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Tips & Techniques > Adjustable Darts = Adjustable Waistline

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Posted by: Auntie Susan
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Posted on: 6/9/10 10:39 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 2 people   Very Helpful by 7 people   
How many times have you finished a skirt (or lost or gained a few pounds) only to wish the waistline was a little smaller or larger? By changing the order of construction on a skirt finished at the waist with a lining, adjustments can be made quickly and easily.

Traditionally, darts are sewn on the skirt and lining separately, side seams are sewn, then the two are joined together at the waist, wrong sides together, the waistband is attached and the skirt is completed in the usual manner. If any adjustments need to be made in the future, the waistband needs to be removed, the lining separated from the skirt at the waist, adjustments made at the darts or side seams on the skirt and lining, then the waistband is reattached. I have always dreaded this task and thought there must be an easier way to build some adjustability into the skirt.

While looking at a dress pattern, I noticed that the darts on the bodice and high hip were equal, top and bottom, and met at the waist. This type of dart could easily be let in or out during construction of the dress, or later if the figure gained or lost weight. By following the construction steps below, a skirt waistline can also be easily adjusted in the same way.

1.Mark the darts on the skirt and lining as usual.
2.Stay-stitch the waist and hip areas on both skirt and lining pieces.
3.Sew the back seam and insert the zipper and complete any back openings such as a pleat or vent in both skirt and lining. Leave an opening in the lining for the zipper.
4.Attach the lining to the skirt at the waist, right sides together, on front and back. Trim the seam to 1/4 inch, understitch the skirt to the lining, and press the seam towards the lining.
5.Now sew the darts as if the skirt were a dress, either by starting at the waistline seam and ending at each point, or starting at the points, and overlapping the stitching at the waistline seam. (I personally get a better shaped dart by starting at the point.) Press the darts toward the center front and center back.
6.Sew the side seams of the skirt and lining in one continuous seam, starting at the bottom of the skirt, sewing towards the waist and ending at the bottom of the lining. Press the side seams open. Incidentally, I like to cut the side seam allowances 1 inch wide to allow for future alterations.
7.Turn the lining to the inside of the skirt, press the waistline seam, and slipstitch the lining to the zipper tape. If you inserted an invisible zipper, the lining can be attached to the zipper tape with a zipper foot before turning the lining to the inside. Sew a hook and eye above the zipper.
8.If desired, tack the skirt and lining together at the side seams and darts.
9.Hem the skirt and lining as usual.

With this construction method, the darts and side seams can be adjusted without separating the lining from the skirt at the waist. Simply pull up the lining and let in or out the darts or side seams and re-press the skirt. If altering the side seams all the way to the hem, the hem will still need to be ripped out and re-sewn on the skirt. I find that ripping out the hem on the lining can usually be avoided by tapering any side seam adjustments to the hemline. The front waistline seam can also be easily deepened, tapering to nothing at the side seams. This will help the skirt drape properly for a figure that has a waistline that is lower in the front than the back, resulting in the hemline being parallel to the floor.


Visit my photoblog to view completed projects at http://auntiesusanssewing.shutterfly.com/




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3 Comments
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Annie- oh said...
thanks for taking the time to share this hint, it's great.
6/11/10 10:02 AM
RLL said...
Makes sense and sounds simple really.
6/10/10 11:54 AM
Wendy Hahn said...
Great idea!
6/10/10 10:42 AM
 
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