Monday, November 23, 2015

How to Sew a Lined Skirt with a Vent

I need more basics in my wardrobe and like wearing pencil skirts so I decided to make one. 
I went stash diving and came up with some wool houndstooth and one vented skirt pattern by McCalls... M3830. It's a favorite TNT on patternreview.com. The only problem is that isn't lined. 


Excuse my mini rant: This is the only pattern I was able to find currently available for purchase that has a CB overlapping vent, and it doesn't have a lining. I'd venture to guess that's how they can justify calling it "Quick & Easy", which it certainly is. I'm a just bit peeved that there is no intermediate version for sewists who've made a few garments before and just want to make a basic skirt to rival what can be bought for $90 at LL Bean. Sigh. 

Fine. I can add the freakin lining myself. I like pattern-making after all and have drafted vented, lined pencil skirt in my sportswear pattern-making class at FIT. 

So I located my drafting notes, but unfortunately the sewing order of operations are missing. Drat! Then, after several evenings perusal of my entire sewing reference library I discovered that I have no references for this basic design detail. Vogue Sewing, McCalls, several vintage Singer books and the Singer Reference Series, my beloved Reader's Digest, every book I have by Claire Shaeffer and Nancy Zeiman.... none of them covered how to sew a lined skirt with a center back vent. Imagine my surprise and dismay. 

Well, what could I do other than figure it out my damn self? Nothing, so that is just want I did. 
Of course I took pictures on my cell phone while doing so... someone had to! 



First, a quick note on cutting the lining. I didn't draft a separate lining piece... I was too lazy for that and didn't really think it was necessary. What I did was cut using the body pattern pieces, with the following adjustments made while cutting: 
* I cut the side seams an extra 1/8" wide so that I would gain 1/2" total all around for ease. 
* I raised the center back seam 1/4" at the waist blending into the back waist darts. This adds a little vertical ease in the center back seam for ones bum and ensure that the lining doesn't end up too short which would cause the vent to hike up. 
* I cut the hem 1" shorter than the self. 
* I cut the wearer's Left back lining piece with a cut away for the vent underlap (on the line I'm pointing to in the photo above)

Order of Operations for a Lined Skirt with a Vent


Note: If your fabric has no discernible face as mine did, it helps to do each part of the self and lining prep in tandem to ensure that the pieces are being placed in the correct orientation. Or draw yourself a diagram, as I did.


Prepare the Self/Fashion:

  • Stitch waist darts (press to CF/CB) and stay-stitch waist seam. 
  • Fuse the Vent and the Zipper setting

  • Stay-stitch vent inner corners. Clip to dot.
  • Pre finish the side and CB seams in your chosen method (overlock, zig-zag, etc)
  • Insert Zipper into CB seam above dot. 
  • Stitch CB seam from bottom of zipper to dot above vent.  Press open. (1)
  • Stitch backs to front at side seams. Press open.


Prepare the Lining: Note: seam allowances will be between the lining and the self. 

  • Baste waist pleats (pleat uptake to sides) and stay-stitch waist seam.
  • Stay-stitch wearer’s right Lining Vent corners. Clip to dot.
  • Pre finish the CB seam in your chosen method. (overlock, zig-zag, etc)

  • Stitch backs to front at sides. Finish using your chosen method.
  • Hem Lining shorter than Self final length.
  • Stitch CB seam from dot (bottom of zipper) to dot above vent. Press open. (1)
I actually finished my CB seam allowances after stitching the CB seam, but I wouldn't do it that way again.

Attach Self to Lining at Vent:
Note: Some of these seams will require starting precisely at seam lines rather than the fabric edge. 

  • Pin the long side of Vent on wearer’s right side Self to Lining from the top angled seam line to bottom of hem allowance. Stitch. Press seam toward Self.**This side is the underlap** 

  • Pin the long side of Vent on wearer’s left side Self to Lining from the top angled seam line to bottom of hem allowance. Stitch. Press seam toward Lining. **This side is the bend back** 



  • Tuck all the angled seam allowances up. Match the stay stitch lines. 

  • Stitch angled top seam of Vent on self and lining, all layers together, starting at the inner seam-line dot. (4) **This will require reaching between the Lining and Self layers** Press seam up.



  • Topstitch across angle at top of vent through the wearer’s left side self and vent bend back only to secure.


Continue with remaining skirt construction: Self hem and Waistband. 

And there you have it!
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