Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ripping a Seam - Skirt Modification

I made a skirt following these instructions - mostly. Instead of linen, I used cotton eyelet fabric with a lining of plain white cotton (since you could see through the eyelet, even where it was solid!). So instead of flipping the waistband over to form the channel for the ribbon tie, I sewed the plain cotton to the eyelet (front sides together), flipped the plain cotton to the inside of the skirt, and added two small grommet holes for the ribbon to come through. I then sewed the two layers together again about an inch below the first seam, forming the ribbon channel.

This all worked great, till I put it on.

I take long strides. Too long for the way I had made the skirt. So, I need to add a slit to the back of the skirt, where the seam in the 'tube' is. That's what I'm showing here.

1. Decide how long you want the slit to be. I made mine about 6 inches long. Using a fabric pencil or tailor's chalk to mark the length on the fabric. Don't worry, it will wash out.

2. Rip out the existing seam up to the mark you made. You'll need a seam ripper - they are inexpensive, and are sold at any fabric store.
Use the seam ripper to pick out one or two stitches, then pull them apart with your fingers. After about a half-inch to an inch is loose, you should be able to see the stitches much better and can use the seam ripper to pull them out easily. Be careful not to rip the fabric! In this picture, you can see two stitches on the seam ripper, one right behind the red knob.
Ripping the Seam
2. Iron out the wrinkles and folds.

3. Iron in the folds that you want. This will make hemming easier.
  • Fold once, 1/4" to 1/8" towards the wrong side of the fabric. Iron.
  • Fold again, the same way. Iron.
4. Re-enforce the end of the seam you just ripped open, so that it won't rip farther. I did this by sewing over the last half an inch, turning the fabric, and re-sewing what I'd just gone over. I made sure to lock the stitches both where I started and when I finished.
  • Lock stitches by sewing 3 or 4 stitches, and (1)sewing backwards over them, and then sewing forward again; or (2) lifting the pressure foot and moving the fabric so the needle is once again over the place you started sewing. Option 2 works on sewing machines that don't sew backwards, like mine.
  • Turn the fabric by making sure the needle was through the fabric, lift the pressure foot, then turn the fabric and put the foot back down. Once the foot is back down you can start sewing again. This is great for sharp corners, as well.
5. Hem the edges of the slit.
  • Looking at the wrong side of the fabric, hold the ironed folds so that they are flat on one side of the seam. Line this up with the sewing needle, starting at the bottom of the skirt, so that you're sewing towards the waist of the skirt.
  • Sew the hem in place, at the fold farther from the edge. You can see what I mean about the hem in the picture below.
  • Don't forget to lock your stitches!
  • Repeat on the other side.
Sewing the Hem

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