Step 11 : Gather and Fit the Skirt
Your Skirt piece should be turned and pressed, and it’s time to gather the waistline. Both long edges of the skirt piece are a fold– the bottom edge of the skirt is the side closest to the original long seam. The waistline is farthest away.
You will need to use a strong thread like handsewing or quilting thread. Double the thread, and tie a large knot as an anchor. Don’t attach it to the fabric. It will be pulled away later to gather the fabric.
Sew a running stitch very close the top folded edge, about 1 mm away, with very small stitches. I used about 5-6 per inch here. For thinner fabric, use smaller stitches. When you reach the opposite side, leave a length of thread loose, cut away the needle, and tie a knot in the thread. Thread the needle with a second length of thread, and sew a second row of running stitches 1-2 mm below the first. Placing the seam farther away from the first row makes the pleats more structured.
For the nicest appearance, match your stitches to the first row. They don’t have to be perfect or identical, but they should be the same in number and matched to each other as well as you can. This will make the seam stronger and looks prettier.
When it’s time to gather your fabric, grasp both threads on one side at the same time, and try move the gathers to bunch them up on the threads, rather than pulling on the thread to gather the fabric. Pulling the threads will weaken them.
When your skirt is gathered, it should be fitted on the individual Hitty and blouse it’s made for.
When you have the right fit, tie off each of the four thread thread ends separately and hide the thread ends inside the skirt. Leaving a little tail of thread hidden inside between the two layers of the skirt will make the seam stronger, as opposed to cutting the thread off close to the knot.
You may need to tie off both threads on one side, fit the skirt to Hitty, then tie off the threads on the other side, if the gathers slip around too much.
If you use strong thread, doubled and in two rows of stitches, this will be strong enough for most skirts, provided the waistline isn’t stretched or strained. But if you have any concerns you can handsew reinforcing stitches on the inside on the back of the waistline gathers, or even decorative stitches on the front of the pleats.
Or you can sew a seam with your sewing machine, directly on the gathered waistline over the gathering stitches.
Either way, make sure your gathers are evenly distributed since this will fix them in place and you don’t want a skirt that puffs out more on one side than the other.
When the waistline is finished, close the opening that was left to turn the skirt right side out, then stitch the back opening of the skirt together from the bottom hem to about an inch below the gathered waist. Use a pillow stitch, also called a ladder stitch.
All that’s left is the buttons!