I hope you’ve been enjoying seeing the Sabina Skirt pop up on your social media feeds as much as me! It has been incredible seeing this pattern come to life and seeing you all bring your unique style to the table.

Since its release, one of the most common questions I’ve been asked is:

Is this suitable for beginners?

One of the main things I wanted to do was make this pattern as beginner friendly as possible. If you can make a stitch on the sewing machine (however wobbly), you can make this skirt!

If you’ve downloaded it, you’ll have seen that the instructions are full of detailed tips and line drawings to help you along (seriously, even my husband managed to follow them). But sometimes you just need to see things to get your head around it- especially when you’re new to sewing. So while I was sewing my sample up, I decided to take some photos to create a sew-along (apologies about the lighting, it was a blindingly bright day).

I’ll post these blog posts a bit at a time so you don’t get too overwhelmed, but feel free to take a break at any point (or carry on if you want to!)

REMEMBER: sewing is a learning curve. If something doesn’t make sense or it feels like everything is going wrong, just take a step back. Even the most seasoned sewer will have to reach for the seam ripper at some point or will step away from on a project when it gets too much. Come back to it later and if you prefer a different way to sew up the skirt- go for it! It’s yours!

The best way to use these photos is to pull them up alongside the drawings- sometimes its best to have both to help you understand something. Plus the main instructions will have the bulk of the detail.

Shall we dive in?

Before we begin

Note that all the seam allowances* in this pattern are 1cm (⅜ inch) except for the ruffle hem. Back stitch* at the start and at the end of a line of stitching.

You’ll be sewing the skirt up with a straight stitch with a suggested stitch length of 2.5-3.0mm (but test to see what works best for your fabric). If you get skipped stitches/uneven sewing, think about using a new machine needle or swapping out for a different type according to your fabric.

*See the instructions PDF for a more detailed explanation of these terms

Right side of fabric: the side of the fabric that you intend to wear on the outside

Wrong side of the fabric: the side of the fabric that will be on the inside when worn

Cutting Out

Cut your pattern pieces out according to the layout plan. You can use fabric scissors or a rotary cutter. Investing in good cutting equipment is a must if you plan to sew at all. You’ll quickly grow frustrated at blunted scissors.

Keep your pattern pieces in place with either pins or pattern weights. These don’t need to be fancy! You can substitute in cans of beans, pebbles, mugs (maybe not full of tea…) etc etc. This will stop the fabric shifting underneath and leaving you with a misshaped pattern piece.

Marking Notches

I’m not gonna lie. I didn’t know what a notch was until I was in the very first task on the very first day of The Great British Sewing Bee (yeah, it was a learning curve!) But these clever little lines that you’ll find on the pattern edges (or triangles), are ‘pattern notches’ and help you line up different pieces of the pattern when sewing it up. Like a jigsaw puzzle. Marking these accurately now will help you further down the line.

There are lots of ways to mark notches and which one you choose may depend on the type of fabric you have: you can use dressmakers chalk or special water/heat removable pens. You can even use a leftover slither of a soap bar. Just make sure you test it out on an area of your fabric to make sure it doesn’t leave any permanent marks. (Or a cheeky felt tip/biro- but definitely check it doesn’t seep through/run with water! Make sure you stay in the seam allowance.)

Interfacing

This is an optional step before we start sewing. If your fabric is particularly lightweight, you might want to reinforce the pocket edge with some interfacing. Interfacing is a material that strengthens fabric. You can get this as a sew-in or iron-on (fusible) product. If you are interfacing your pocket edges, apply the interfacing to the diagonal pocket opening on the pocket bags only (wrong side). N.B. I have not interfaced this skirt as it isn’t super lightweight (just showing as an example).

Pocket Construction

Phew, are you ready for some actual sewing??

1. Staystitch*, 0.5cm (¼ inch) from the edge of the fabric, along the diagonal pocket openings on the pocket bags and skirt front. Be careful not to pull the fabric as you sew. When fabric is cut at an angle it’s more prone to being stretched out of shape.

*See the instructions PDF for a more detailed explanation of these terms

Line the right edge of the fabric up with the 0.5cm (1/4 inch) mark on the needle plate
Stay-stitched areas- only the diagonal pocket edge on the front skirt and both pocket pieces

3. With the right sides together, lay the pocket bag onto the skirt front matching up along the diagonal pocket opening.

Pin them together, using the notch to help you line it up.

Stitch along this seam with the standard 1cm (⅜ inch) seam allowance.

4. Now lay out the pocket bag and skirt so that they are both flat, facing wrong side up. Press your seam allowance towards the pocket bag.

5. Turn back over and understitch* the pocket edge (around 2-3mm away from the seam you just sewed). Understitching is a way to keep linings, facings or pockets bags neatly tucked away inside the garment. This is usually done 2-3mm* ( 1/16 – ⅛ inch ) away from the seam edge as you sew through the fabric and seam allowance to secure it in place.

Close up
Understitching the pocket bag (notice the seam lining up with the red notch on the pressor foot)

*You can line up the seam line with the edge of your presser foot to help you keep it straight.

Press the pocket bag back towards the skirt front along the pocket opening.

We’re now going to make a French seam to secure the bottom of the pocket bag. This will give an extra neat finish to your pocket on the inside.

6. Turn your skirt over so you can see the wrong side. Working with just the pocket bag: Fold the pocket bag in half, wrong sides together so that the bottom edge is lined up.

Stitch along this edge with a 0.5cm ( ¼ inch) seam allowance.

Press and trim away a few mm off the seam allowance.

7. Turn the skirt back over so the right side is facing up, and turn the pocket bag out. The pocket should now be right-sides together and the raw edge we just trimmed should be hidden inside. Press.

8. Stitch along the bottom edge of the pocket bag with a 0.5cm ( ¼ inch) seam allowance to finish the French seam.

Finishing the French Seam with that raw edge neatly hidden away

Now we’re almost done with the pockets, we just need to secure them in place ready for the next step…

9. Pin the pocket in place by matching up the notches along the waist and the side seam. Baste* in place using a 0.5cm (¼ inch) seam allowance.

The notch on the skirt waistband (A) marks the edge of the folded pocket. Arrow B is where the two notches on the pocket itself fold and match up. Arrow C is the notch on the side seam and is on the skirt, and both pocket edges.

Repeat the pocket steps for the second pocket

*See the instructions PDF for a more detailed explanation of these terms

Admire Your Handy Work

I mean, look at that. That’s a nice looking pocket, don’t you think?

We’re gonna break here for today, but hopefully that’s been helpful. Do let me know in the comments if you have any questions or maybe some suggestions- like more annotations in the photos themselves? Or less?

I’ll be back soon with Part 2: Main Skirt and Waistband.

Don’t forget to tag me if you make the skirt- IG @thelittlepomegranate and use the hashtag #SabinaSkirt so I can see your gorgeous makes!

If you haven’t yet downloaded the pattern, don’t worry! Just hit subscribe here via MailChimp and it will wing its way over to you*

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2 replies on “Sabina Skirt Sew-Along: Part 1, Getting Started and Pocket Construction

  1. Hi Rumana I have been getting your newsletters but the actual Sabina pattern does not seem to be attached anywhere. I also looked in my spam folder but no … Could you please send it again? Thank you Sue

    On Mon, 15 Nov 2021 at 12:03 AM, The Little Pomegranate | Rumana wrote:

    > Rumana posted: ” I hope you’ve been enjoying seeing the Sabina Skirt pop > up on your social media feeds as much as me! It has been incredible seeing > this pattern come to life and seeing you all bring your unique style to the > table. Since its release, one of the most c” >

    Like

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