Basic Straight Skirt


This straight skirt with front and back fitting darts, back zipper and facings at the waistline can be made in any one of several lengths. Make this easy wardrobe addition in an evening or a weekend! Though these instructions were prepared while using a commercial pattern, the techniques you learn can transfer to many other skirt patterns.

Materials Needed

· Straight skirt pattern - McCall’s® 3880, View E was used
· Fabric and fusible interfacing as called for on pattern envelope for view and size selected
· All-purpose thread to match fabric
· One 7" zipper to match fabric
· One hook-and-eye set
· Chalk marker for fabric
· Straight pins
· 6” -12” ruler
· Fabric glue stick
· ½" transparent tape
· Hand-sewing needle



· Pattern pieces for front, back and facings for size selected. Heavy, solid line is the cutting line. On multi-sized patterns the seam allowance is included but not printed on the pattern pieces.
· Press the pattern pieces to be used with a dry iron, so they are smooth and flat.
· Press and fold fabric so right sides are facing each other and the wrong side is to the outside of the piece.
· Following layout on pattern instruction sheet, place and pin pattern pieces onto fabric. Be sure pins do not extend beyond the cutting lines of the pattern pieces. Cut one front on the fold, two backs, one front facing on the fold and two back facing pieces of selected fabric.
· Place and pin front and back facing pieces onto fusible interfacing after cutting layout. Cut one front facing of interfacing on the fold and two back facing pieces of interfacing.
Sewing Directions: ?" seam allowance

Marking the darts:
1. Insert a straight pin through the center of each dot marking the dart on the pattern. Go through both layers of fabric.
2. Remove pattern carefully pulling it over the head of each pin.
3. Mark dots (where pin points were inserted) with chalk on the wrong side of the top layer.
4. With a ruler, draw a line from the dart point to the raw edge through one of the dots to form one side of the dart.
5. Draw another line from the dart point to the raw edge through the other dot to form the dart.
6. Turn fabric over and repeat the marking process on the other side of the fabric.
7. Remove pins.
8. Repeat this marking process for all the darts on the front and back of the skirt.

Marking the zipper end:
1. Place a pin at the dot where the zipper will end on the center back seam of the skirt.
2. Lift pattern tissue and make a chalk marking at the dot on the wrong side of both back skirt pieces.

Marking the extensions:
1. If you have selected a longer skirt view with extensions and a back vent, mark the dot on the pattern like marking the zipper end noted above.

Sewing the darts:
1. Fold the dart on one back piece, right sides together, matching dots and solid chalk lines. Pin in place.
2. Stitch on the chalk line from the widest end of the dart to the point, removing pins as you come to them. Backstitch at the beginning of the stitching. When you approach the point, shorten the stitch length and take two or three stitches directly on the fold, then continue to stitch off the fabric.
3. Remove the piece from the machine and tie the two thread ends from the dart together.
4. Press dart flat. Then, press again having fold of dart go toward center back.
5. Repeat, sewing and pressing the other dart on the remaining back piece.
6. Fold, pin and stitch both darts on the skirt front as done on the skirt back pieces. Press so each dart fold is pressed toward the center front.

Center back seam:
1. Place the two skirt back pieces, right sides together. Pin center back seam.
2. Stitch center back seam from hem to dot where zipper will end. (If sewing view with vent and extensions, see pattern instruction sheet.)
3. Set machine to the longest stitch length (basting stitch). Stitch from dot to top edge of skirt.

To finish seams:
Why finish a seam? Seam finishes prevent fabrics from raveling and strengthen seams through repeated wearing and cleaning. They help prolong the life of the garment you are making.
1. Set machine to a wide zigzag stitch.
2. Stitch close to the raw edge of each seam allowance.
3. Trim edges, if needed.
4. Gently press seam open.

Inserting the zipper:
1. Lightly apply glue stick on the right side of the zipper tape.
2. Place zipper face down on the basted seam. Zipper coil should be placed exactly on the seam line and zipper stop placed 1" below top cut edge. Finger press zipper in place to secure. Let it set for a few minutes.
3. Lay skirt back flat, right side up. Center transparent tape over seam line from end of zipper at dot to top edge of skirt.
4. Replace the General Purpose Foot with the Zipper Foot. Set machine to a normal length straight stitch. Adjust needle position so it is to the left of the Zipper Foot. Start stitching next to (but NOT through) the transparent tape from the top edge of the zipper down to the bottom of the tape. When at the end, be sure to leave the needle in the fabric. Lift presser foot and pivot piece. Stitch across bottom of zipper, leaving needle in fabric. Lift presser foot and pivot. Continue stitching other side of zipper, using tape as a guide.
5. Remove transparent tape. Remove basting stitches from seam line.

Side seams:
1. Replace Zipper Foot with General Purpose Foot. Adjust needle position so it is centered.
2. Place front and back pieces right sides together, matching side raw edges. Pin in place.
3. Stitch one side seam from bottom edge to top edge, removing pins as you come to them.
4. Repeat stitching for other side seam.
5. Set machine to a wide zigzag stitch.
6. Do a seam finish by stitching close to the raw edge of each seam allowance.
7. Trim edges, if needed.
8. Gently press both seams open.

Making and attaching the facings:
1. Fuse interfacing to the wrong side of each back facing and the front facing piece, following manufacturer’s directions.
2. Right sides together, place back to front facing pieces together matching short-notched edges. Pin then stitch each side.
3. Trim seams. Press seams open.
4. Zigzag seam finish un-notched edge of facing in the same manner as the skirt seam allowances.
5. Right sides together place facing to skirt, matching notches and side seams. Pin in place. NOTE: Facing ends will extend beyond the zipper at center back.
6. Stitch along upper edge, removing pins as you come to them. Trim seam allowance.
7. Lay the facing so it is flat and away from the garment. Straight stitch (understitch) on the right side of the facing about ?" from the seam line, through the facing as well as both seam allowances. Keep the facing flat as you stitch.
Understitching is straight stitching done on the right side of the facing to help keep the facing from rolling to the right side of the garment.
8. Turn the facing to the inside of the skirt. Press.
9. Turn under the raw edges of the facing ends and hand sew them to the zipper tape.
10. Catch stitch facing to each side seam and to each dart on the inside of the garment to help hold facing in place.

Hemming the skirt:
1. Set machine to a wide zigzag stitch.
2. Stitch close to the raw edge of lower edge of the skirt.
3. Turn up a 2¼" hem (or desired length) on the lower edge of the skirt. Gently press hem in place. Pin in place, close to the fold at bottom of hem.
4. To hem skirt by machine:
a. Set machine to Blind Hem Stitch.
b. Replace General Purpose Foot with the Blind Hem Foot.
c. Fold skirt back at top of hem so presser foot rests on the hem close to the top, zigzag edge. The fold of the skirt should rest next to the guide on the foot.
d. Stitch along the hem close to the fold, catching only a few threads of the skirt with the zigzag portion of the blindstitch. Guide hem around entire bottom edge.
e. Open out hem and press flat.
5. To hem the skirt by hand:
a. Secure the hem in place using a slipstitch, using a hand sewing needle and all-purpose thread.

Hand-sew a hook and eye to the facing, above the zipper.

Compatible Machines

  • 2009 | ATHENA™
  • 8770 | CURVY™
  • 8763 | CURVY™
  • 7470 | CONFIDENCE™
  • 2273 | ESTEEM™ II
  • 2263 | SIMPLE™
  • 2250 | TRADITION™
  • 2010 | SUPERB™
  • 3323S | TALENT™
  • 7258 | STYLIST™
  • 1732 | Esteem™
  • 1507WC
  • 1507WC
  • 2259 | TRADITION™
  • 8780 | CURVY™
  • 7285Q | PATCHWORK™
  • 7256 | FASHION MATE™
  • 5500 | FASHION MATE™
  • 2277 | TRADITION™
  • 6199 | BRILLIANCE™
  • 5523 | SCHOLASTIC™
  • 5511 | SCHOLASTIC™
  • 1409 | PROMISE™
  • 6180 | BRILLIANCE™
  • 4423 | HEAVY DUTY
  • 4411 | HEAVY DUTY
^ Back to top of page