Sewing McCall's Pattern 9682: Misses' Three-Section Skirt

Following a disappointing breakdown in the vintage blouse sewing, I needed an easy-breezy and fun project to get my sewing mojo back. The requisites? Fabric must not be silky/slick (twill is totally opposite the flowing blouse fabric), pattern must not require much altering, and I want to be able to wear it same-day. Here we are!

Contents: 2 yards of herringbone twill for $2.99, smelling like it came from some grandmother's musty basement. Zipper was part of giant bundle (30+) of vintage new & recycled zips that one woman had donated and I bought for just a few dollars, so we'll call it $.10. The piping and seam binding were also from vintage bundles for just a couple dollars, so we'll call them $.50 for the three. The pattern for $.99. The only non-thrifted parts of this garment are the woven interfacing that I had laying around and thread-- it was a partial spool from my stash probably ripped from mom's store, a sewing business, many years ago. . Total cost: $4.58 usd!

Pattern: McCall's 9682 using the pieces for the three-section "gathered skirt with center back zipper and patch pockets sewn on front." It was practically a rectangle for the front, two rectangles seamed and zippered in the back, plus a waistband and patch pockets. Simple! The waistband measured an inch smaller than my own measurement, so giving myself some breathing room/ease I traced the pattern piece and added 2 inches to the band by cutting and spreading at the approximate location of side seams and then adjusting my markings. Because the skirt pieces measured something like 50 inches before being gathered, I opted to just gather a bit less. No need to adjust through the hips. And, I obviously eliminated the suspenders.

Here's a picture of the layout. Trying to preserve as much fabric as possible, I shortened the fabric fold a bit to accommodate the single waistband and skirt front, on center fold, and then refolded the fabric with matching selvages to cut the skirt back because it was wider than the front.
Construction: First I interfaced the waistband, easy-peasy, then moved onto the pockets. Because I wanted some definition making the pockets visible, I cut the pockets on the cross-grain for a faint horizontal striping effect when contrasted against the vertical grain of the skirt front. I finished the edges with an overcast stitch on my sewing machine, and talk about thread guzzler. I had to fill my bobbin three times on this project. *Note, I dream of having a sewing space someday where I can leave my machines all set up and using the overlock/serger is as simple as turning it on and changing the thread color. It's such a hassle getting it in and out of storage in my room for just a few seconds of use. Anyway, finished the pocket edges, pressed, sewed, and turned the top, pressed the seams and produced my first mitered corners. Once I pinned the pockets on the skirt front, however, I felt they were too far apart and still lacked definition. I measured and moved them each about 1.5" closer to center front then considered making my own piping for fun. Stash rescue for easy piping instead!

Next, I debated the right color choice in zippers. I had one white metal zip that seemed *too* white, if that makes sense and one copper-colored metal zip with navy fabric. These seemed like the best choices and I opted for the navy/copper. After seaming the center back and inserting the zipper, I wasn't feeling pleased with the fabric edges. Rather than serge the edges, I got fancy and finished with seam binding! Another first for me.

Next, I seamed the sides while taking care to bind the edges, machine-stitched two rows of basting at waistline and gathered by hand until skirt waist was about equal to waistband length, minus the overlap for waistband of course. Basted the waistband on, stitched in place, stitched and turned my ends in, then folded the waistband over and sewed it down. Straightforward. Hand sewed two hook and eye closures (which, now that I've worn this skirt, are definitely sewn too far from the edge and also press uncomfortably into my spine with sitting with my back against something. Think I will replace them with snaps.), turned the hem up 2" and blind-hemmed in place. Oh, and I pressed after each step like a good seamstress should, which is contrary to my usual speed-through.

Observations: I probably could have finished this skirt in under 3 hours if I swapped the seam binding for serged edges and eliminated the piping, and had a decent workspace. I need a good sized hip-level table covered with cutting mats, because laying everything out on the floor and maneuvering my one little cutting mat, switching between scissors and roller cutter when pieces are too large, etc, is a real pain! I also would like a sewing table or desk, please and thank you, but it must accommodate both the sewing and overlock machines in the same space or close proximity. I also need a standard ironing board instead of the silly table-top (or floor-top) one I have.

All these needs are the reason I go to Goodwill nearly every week. That store is my sewing lifeline-- I've purchased almost all my notions (zippers, thread, buttons, bias tape, seam binding, etc) there, most of my fabric, my vintage Singer sewing machine, attachments, and coordinating stool with hidden organizer under the lid (all on separate trips), and more. The wool and linen covered Tailor's ham, vintage wooden-based sleeve board, bias tape maker, and point presser/clapper are just a few things I've found for a few dollars each. My mom even bought my serger on! This amounts to HUNDREDS in savings and are all things I *need* to be an efficient and competent seamstress... well, except that extra Singer sewing machine. The Bernina 1008 is my go-to gal but I've used both when friends visit for sewing dates and I like having both around.

Wow, I'm rambling. Here are photos of the finished project, including a shot of the center back, side seam and hem so you can see the seam binding in full force. The raw edges at the waist are encased by the waistband.

This picture shows how the skirt hangs on my body, but ignore the weird pose/face. Oh the camera timer can be tricky. I'm also struggling to accept that styles from the 1960s, while adorable and fill my pattern collection, are not the most flattering style for my curvy body. Androgyny and my hips/waist/bust just don't go together that well. I think I'm more suited to vintage styles that compliment my curves. What do you think-- frumpy or appropriately modest? I'm considering shortening the hem another 2" but wonder if it would be too short. It's worth mentioning that this items is currently the shortest garment in my wardrobe...

PS. Mom made my shirt. :) And you can check out the pattern review here.


  1. Love the colour splash of the binding/piping on your skirt! Great sewing...

  2. Its so cute! And my goodness, your hair is LONG!

  3. OMG! your blog is amazing, and i am jealous of your sewing skills. I hope you don't mind that i have to stalk you now. (your blog i mean.. i don't want to be too creepy)


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