Friday, November 13, 2015

The Lottie Skirt - with big pockets and an elastic back (A tutorial)

Happy, happy Friday everyone. I hope you have all had a great week and hopefully  you have been able to take advantage of my LUCKY 7 week and get some patterns on sale. If not, my patterns will stay reduced to $7 through the weekend and be back to regular price next week.

I hope you have also had a great time seeing all the sneak pictures of the Luna dress. Good gravy, I love this pattern. I am going to spend the weekend finishing up some last minute things with the pattern and have it live and in the shop come Monday! Just as Jimmy Buffett says...Come Monday, it will be alright! Speaking of things being alright, how about if I told you there were two amazing giveaways going on for the Luna AND some Art Gallery fabric??!! Check out both of these blogs and enter the giveaways for your chance to win!!



Earlier this week I promised you a tutorial on how to add big pockets to your Lottie skirts and also make it with an elastic waistband (just in the back so the front still has that polished flat look).


 I had hoped to blog before Friday, but we all know how life is. This seems to be wild time of year for me as I am trying to tie up all of the loose ends with BG before the holidays begin. So, needless to say...here it is Friday morning and I am just now getting back to you with the Lottie tutorial!

This tutorial will show you how to make some changes to the Lottie skirt pattern. Since the pattern is very detailed, I won't go into many details here but instead will reference the pattern. 

First things first, let's start with the waistband. Since there will be no closure in the back, cut 2 of the front waistbands. There are patterns pieces, or dimensions for those that would rather in the back of the pattern (starting on page 45). I am making a size 5, so I am cutting 2 pieces of fabric that are 5.5 x 11.75.


Once cut, place the 2 pieces right sides together and sew along the sides as shown below with the dotted lines. Take the waistband over to the ironing board and press those 2 seams out. 


Now, fold the waistband over on itself with right sides facing. Run a stitch along the top of the waistband (the folded edge) as shown below. This is exactly like you do on page 10 of the pattern, with the only exception being that this waistband is tubular since it is joined on both side. And because the Ninja Turtles think it is cool. Totally tubular. 


Once stitched, flip the waistband right sides out and then head over to the ironing board and press the top seam that you just stitched flat. While at the ironing board, go ahead and flip up a 3/8" hem along the bottom of one side of the waistband as shown below. This will be the lining side and will help us to enclose the skirt seam later on. 


Once that hem is pressed, set your waistband to the side. Now on to the skirt panel. I have only done this particular skirt with the elastic back with the gathered skirt. Personally I cannot ever seem to get my pleats to look right when I use an elastic waist, so I don't even go there. But, you can certainly try it out if you like! For this tutorial purpose, we will be focusing on the gathered skirt. On the pattern page 6 you will find the cutting chart for the gathered skirt of the Lottie. For this look, you want to cut 2 front skirt panels. Again, I am doing a size 5, so I will cut 2 panels that are 14 3/8" x 23 1/2". Once cut, place right sides together and sew up along the side seams as shown below in the black dotted lines. Finish those seams and then press. Alternatively you can also do these with french seams and then the entire skirt will have beautiful finished, hidden seams. :) Sometimes the insides of a garment make me just as happy as the outside!


Once your side seams are sewn, go ahead and hem the bottom of the skirt. I find it easier to go ahead and hem it now. Follow the directions to hem just as you would in the pattern starting on page 41.

For the pocket, there is no right or wrong here. Louisa wanted a skirt with a big pocket. She saw on in a catalog this summer (possibly Mini Boden???) and has been talking about it ever since. So, Momma wanted to deliver! Place your skirt panel on a flat surface where one of the side seams is facing up. This is where you will need your best eye-balling skills. Again, no right or wrong here, but let me tell you what I do. I like to make a large, rectangular pocket that sits off-center of the side seam. This basically just means I want more pocket to the front of the skirt than I do to the back. Below in turquoise I sketched how I eye-balled the pocket. Remember that you will have a 3/8" seam at the top of the skirt. For this skirt, I ended up making a sketch that had a width (W) of 8 by a height (H) of 8. 


Now, for some math. I mean, it wouldn't be a BG tutorial without math now would it? :) So the pocket sketch you made will be for the finished measurements of the pockets. But, you need to know how to cut them. So, I have some formulas for you. 

For the width (W), you want to do: W + 1. Easy enough, right:
For the height (H), you want: H + 2.5.

So, in my example for a finished pocket with W of 6 and H of 8, I will cut TWO pockets that are 7" by 10.5". 
W: 6 + 1 = 7
H: 8 + 2.5 = 10.5

Once your math is done and your pockets are cut, finish the 2 sides and the bottom of the pockets however you please. Then, head to the iron and press to the wrong sides a .5" hem along the bottom and sides as shown below in black. For the top, press down a 1" hem (turquoise line below) and then another 1" (darker turquoise) for a finished hem. 


Once pressed, top-stitch along the top hem as shown below in black.


Now for the fun part...placing the pockets! If you are lucky, your skirt panel is still laid out flat on a flat surface. If you are me, your kids are home from school for the day and have taken over your sewing room while you are working...



With your skirt panel on a flat surface with one of the side seams facing up, place the pocket on the panel how you would like it. Again, this is not rocket science at all but I like to place mine off-center so more of the pocket is towards the front. There is no sense in having a great, big awesome pocket if her hands cannot reach it, right?? Once you are happy with placement, pin in place and then repeat with the other pocket. Make sure both pockets are symmetric!

Once they are pinned, head over to your machine and stitch the pockets in place as shown below in black. I like to do a triangle stitch at the top of each pocket to reinforce that seam since it will see a lot of wear and tear with hands going in and out of the pocket.


Once your pockets are sewn in place, run a gathering stitch across the top of the skirt. On page 28 of the pattern, I show how to do this and this tutorial is similar, but you will only have 2 stitches, one across the top front and one across the top back.

Continuing on via the pattern, match up your skirt side seams with the waistband side seams and pull your gathers in to match the waistband. Pin in place and take to the machine and stitch the skirt to the  raw edge of the waistband. Remember how we pressed up the hem of one side of the waistband earlier? Make sure that is not included in this stitch! Once you have your skirt stitched to the waistband, finish that seam. It will be enclosed but finishing helps to reduce the bulk.


Now, take to the iron and press the seam up towards the waistband as shown below by the yellow arrow. This is always a fun step to me. There is just something about seeing a gathered fabric pressed against a non-gathered spot. Oh it makes me happy!


Staying at the ironing board, flip your skirt over and then press the other side of the waistband (the side you pressed a hem earlier) over to cover the skirt seam. Press all the way around the skirt as shown below. See how awesome it looks when it covers the seam?


Now, take your skirt to the machine and top-stitch around the top of the entire waistband as shown below. This will help create the casing for our elastic. You see this machine? This is Louisa's sewing machine. My faithful Brother that lasted me 5 years longer than it should went caput on me and so thankfully I had Lou's to get me through some garments. Phew!


Now, you can either use Wonder-Tape or pins, but you want to secure the waistband over the skirt seam in the front. ONLY THE FRONT for right now. Since it is only the front, I usually will just use pins. Then, take to your machine and top-stitch along the skirt seam on the front ONLY as shown below. This helps to enclose that skirt seam.


This is what it will look like on the inside of the front of the skirt after you have sewn it down. 


Now, for the elastic. More math, but again...I have a formula for you! To determine the amount of elastic you will need, use this formula:
(waist measurement / 2) - 3

For my example, Louisa's waist was 22. So, I cut a piece of elastic that was 8" long since (22/2)-3 is 8. (I will add I found it to fit just a bit snug on Louisa...so next time I may only subtract 2, but then again I was using an elastic that was very tight...just a little side note.)

For the size of elastic to use, I recommend using the widest you can for the casing. In my case, I used a 1.5" wide elastic. I probably would have been fine with just 1" since it was a bit difficult to pull through, but it was all I had on hand so I made it work!

Now, with your piece of elastic, you want to feed it into the waistband back as shown below. 


Pull it around to one of the side seams. Pin in place with aabout 1/4' of the elastic to the front of the side seam. This is shown below with the elastic in green. In the photo below, the skirt front is to the right.


Now, to secure the elastic, stitch in the ditch (meaning run a stitch on the side seam of the waistband). This is shown below from the RIGHT side of the skirt in black. I am sorry I realized just now that it may be confusing with the front of the skirt on the right in the photo above and below it is to the left, but hopefully you catch my drift with the green area posing as the elastic.


Once that side is secured, do the same with the other side of the elastic and the opposite waistband side seam. Once your elastic is secured in both places, you want to sew the back of the skirt along the skirt seam. I find this is easiest to do on the machine while pulling the elastic taught and sewing along the seam.

Guess what ladies? You now have an adorable Lottie with big-ole pockets and an elastic-back waistband! I cannot wait to see your pictures! Make sure to upload them in the brownie-goose lovers group on Facebook!


And don't forget, go enter those two giveaways and have a fantastic weekend. Get some rest for the LUNA release on Monday!!

Xoxo - Amy

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