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How to sew a Tailored Skirt Suit

Updated on March 22, 2013

skirt suit

lined skirt suit.
lined skirt suit.

Choosing The Fabric

There are very many types of Fabric on the market today, from the most sheer voiles and silks to the heavier weight linens and gaberdines.

Make sure you know your fabric.

Look at it very carefully before you buy. Do the edges of the fabric roll or fray? these types will make the fabric much more difficult to handle and are best left to the more experienced sewer. Two examples of this type of fabric are T-shirt knit and velveteen.

Are there any fabric care instructions on the bolt of fabric? make sure you know how to care for your chosen fabric.

Does it wrinkle easily? will it be adequate for your project, do you want a skirt that you have taken hours to make looking like a worn dishcloth after you sit down in it once.?

Always pre-wash and iron your fabric before you start trying to lay it out for cutting, this will ensure that, one, it is clean and two, it is preshrunk many fabrics have a tendency to shrink the first time they are washed. So to avoid this, PRE-WASH.

100% Cotton is wonderfully easy to sew but it will shrink, Polyester Cotton is equally easy to work with and although it will shrink to some degree it will not be nearly as much as 100% Cotton.

Wool is also a great choice, although that will also shrink, different wool types will shrink at different rates so cut a small square, measure it, then wash, iron and measure again. This will give you some idea of how much extra fabric you should require. alternatively choose a larger sized pattern to work from once you have an idea of the shrinkage involved.

Linen is a fantastic easy to sew fabric although it also has a tendency to shrink dependent on the type and blend. Do the pre-wash.

Rayon is a wonderful choice for shirts and blouses and very easy to manage although it does shrink a lot.

So, be sure to know the characteristics of the fabric you are buying. Incorrect handling WILL ruin your project and your hours of work will be in vain.

I have used a lightweight cotton polyester fabric for this suit, but please check your pattern recommendations to see which type of fabric is suitable for the particular pattern you are using.

Preparing The Fabric

There are several steps to follow to assure your fabric is perfectly ready for your project.

Making the cut edge of the fabric perfectly straight -

1. For Woven Fabrics . . (see image A.)

2. For knitted fabrics .. base stitch along the crosswiss course of the fabric, then pin along the
grainline.. cut along the pin line removing as you work. (see image B.)

Now wash or dry clean your fabric.

Finally make you fabric as perfect as possible by, folding the lengthwise edges of woven fabrics matching the selvages and the crosswise ends of the fabric. Fold knits on a lengthwise rib. Baste along the selvage and across both crosswise ends. If the selvage edges shrank during the preshrinking process clip them every few inches so that they lay flat.

Image A.

Image B.

Laying Out The Pattern On The Fabric.

Check the contents of your Pattern envelope/packet and make sure you have all the pattern pieces required.

lay out your Fabric according to the directions given in the Pattern.This must be done very carefully to ensure the best finished results to the garment.

Your pattern instruction will provide you with a choice of layout dependent on fabric type and width also on size of garment, check these carefully before choosing.


A grainline mark on a pattern is a long line with arrow heads at each end, this must be positioned following the grainline of your fabric.

Pin one of the arrows in place, now measure from it to the selvadge edge CAREFULLY, then measure and adjust the other arrow so that it is the same distance from the selvage edge. SIMPLE

Keep your pattern pieces in place by pinning along the edges and corners of your pattern through to the fabric. Weights are useful to keep the pattern from moving whilst you are pinning.

Laying out your Pattern onto Fabric.

Getting Ready to Sew.

Cut out using sharp dressmakers shears along the cutting lines and get ready to sew by transferring all pattern marking onto your fabric.. this can be done using a variety of methods.

Either cut, use taylors chalk or long Taylor tacks to mark the position of the V shaped marks and the dots on your pattern, these will be used later to match up seams, position darts, zippers, buttons and to show the position of pleats, bust and waist lines as well as fitting sleeves. So be sure to mark them all, it is a good idea to use one method for the position of buttons etc and another to mark the dots that help line up the seams and sleeves. If you use a V shaped cut to mark the position of some then make sure not to cut into the garment, these marks are for guidance only.


Overlock all Raw Edges- t is at this stage i Overlock / Serge all Raw Edges, doing this now saves a lot of time and will mean you will not have to try to neaten

Pin garment pieces together as per instruction in your purchased pattern

The Skirt - Tack garment pieces together using long even stitches, do not permanently stitch until fitting has been checked, this is done once all pieces have b

Press seams open from the inside taking care to use a damp cloth to prevent shining of the material

Tack Zip into place .. make sure that it can open and close easily

TIP... on right side of garment whip stitch fabric edges together where zip closes, this will prevent the fabric from slipping when you machine stitch it into p

Tip- Use the zipper foot attachment on your sewing machine and stitch zip into place from the right side this will ensure that a neat finish is achieved as clos

Your zipper foot attachment should look something like this..

Remove all tacking stitches and press lightly with a damp cloth to prevent shine to your Fabric.

Skirt Lining - If your pattern requires one, make skirt lining , in the same way as the Skirt.. using skirt pattern pieces omitting zipper and waist band.. do n

Attach the lining skirt to the main fabric by machining together at the waist.trim seam allowance to 1/2 cm width.

Around the Zipper - pin, tack and hand stitch the lining around the zipper so that no loose fabric will be caught in the zipper when it is in use.

Sew Waistband to skirt right sides facing, fold over to inside.

Hand Stitch waistband to inside of garment .. press.

Check length and level of Garment hem.. IF binding hem, Pin, tack and machine sew bias binding to right side of garment hem..

Tacking the Hem

Hem stitch the bias binding to the inside of the hem of the skirt using tiny stitches pick up only 2 or 3 threads so that the stitching is virtually invisible o


Following the same procedures and the directions of your pattern continue with the Jacket . With patience and practice you can create some lovely garments .. Good luck to all and enjoy.

Lined Jacket.


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