Layers and Side Seams on the Conifer Skirt

We’re ready to start sewing the Conifer Skirt! Before this point you should have already cut and marked your fabric as well as tested and chosen the stitch you will use to sew. Most of this portion of the sewalong is dealing with the shingles, so skip down to the bottom if you aren’t putting layers on your skirt.

hem conifer skirt layers

HEMMING: Before we attach any of the shingles, you will want to hem them (if you have chosen to do so. Remember, that choice was made when you cut the fabric. Hemming isn’t necessary and the skirt used for the majority of these photos does not have hemmed shingles). Fold the bottom of each layer to the wrong side 5/8″ and run a line of stitching just below the raw edge of the fabric. On many knit fabrics the right and wrong side look similar, so make sure that you are hemming a shingle and its mirror image.

ensure layer is oriented correctly

LAYERS: We apply the shingles from the bottom up, one shingle at a time. Before doing any pinning or stitching, I like to lay the bottom-most layer in place and make sure that I have oriented it correctly.

pin layer along placement line

Flip the shingle up so it is right sides together with the front/back of the skirt and laying with the top edge of the shingle along the layer placement line. The odd angles to each piece should line up with the side of the skirt for the 5/8″ of what will be the seam allowance (you can see that clearly at the bottom of this picture) so if your shingle isn’t aligning, you are using the wrong shingle or the wrong side of a shingle. Pin in place.

stitched conifer skirt layer

Stitch the shingle in place using a 5/8″ seam allowance.

stitch conifer skirt layer along sewing line

There are a couple of different ways to stitch a 5/8″ seam allowance when you can’t see the markings on the plate of your sewing machine (which in this instance is covered by the fabric of the front/back). Some machines have a guide that you can attach at any width you want. I’ve set my guide to 5/8″ away from my needle and then stitch with the guide tracking along the edge of my shingle fabric.

mark stitching line on conifer skirt

If you don’t have a guide that you can attach to your machine, use a long clear ruler to mark with chalk or a fabric marker the 5/8″ seam line on your shingle fabric and then sew along that chalked line.

press conifer skirt layer down

Fold the shingle down and press it in place. Yes, you can press knits! Remember that your fabric likely has synthetic content in it (because you selected fabric with recovery) so you want to carefully check the heat on your iron before pressing.

trace next shingle placement line on conifer skirt

If you are marking one layer placement line at a time (like in the written instructions), mark the next layer placement line (one layer higher than the layer you just stitched). If you cheated a bit by marking all the lines at once (like I mentioned you can do during the sewalong), touch up the placement line by continuing it over the portion that is covered by the shingle you just sewed.

align conifer skirt layer

Now we just repeat the shingle process, working our way up the skirt. Again, lay down each shingle before pinning and sewing to make sure that you are using the right shingle and orienting it the right way.

pin conifer skirt layer in place

Pin it in place along the placement line…

stitch and press conifer skirt layer

…sew it, and press it down.

pin layer 1 on conifer skirt

When you have completed sewing all of the layers 6-2, set layer 1 on the top of the skirt, aligning the top of the layer to the top of the front/back. Pin it in place.

baste layer 1 to top of conifer skirt

Baste layer 1 in place, stitching inside of the seam allowance and using a long stitch length. (It doesn’t actually have to be a stretchable stitch because you can pull the basting out after you have sewn the top seam to the waistband). Remember, you should end up with a front and a back that are mirror images of each other.

pin side of conifer skirt

SIDE SEAMS: For all views, pin the side seams of the skirt together.

pin conifer skirt sides matching layers

If you have sewn layers, you want to make sure that your layers are lining up perfectly on the sides. Use a fair number of pins to keep things in place. Remember that it is only the innermost 2 layers of fabric in the sandwich (as viewed from the side) that will show on the side of the finished skirt. So in the example above, it’s critical that the royal blue matches (there’s still some wiggling to do in the fabric above to get it perfect) and while it’s good to have the navy blue meeting perfectly, it’s not as critical.

match conifer skirt layers at side

This is what well matched shingles will look like on the side – they both disappear into the side seam at the same point. (Note that it’s a coincidence that the light purple and royal blue disappear at the same point. What I mean is that the royal blue layer on the front meets the side seam at the same point as the royal blue layer on the back and the light purple layer on the front meets the side seam at the same point as the light purple layer on the back).

matching stripes on side of conifer skirt

I did want to make a special note about matching stripes since the layered versions of the Conifer Skirt are so perfect for stripes. As I said above, it’s only the innermost layers (when looking at the side seam from the side) that will show on the finished skirt, so you don’t need to match every single strip of every single layer. However, on the layers that you do match, I do recommend putting a pin at every stripe or two (depending of course on the width of your stripes).

sew side seams on conifer skirt

Sew your side seams! If you have a layer that extends beyond the bottom of the skirt, continue your line of stitching all the way through the layer extension as well.

serge sides of conifer skirt to reduce bulk

I recommend pinking or serging your side seams if you are sewing a view with layers. Finishing them isn’t what’s important because the knits won’t unravel, but you don’t want a lot of bulk at your side seams and the sides of the layered shingles are especially bulky at place with many layers of fabric.

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