Today we’re going to sew the skirt and attach it to the bodice!
Before we do any sewing, and before removing the tissue from your skirt, I recommend marking your pleats by clipping. I know there are lots of complicated-looking pleat markings, and I always ignore those. The pleats in this skirt are soft box pleats, meaning that they just get formed at the seam allowance, and not pressed. So, in my opinion, you just need to know where to fold the pleats, and clips are the easiest way. Anywhere you see a pleat circle mark, make a clip in the seam allowance above it. If it’s one of those big circles that isn’t near the seam allowance, just make the clip above it, being careful not to clip past the 5/8″ line. Your clips should be 1/4″.
Also make a clip at the center front fold.
Keep your skirt pattern tissues handy, as you will need to refer back to them as you’re forming the pleats.
Also make sure that you’ve marked your zipper circle and your pocket circles. You can use tracing paper and make an X through circles.
Next, stabilize your back skirt zipper openings with strips of fusible interfacing, just like you did for the back bodice. Just have the strips go down to the zipper circle.
If you plan to serge your seam allowances, now is a good time to do it. Serge all around your pocket pieces and on the vertical sides of the skirt pieces. (If using an alternate seam finish like pinking or zigzagging, you can do that after you sew the seams.)
Okay, now we’re actually at step 18! Stitch the skirt backs together, right sides together from the zipper notch down. Press the seam open.
Time for pockets! Pin one pocket to each skirt side seam, matching notches. The pockets go all the way to the top of the skirt, like this:
Next, stitch each pocket to the skirt, using a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Press each pocket away from the skirt, like so:
Note that the seam allowance is pressed toward the pocket.
Now place the skirt back on top of the skirt front, right sides together, matching pockets and notches. Pin and stitch each side seam, leaving an opening between the pocket circles.
Then stitch around each pocket, making sure to connect the pocket stitching with your side seam stitching (otherwise there will be a hole!).
After stitching the pockets, clip diagonally into the corner seam allowance of the back side of the pocket and skirt only. This allows you to press the pocket toward the skirt front and the seam allowance below the pocket open.
Now it’s time for pleats! When making these inverted box pleats, always work from the right side of the skirt. I recommend starting with the side seam pleats. There will be a pleat clip mark on either side of the side seam, which you will bring together to meet exactly at the side seam. Leave the pocket free for now, and pin your pleats in place.
Go around the skirt, forming your pleats in that way, with two pleat marks meeting another pleat mark in the center. Use your pattern tissue as a guide. Note that you will have two incomplete pleats that end 5/8″ short of the skirt back.
After pinning your pleats, check that you have a full pleat at the center front, each side seam, and one at each bodice dart point (between the side seam and center front/center back).
Using a long machine stitch, baste your pleats in place at 1/2″. Check that all the pleats are laying flat after basting. Baste the pockets in your stitching as well, making sure they are pressed toward the front skirt.
Now we can stitch the skirt to the bodice! Keep the bodice lining free for this part, and match your skirt side seams to the bodice side seams. Match all notches and make sure that there is a pleat that matches the front and back darts. Stitch the skirt to the bodice.
Grade your seam allowances so that your skirt is about 3/8″ and your bodice seam allowance is 1/2″.
Press the seam allowances up towards the bodice.
That’s it for now! Next we’ll be doing the finishing: zipper, hand stitching, and hem!