Check the settings on your sewing machine to make sure the settings you usually use to sew a 1/4" seam are true. Sew a 1/4" seam on a the edge of a piece of copy paper and measure it. The slightest deviation can affect the fit on couture doll clothes patterns.
Use Pattern Pieces:
1. Straight Skirt Front
2. Straight Skirt Back
1. Following the dart instructions, sew all the darts in the skirt and lining pieces. Press the darts towards the side seams using a hot steam iron and a pressing ham to get the curves to press in.
You can use the padded edge of your ironing board to press the darts, but you will have to keep moving them a bit at a time to get the curve smooth. It's not as convenient as using a ham, but it works. Trying to press them on the flat surface of the ironing board will sometimes put a tiny pleat at the point of the dart. Try to avoid that, it's hard to press out.
As mentioned before, fabric has a 'memory'. The memory of the fabric will encourage it to try and reform itself back to it's original configuration which in most cases is flat, as it was before sewing in the darts.
After steam pressing the darts you will notice that they will not always stay pressed down and will try to pop back up again. The solution is to press each dart in place and then hold it down with your fingertips and blow on it to cool it down quickly so the new 'memory' is set in. You can also do this with any seam you steam press. Depending on the length of the seam you may have to do it in sections.
When I am steam pressing, my iron heat setting is as high as it will go. The steam itself prevents burning the fabric and cooling it down quickly sets the creases and darts permanently in place.
2. Right sides together, sew the Skirt Front to the Skirt Back at the side seams. Clip the seams at the hip curves and press the seams open.
Sewing the side seams is pretty self-explanatory, but I might add that with any seam that curves I usually pin the two pieces together before sewing to keep the two pieces lined up perfectly. Also, it seems to be a common problem with unpinned seams for them to mismatch themselves when the end is reached. While chatting with a sewing machine salesman he mentioned that the problem might be in the tension. Both the upper thread and the bobbin thread tension need to be fairly well matched in order for the upper and lower layers of fabric to be pulled through the machine at the same rate. If both tensions are not perfectly matched, pinning the pieces together helps keep them flowing through the machine at an even rate.
3. Sew the lining pieces together exactly the same way you sewed the skirt.
Since we are using muslin for both the skirt and lining, basically you now have two skirts that are exactly the same.
4. Right sides together, sew the lining to the skirt leaving the waist open to turn.
In other words, with the outside of the lining (right side) and the outside of the skirt (right side) facing each other, pin the lining to the skirt along all the edges including the waist edge with all the darts but only sew the other three edges. As a precaution against the corners opening up when the skirt is turned right side out, I take an extra back stitch on each side of the corners to make sure they hold.
All of my skirts, dresses, and back opening blouses are designed to overlap the two completely finished back edges. This is just a personal preference of mine. When sewing these small garments the fit can be minutely adjusted depending on the final design or look that you are going for. You may prefer using the traditional method of sewing the back seams together, but for these lessons let's do it my way as that is how the patterns are designed to fit.
Trim the two corners at the hem edge of the skirt.
Turn and press.
Trimming the corners eliminates the excess fabric and insures a nice sharp corner after you turn the skirt right side out. Otherwise, that excess fabric would have to fold in on itself, leaving a bulky rounded looking corner.
When you do the pressing make sure you roll the seam out with your fingers so that all the seams are at the very edge but the lining does not show and that the corners are sharp and square.
5. Staystitch and clip the lining and skirt together at the waist edge.
The waist edge of this skirt has a shallow curve but it still needs to be clipped to the stitching in order to make it straight enough to sew to the waistband. Your machine only sews in a straight line so any curved lines must have some give. The clipping allows that.
6. Press under one long edge of the waistband.
Right sides together, match the center of the unpressed long edge of the waistband to the center front of the skirt and pin in place. There will be a 1/4" overhang of the waistband at each end.
Sew the waistband to the skirt. Press the waistband up. Press the ends of the waistband under to enclose the seam edges.
Turn the pressed edge of the waistband to the wrong side and line the pressed edge up with the line of stitches.
Finish the inner edge of the waistband by hand with an invisible slipstitch.
7. Overlap the back opening edges of the skirt by 1/4" matching the waistband and hem edges. Sew the skirt back together between the marks using an invisible slipstitch.
8. Finish the opening with a sew-on snap at the waist and the two snaps marked on the skirt back pattern.