How to Sew a Lined Picnic Skirt
The floral and stripes trend is one that I’ve been silently observing for a while now. Most can pull it off fabulously, but I had serious doubts about my own success. With no print-mixing experience and a small aversion to floral prints, I just haven’t been ready to go there.
But “there” is a place I should have ventured long ago. Like, years ago. It turns out stripes and an abstract floral (emphasis on abstract) are totally my jam. And because Pinterest told me that swing skirts deserve to be paired with a classic boatneck tee, that’s exactly what I did.
I present to you the Picnic Skirt by Sew Caroline (15% off with coupon code PICNIC15), worn with the Shoreline Boat Neck by Blank Slate Patterns. Even better? All the ingredients for this handmade wardrobe concoction are available in our shop. Yes, even these fine fabrics can be found here.
Pattern Name: Shoreline Boat Neck by Blank Slate Patterns
Size Sewn: XXS (sized down two sizes for super stretchy knit fabric)
Fabric: Black and White Mini Stripe Rayon Lycra Jersey
Mods: Sleeve width decrease by 1”
So, let’s get back to this Picnic Skirt. This sewing pattern by Sew Caroline is a great spring and summer wardrobe builder. This high-waisted, knee-length skirt has a hi-low hem and center back zipper. Plus this pattern is 15% off with coupon code PICNIC15 until Sunday, April 17 at 10 p.m. MT!
When I first saw our Abstract Lilies Crepe de Chine fabric, I knew a Picnic Skirt would be the perfect pattern. But because this crepe de chine is so light and delicate, it needs a lining. Today I’m showing you my process for adding a lining to a simple skirt!
In reality, this tutorial is applicable to any basic skirt pattern that has a center back or side zip (invisible or standard). The process of adding a lining gets a bit trickier when dealing with kick pleats or vents, so for the sake of simplicity I do not recommend using this tutorial for those designs.
What you’ll need:
- 3 Yards Lining fabric (I used a black poly/spandex fabric)
- Zipper foot (standard or invisible)
- All supplies as noted in the Picnic Skirt pattern
1. Prepare Skirt and Lining Pieces
Cut out the skirt pattern pieces as the pattern instructs.
Then, shorten the hem of both the front and back pattern pieces by 1”. I do this by measuring with my seam gauge and marking the new hem length periodically. Then I trim the excess paper from the pattern piece.
Next use these modified pattern pieces to cut front and back skirt pieces from the lining fabric. The Picnic Skirt features a lined waistband, so there’s no need to cut an additional waistband lining. If your pattern does not feature a lined waistband, cut waistband pieces from your lining fabric.
Remember to interface the outer waistband for added stability. No interfacing is needed for the waistband lining.
2. Assemble front and back skirt and lining
Follow the pattern instructions to join the front and back skirt pieces and add the waistband for both the skirt and the lining. For the Picnic Skirt, this means you’ll complete steps 1 through 4.
At this point, I also like to serge down each raw edge of the center back seams to keep my fabric from fraying as the zipper is inserted. Do this for both the skirt and lining fabric.
3. Insert Zipper
Align the zipper with the serged edge of the center back seam, right sides together. Use tailor’s chalk to mark 1/2” down from the top of the waistband and align the top zipper stops with those markings. In the photo below I've also marked where the waistband seam should align with the zipper.
Note: Notice that the edge of my zipper tape is aligned with the inner edge of my serger thread in the photo right. Since the Picnic Skirt’s seam allowances are 1/2”, it’s necessary to place the zipper to the left of center back edge (1/4” here), so that you don’t sew on top of the zipper teeth. The closer you sew to your zipper teeth, the less visible the zipper will be when worn.
Pin, baste, or use Wonder Tape (my preferred method) to keep the zipper in place before sewing. Then sew with a 1/2” seam allowance to secure the zipper to the dress. Repeat for the other side.
Now is a good time to try on the skirt to check fit. How well does it fit through the waist and hips? Make any necessary adjustments at this time. Don’t forget to make the same adjustments to your lining.
4. Close Back Center Seams
Now that our zipper is inserted, it’s time to close up the center back seam of the skirt. Align the raw edges of the center seam starting at the bottom of the skirt, and pin up to the zipper.
Starting at the bottom, sew this seam with a 1/2” seam allowance. When you get near the zipper, slowly increase to a slightly larger seam allowance until you’ve sewn 1/4” past the zipper stops. Backstitch several times. Press this seam open.
Measure the length of the seam you just sewed, from the bottom of the skirt up to 1/4” past the bottom zipper stops.
Measure the same distance on the back center of the lining pieces and mark with tailor’s chalk. Now align the serged edges of the center back lining. Sew starting at the bottom of the skirt up to the marking and backstitch well several times. Press this seam open.
5. Sew Lining and Skirt Together
We’re almost there! Align the skirt and lining right sides together by putting the skirt inside of the lining. Pin along the waistband and down each side of the zipper.
Position your presser foot as far down the zipper of one side as you are able and sew, traveling up the zipper, pivoting at the waistband corner, sewing along the entire waistband, and back down the other side of the zipper. I use a 3/8” seam allowance along the back center seam so I don’t overlap my previous seam and a 1/2” seam allowance along the waistband.
Return to the side of the zipper you started on and sew down the zipper as far as you can. Turn the skirt right side out and check for puckers or other errors.
If all looks good, turn the skirt inside out again and trim the corners of the waistband to reduce bulk. Then grade the waistband seam allowance down to 1/4”.
Turn the skirt right side out and press well along the waistband and zipper.
Your skirt should look like this, inside and out:
Check it out - no exposed seams, and no hand sewing!
6. Hem the Skirt and Lining
The last step of this process is to hem both the skirt and the lining. Follow the pattern instructions to hem the skirt and use the same hem allowance on the lining. Don’t forget to hem your lining towards the wrong side of the lining fabric so that the visible lining looks polished and professional!
Now step back and admire your handiwork. Doesn’t a lining give this skirt a high-end, ready-to-wear feel? Pair yours with a striped tee and some sassy heels for a fun feminine outfit. And don’t forget to tag your creation with #picnicskirt and #indiesew on social media so we can give you a virtual high five!
Happy skirt sewing!
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