Today we’re going to go over what I think is the easiest and quickest method of joining a bodice to a gathered skirt.
To prepare the skirt for gathering, first machine baste on the right side along the seamline (A). Baste between the “sections” so that the basting lines start and stop about 5/8” before and after the side seamlines and at the center back. The reason for starting and stopping between sections is because it is difficult to pull a gathering thread through several layers as you have at the side seams and center back seam. Leave the thread ends at least 3”-4” long. Place a second row of gathering stitches ¼” above the first row in the skirt seam line
Turn the skirt to the wrong side and the bodice to the right side (B). Place the bodice into the skirt, right sides together. With the raw edges even, pin the two sections together matching the notches, side seams and center back and front marks. Place pins in several spots between the seamlines to begin the gathering process.
To complete the gathering process, pull on the bobbin threads (C), until each skirt section lies flat against the corresponding bodice section. Wrap the gathering threads round a pin to secure the thread. Add a few more pins in the gathering areas to insure that the gathering is positioned properly.
Stitch the seamline (D) on the skirt side, from opening to opening. Work slowly, feeding the fabric through the machine carefully and keeping any pleats or tucks from being caught in the seam. Remove any gathering threads that are visible on the right side. Finish the seam edges with a zig zag stitch.
Press the seam as stitched, then pull the bodice up out of the skirt. To avoid flattening the gathers, press up into them with the tip of the iron (E). After the bodice and skirt are attached, you’re ready to put in the zipper (see the section on zippers).
These “how to” tutorials are an excerpt from our book “Basic Clothing Construction”. This book is a handy addition to have in your sewing room, so you can refer to the various sewing tips and tutorials at any time.