Cleo Skirtalong Day 4: Attach waistband

Cleo skirtalong Day 4 / attach waistband

Welcome to Day 4 of the Cleo Skirtalong! If you’re just joining us, see all of the skirtalong posts here.

Today we’ll gather the front skirt, sew the waistband together, attach the waistband, and close the back waistband.

Step 4. Gather front skirt

Set your machine to longest stitch length possible and tension to highest setting. On FRONT SKIRT ONLY, sew two lines of stitches on the wrong side of the front skirt, 3/8″ and 5/8″ away from the top edge. Leave long tails on the ends of your thread so they will be easy to pull for gathering.

Cleo skirtalong / attach waistband

Remember: just the FRONT SKIRT, not the back skirt!

And here’s a hint: if you have elastic thread, you can use shirring to gather the front of the skirt! That’s been my recent gathering shortcut, my friends, because, I’ll be honest, I don’t love gathering. I set my stitch length to about 4mm (my machine goes up to 5), hand-wind elastic thread on my bobbin, and stitch just as if I were gathering. Shirring makes it SO much easier to distribute the gathers evenly. Check out my Shirring Tutorial for a more detailed how-to.

Step 5. Prepare waistband

Sew the front and back waistbands together along their short ends. You’ve already pressed the center crease and the bottom edge up, but make sure you sew these together unfolded. Press the seam allowances open.

Cleo skirtalong

Step 6. Attach skirt to waistband

With skirt right side out, place waistband over the top of the skirt with right sides together, pinning them together at notches and side seams (so your waistband will be inside-out for this). Pull gathering threads until front skirt is same width as front waistband. Distribute gathers evenly and finish pinning.

Cleo skirtalong / attach waistband

Sew the waistband to skirt with gathers on top. Since you need a 1/2″ seam, it’s easiest to sew right down the middle of your two rows of gathering stitches.

Cleo skirtalong / attach waistband

Press seam allowances toward waistband, press waistband away from the skirt, and remove any visible gathering stitches with your seam ripper. If you used the tension trick I mentioned earlier to gather, you’ll find it’s super easy to pull these out if you pull them from the wrong side.

Cleo skirtalong / attach waistband

Step 7. Sew back waistband casing

Fold the back waistband (JUST THE BACK!) down toward the inside of skirt along its center foldline so the bottom folded edge lies 1/8″ below waistband seam. Pin it in place (Hint: I find it works well to pin it from the outside right along the seam line, catching the edge underneath). Then stitch in the ditch from the outside of the skirt, catching folded waistband edge to form an elastic casing.

Cleo skirtalong / attach waistband

VERY IMPORTANT: Sew ONLY the back waistband shut; leave the front waistband open so we can add the elastic tomorrow!

Only one more day left! Tomorrow we’ll add the elastic and finish the hem.

Go to Day 5

Questions or comments? Leave them here on the blog, or join the conversation on Facebook or on Instagram! And we’d love to see your photos (use the #cleoskirt tag)!

Cleo Skirtalong Day 3: Pockets and Side Seams

Cleo Skirtalong Day 3

Welcome to Day 3 of the Cleo Skirtalong! If you’re just joining us, see all of the skirtalong posts here.

Today we’ll attach the pockets and sew side seams. Note that these steps differ for Views A and B. We’ll start with View A, so if you’re sewing View B, scroll down!

Step 2. Attach and sew pockets (View A)

Align curved edges of POCKETS and FRONT SKIRT. With 1/4″ seam allowance, stitch pockets to front skirt along curved edge. It’s important to note here that this is the only time you’ll use a 1/4″ seam (the rest of the pattern uses a 1/2″ seam allowance).
Cleo skirtalong

Here’s a closeup of that curved seam:

Cleo skirtalong

Clip seam allowances, being careful not to clip through the stitches. Press the seam allowances and pockets away from the skirt.

Cleo skirtalong

Next, I recommend understitching the curved seam. Unfortunately it’s hard to get a good photo of this (I’ll put that on my tutorial to-do list), so you’ll just have to give it a try based on my written instructions.

To understitch, first press open the seam, pressing the seam allowances towards the pocket piece (so: away from the skirt). With the garment right-side up, stitch 1/8″ away from the pocket seam lines (this is the actual understitching, and it keeps the pocket lining inside the pocket), through the pocket and both seam allowances (so: 3 layers). Then flip the pockets to the wrong side and press. It should now look like this:

Cleo skirtalong

Note that the understitching is white in the photo above, and is not visible from the outside of the skirt. You can also just topstitch the pocket curves after pressing them if you’d prefer!

Next, fold the pockets up (basically you’re folding them in half) so that their lower edges line up with the top edge of the front skirt. Press, making sure the tops and sides are lined up with the skirt.

Sew just the inner edges of each pocket together (white dashed line in the photo below), but be careful to sew only through two pocket layers and not through the skirt — you’re just closing the inside of the pocket! Finish those seams; I’d recommend either a serger or a zig zag stitch. Then align pocket edges with sides and top of skirt again and press.

cleo sewalong day 3

Now baste the top and outside edges of the pockets to the skirt 1/4″ from edge (pretend that inner pocket seam is already sewn in the photo below…ahem. oops!). This step is important to hold the rest of the pocket in place while you sew the skirt together.

Cleo skirtalong

Here’s how the View A pockets should look from the inside (left) and outside (right) at this point:

Cleo skirtalong

I finished my inside pocket seams with my serger, but a zig zag finish works just as well. Check out the Seam Finish Appendix in the back of the pattern for my favorite seam finishes.

Step 3. Sew side seams (View A)

Now grab your BACK SKIRT pattern piece. Pin and sew front skirt and back skirt together along sides.

Cleo skirtalong

Not shown: Finish side seams as desired (zig zag or serge). Press seams toward back skirt.

Cleo skirtalong

Step 2. Attach pockets (View B)

Pin one pocket to each side of the front skirt with right sides together, aligning pockets at notches.

Cleo skirtalong / attach pockets view B

Cleo skirtalong / attach pockets view B

Sew pockets to skirt with 3/8″ seam allowance. Note that the seam allowance is 3/8″ here, but will be 1/2″ for the rest of the pattern. Finish these seams as desired, only along pocket (the side seams will be finished later). I’ve finished the seam below using a zig zag stitch.

Cleo skirtalong / attach pockets view B

Now it’s time to add the pockets to the back skirt! Before you do this, place the edges of the back and front skirt next to each other and make sure the pockets are lined up. I often find that even when I mark my dots and cut my notches, they can still be a little bit “off.”

Cleo skirtalong / attach pockets view B

Once you’re sure they’re lined up, pin and sew the pockets to the back skirt using a 3/8″ seam.

Press all of the pockets away from the skirt pieces. Understitch seam allowances to pocket by stitching through the pocket and seam allowances 1/8 away from the seam you just sewed (in the photo below, it would be just to the right of the seam).

Cleo skirtalong / attach pockets view B

Step 3. Sew side seams (View B)

Pin the front and back skirts together, lining up the pockets at the sides. Sew the sides together from the top of the skirt to the first dot, around the curved edge of the pocket, and from the second dot down to the hem.

Finish seams as desired (I used a serger, but you can use a zig zag or even a french seam for this seam). Press the pockets toward the front of the skirt.

Cleo skirtalong / attach pockets view B

Cleo skirtalong / attach pockets view B

That’s all for today! We’re going to break for the weekend, then come back on Monday to assemble and attach the waistband.

Go to Day 4

How are your skirts coming along? Feel free to leave comments & questions here, on Facebook or on Instagram! And we’d love to see your photos (use the #cleoskirt tag)!

Cleo Skirtalong Day 2: Cut out and prepare pattern pieces

Cut out your pieces / Cleo Skirtalong

Welcome to Day 2 of the Cleo Skirtalong! If you’re just joining us, see all of the skirtalong posts here.

Today it’s time to get to the fun stuff, starting with cutting out all of the pieces you need to sew Cleo!

The first thing you should do is fold the fabric in half on your cutting surface, lining up the selvage edges of the fabric as best you can. Gently smooth out any creases or wrinkles with your hands so that the two layers are completely flat. You should already have pressed your fabric with an iron, but if you need to do that to remove any remaining wrinkles, do that now.

Lay out all pattern pieces before cutting
I recommend that you lay out all of your traced pattern pieces on the fabric to visualize where they will go before you do any cutting. This also helps you make sure you have enough fabric before you start to cut. Line up the grainline arrows on the pattern pieces so they are parallel to the fabric fold/selvages.

Place your traced pattern pieces on the fabric as shown in the suggested cutting diagrams in your pattern. The cutting diagrams are found on pages 6 (View A) and 12 (View B) of the PDF, and on pages 4 and 5 of the printed pattern.

cut out your pieces

Time to cut!
Once you have your pattern pieces arranged the way you want them, pin your pattern pieces to the fabric or use pattern weights to hold them in place. Then carefully cut out your pieces, through both layers of fabric. I like to use a rotary cutter and mat because it goes quickly, but fabric shears are fine too.

You’ll also want to cut a piece of 1.25″ wide elastic using the chart provided on page 2 (PDF) or 12 (print).

Finally, cut out one front waistband from lightweight fusible interfacing.

For View A, you should have 1 front skirt, 1 front waistband, 1 front hem band, 1 back skirt, 1 back waistband, 1 back hem band, and two pockets, plus interfacing for the front waistband and your piece of elastic.

CleocuttingViewA

Remember to cut notches wherever they are indicated! This will make sewing the skirt easier later. Here’s the front waistband, for example, which has three notches on its lower edge:

Cleo skirtalong

For View B you should have 1 front skirt, 1 front waistband, 1 back skirt, 1 back waistband, and four pockets, plus interfacing for the front waistband and your piece of elastic.

For View B, sometimes I like to use a lining fabric for my pockets instead of the main fabric. My favorite lining fabric is cotton lawn, and I often use off-white or white.

CleoCuttingViewB

Again, make sure you have the notches added to help you attach the pockets later:

Cleo skirtalong

Then using a fabric marker or chalk, add the two pocket dots to each side of the skirt pieces, above and below the pocket notch (note that this is not shown; we added the dots to the pattern pieces after I took these photos)!

Prepare the waistband and hem bands
Use your iron to attach the fusible interfacing to the front waistband according to the manufacturers instructions. I recommend putting a piece of muslin between your iron and interfacing, always.

Then press the front and back waistbands in half lengthwise down their centers to create a crease. That will become the top of the waistband. Then press 3/8″ toward the wrong side along the top edge of both waistband pieces.

Cleo Skirtalong: prep waistband

Finally, press the hem band pieces in half down their centers (View A only, not shown).

Now you’re ready to attach the pockets!
Go to Day 3

Cleo Skirtalong Day 1: Get Ready

Cleo skirtalong Day 1 / get ready

Welcome to Day 1 of the Cleo Skirt Sewalong!

Today we’ll get everything ready for cutting, including prepping your fabric, measuring and choosing a size,  and tracing your pattern pieces!

Wash, dry, and press your fabric
Be sure to wash, dry, and press your fabric before you start! The rule of thumb is to wash, dry, and press it the same way you intend to after it’s worn. Exceptions to this would be fabrics which are dry clean only or synthetic fibers that might melt under the iron, so be careful!

Measure and choose your size
If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to take your measurements! For Cleo, you’ll need your hip and waist measurement.

Read more: How to take body measurements

Once you’ve taken your measurements, select your size from the size chart using your waist measurement:

Womens Size Chart - in cm - 9 sizes -792 - no logo

Since Cleo has so much extra room in the hip, you’ll want to use your waist as a starting point. If your hip puts you in a larger size than your waist does, just double check the finished measurements for your original size to make sure you’ll still have plenty of room (you’ll want at least 4″ ease, but my guess is that unless you are extremely pear-shaped, you won’t get close to this).

If your hip puts you in a smaller size than your waist and you choose based on your waist, you’ll probably end up with a fuller skirt than you need, so I would recommend sizing down to the size your hip measurement puts you into instead. Remember, the Cleo waistband is elastic in back, so you’ll most likely still have plenty of room. If you’re more than two sizes smaller in your hip than in your waist, choose one of the sizes in between.

When in doubt, size down
I’m discovering that this is true for both of the bottom separate patterns (Cleo, Luna) I’ve designed, and it’s probably because I’m bottom-heavy, size-wise. You’re better off sizing down than sizing up on Cleo because it’s a very roomy pattern, especially if your fabric isn’t lightweight. A few people on our showcase tour sized down for their second version of Cleo after making their first one and deciding they wanted less fullness, and that’s great! The awesome adjustability of the waistband means that you can do this if you want a look that’s a bit less full without any fit issues.

Print and assemble your pattern
If you haven’t already printed your pattern, go ahead and do that now. If you’ve sent your Cleo pattern to a copy shop to be printed or have purchased a print copy of the pattern, you can skip this step.

Once your pattern is printed, carefully check the scale of your pattern. There are marks on the side of each print margin, so place a ruler next to the marks and make sure it’s exactly 10″ long by 7.5″ wide. If it’s not, go back and print a test page until you are sure you have it full size. Then assemble your pattern.

Read more: How to Print and Assemble a PDF pattern

Trace your pattern pieces
Now it’s time to trace your pattern. If you’re using the print pattern, this is absolutely essential because the pattern pieces are printed on both sides of the pattern sheet. Even when I’m using a print-at-home PDF pattern, I always trace my pattern so I won’t have to print it out again! Using the size you’ve selected based on your measurements, trace each of the pieces you need using tracing paper. Read more: How to trace a pattern.

Cleo skirtalong

For View A, you’ll need to trace the front and back skirt, front and back waistband, front and back hem band, and the View A pocket pattern pieces.

For View B, you’ll need to trace the front and back skirt, front and back waistband, and View B pocket piece.

Cleo skirtalong

Once you’ve got the pattern traced, you’re ready for Day 2!

Go To Day 2

Are you sewing along? I’d love to see your Cleos! Tag your photos with #cleoskirt on Instagram, or show off your Skirtalong progress in my Facebook group.

Where to buy Cleo in print

Made By Rae Cleo Skirt Sewing Pattern
The Cleo skirt pattern is now available in print! Find a stockist here:

US

Blue Bar Quilts – Middleton, WI

Bolt Fabric Boutique – Portland OR

Cool Cottons – Portland, OR

Domesticity – Baltimore, MD

Fiddlehead Artisan Supply – Belfast, ME

Hartford Stitch – West Hartford, CT

Hawthorne Threads – online

Imagine Gnats – online

Indiesew – online

Knit & Bolt – Minneapolis, MN

Lola Pink Fabrics – Lafayette, LA

Maker Mountain Fabrics – Ben Lomond, CA

Nido – Burlington, VT

Sew Special Quilts – San Antonio, TX

Sew To Speak – Worthington, OH

Thread Lab – Menonomie, WI

Three Little Birds – Hyattsville, mD

CANADA

Fabric Spark – East York, ON

Knit Stitch – London, ON

AUSTRALIA

Selvage – online

Interested in carrying Made By Rae paper patterns in your shop? Visit our wholesale page to sign up!

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