!! I gotta get my butt in gear and get working on my skirt!! 🙂

    • Andrea Reply

      February 14, 2012 at 1:56 pm

      I’d love to see what pattern you’ve picked, Ruth!

      • RetroRuth Reply

        February 14, 2012 at 2:34 pm

        It’s actually not really a pattern, I am sad to say. I found a circle skirt at Goodwill recently, and it is in really rough shape, so I am rehabbing it. This does include some sewing, mostly ripping out the waistband and adding a new one. I was going to make a wiggle skirt, but I REALLY want to wear the circle skirt I found and I couldn’t wait! 🙂

        • Andrea Reply

          February 16, 2012 at 2:07 pm

          Oooh, well I want to see pictures of your circle skirt for sure!

  3. Kristine Reply

    February 15, 2012 at 8:51 am

    I’ve pre-washed my fabric(gentle cycle, line-dried)..sooo disappointed with the extreme fraying of Melody Miller’s 60’s secretary print..lost a couple inches on my 1/2 yard purchase all the way around.:(
    Not deterred.. First, I’m buying a decent ironing board, been substituting a sleeve board during my sewing hiatus.. then sewing this wkend. :)..will really have to use my noodle to spare my fabric print..which adds to the fun… eh..I think.lol 🙂

    • RetroRuth Reply

      February 15, 2012 at 10:24 am

      Aww…that sucks, Kristine!!! But I totally have faith that you can make it work. 🙂

    • Andrea Reply

      February 16, 2012 at 2:10 pm

      Oooh, that’s too bad, Kristine 🙁 Hopefully you can still squeeze your pattern on! Having a bit of a challenge does definitely make sewing more fun 🙂

      • Kristine Reply

        February 26, 2012 at 2:05 pm

        Thought I’d pop-in for an update..I’m all cut out and have sewn all my darts..just a few straight seams and should have the garment together minus all the detail which does take longer..
        and it looks Like my skirt length will be shorter than planned. allowing for my little fraying disaster..(ugh) but I do have a back-up plan should this fail..
        on another note…Is anyone else having a hard time staying on task?? Been so warm here in Georgia, my A.D.D. brain has skipped off dreaming of constructing vintage swimsuits and P.J’s for summer!..lol..Gosh I’ve been coming across lots of to-die-for patterns in lingerie and swimwear..wondering if anyone would like to do something along those lines after this sew-along is over. 🙂

        • Andrea Reply

          February 26, 2012 at 2:34 pm

          Wow, you’re flying along, Kristine! Fantastic! Hopefully your skirt works out as planned – usually having a backup plan is enough to keep issues away, LOL.

  4. Timothy Reply

    February 15, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    I would say anytime you are going to wash fabric that has any unfinished ends, either do a quick line or serging or a zig-zag overcast on that edge and you won’t have to worry about the fraying. I really wanted to do this sew along but didn’t have time to tget the pattern, but no worries i will get it and do it soon enough.

    • Andrea Reply

      February 16, 2012 at 2:11 pm

      Good tip, Timothy, thanks!

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