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(Part Two) Bernina 830 and a Renaissance Petal Skirt

Next, it’s time to do the waistband. I’m going to cut a strip of black fabric for the waistband. Black happens to be the leftover on top of the pile, so black is what it’s going to be!

Three panels of four 4″ wide panels means a pre-elastic waist of about 48 inches — so I’m going to cut a waistband of about 50 inches. My leftover fabric isn’t that long — but it is 44″ inches wide. I’m going to cut a 4″ wide swath along the 44″ length.

To do this, I’ll cut a small “notch” measured four inches along one side — then I’ll “tear” along the width of the fabric. Since a tear will follow the weave and not stray, I’ll get a much straighter “cut” than if I had tried to cut with a roller or a pair of scissors.

This gives me two four inch by 44 inch rectangles. I need a 50 inch wide rectangle, so I’m going to join the two pieces, fold in half along the join, then cut at the 25 inch point. Unfolded, that’ll give me a 50 inch by four inch rectangle of black fabric that will be my waistband.


First, I’ve got to join the two pieces. I’m going to use a French Seam for the joining. There is no right/wrong side to worry about, so I pick one end of each piece of fabric, line them up. then sew for four inches along the edge. I used a seam allowance of about 1/2 inch.

Next, I trim this seam to about 1/8″ inch. Fold again so that the trimmed edge is on the inside. Finger press the seam flat, then sew another 4″ line about 1/4 inside the edge. This will encase the previously trimmed edge.

Unfold, and I now have a single piece of waistband that’s about 4 inches wide and 88 inches long!

I only need 50 inches of waistband, so fold along the seam again, measure 25 inches from the seam, then cut. That’ll give me a 4 inch by 50 inch piece of fabric to use as a waistband.

All right, waistband is ready to be attached — so let’s look at the petal skirt waist again.

I don’t like the look at the panel joins — might need a little more strength here.

Okay, I’m going to sew a single reenforcement line about 1/4 inch inside the waistband … all around the waist. This’ll strengthen those joins — not sure if it’s needed, but it sure won’t hurt (plus it makes me feel a little better!)


I plan to use 3/4″ elastic inside the waistband. I’m measuring 1 inch down from the top of the petal waistband, then I’m pinning the black waistband that will become a casing for the elastic. I’m planning so sew a line about 1/4 inch inside this black waistband, so the bottom of the waistband will come about 1 1/4 inches from the top of the petal waistband.

When I pin all along the black waistband, I’ve got a little overlap — since my petal waistband is about 48 inches and my black waistband is 50 inches. I fold 1/2 of an inch inside along each edge of the black waistband so that the two ends overlap about an inch or so.

I’ve pinned the black waistband to the right side of the petal skirt.

Now I’m going to sew my first attaching seam. This goes about 1/4 of an inch inside the pinned black waistband. After sewing all along this side (I’m sewing this to the front of the skirt), I’m going to fold what remains over to the rear of the skirt.

This first seam won’t be visible since I’m going to fold it over.

After completing the seam, I fold the black portion over the top of the petal waistband to the rear of the skirt. I press it down and it reaches a bit more than 2 inches down from the top. I fold under the bottom portion such that the bottom of the folded portion is just a bit longer than the first waistband seam that I’ve just sewn.

I now need to sew one additional seam to lock in the back portion of the black waistband casing. I’ve arranged it such that a single seam just inside the front part of the casing will lock the back portion of the casing as well.

This particular seam will be visible — so I thought a little bit about what I wanted to do. I could have used black thread so that it would hidden … or I could have used some sort of embellishment stitch … but what I decided to do was use a multi-colored thread and a very short stitch narrow zigzag — almost a satin stitch.

I bought two types of multi-colored thread — one metallic spool and another multi-colored serger-sized spool. (The serger sized spool actually was half the price of the metallic thread.) I experimented and the metallic just simply didn’t work at all. All I could see was the white bobbin thread, not the upper metallic. I switched to the serger spool and it worked wonderfully!

I used the multi-color serger thread on the top and left my original white bobbin thread installed. I set the Bernina to about a 2 mm zigzag stitch and adjust the stitch length to about 1/2 mm. Here’s what it looked like!

After stitching all the way around the waistband, this is the result! I really like the multi-colored look with the multi-colored panels. If I had been thinking, I might have selected panel colors that matched the thread colors!

This completed attaching my black casing waistband. Remember, I still have an opening where the two black ends overlapped. I had originally planned to run a satin stitch just inside the top of the black waistband as well as at the bottom, but I didn’t leave quite enough room for a 3/4″ piece of elastic. I should have added about another 1/8″ to 1/4″ at the bottom of the casing to have a little extra at the top.


Time to insert the elastic. I cut a piece of 3/4 inch elastic so that it was about 3 inches less than my wife’s waist. I attached a large safety pin to one end of the elasic and pinned the other end of the elastic so that it was just underneath the overlap opening of the black waistband.

I then worked the safety pin and elastic inside the casing. I then began pushing the safety pin along the casing so that it pulled the elastic along with it.

When you do this, the main thing you want to watch for is that the elastic doesn’t “roll” on you. Pinning the outside piece down helps stop this. I’ve purchased several different elastic feeding gizmos, but none of them work as good or as fast as a medium large safety pin.

By the way, when you insert the elastic, you can choose to insert the elastic in front of the petals or in back of the petals — you can insert from the front or insert from the back. I inserted from the front so that the elastic will have the petals and the rear of the casing between itself and the wearer of the skirt. I figured this would be more comfortable.

As you feed the safety pin along, the casing will begin to bunch together. If you don’t watch it, all this bunching will occur at the overlap portion. Every now and then, stop and pull the bunching (or gathering) along so that it’s pretty much equal all along the casing.

Here, the scissors mark where the safety pin has reached inside the casing. Note how the waistband is “gathered” or bunched on one side of the scissors but isn’t on the other side. Manually fiddle with the bunching so that it spreads pretty equally. You’ll have to do this several times as you pull the safety pin along.

When you finally work the safety pin all along the casing, reach in and pull it out of the overlap portion. If you set it up right, the overlap will only be an inch or less — this’ll make it easy to pull the safety pin and attached elastic out of the casing.

You now have both ends of the elastic sticking out of the casing overlap. Time to sew these two ends together.

Let the two ends overlap an inch — be extra careful that you don’t introduce a fold or roll at this point!!! You can handsew the two ends together, or you can attach the two ends with your machine. Either way, make sure you stitch it enough to be strong — because the elastic will be stretched and pulling against the stitches most of the time.

Once you attached the two elastic ends, pull on the gathering so that the elastic is pulled completely inside the casing. Now, handsew the overlap closed. I used a piece of black thread and ran a dozen or so stitches to close the overlap. You don’t have to sew through the elastic.

Here’s what the completed waistband with elastic and closed overlaps looks like! Note the gathered appearance — that’s because our 48 inch waistband just became a 32 inch waistband thanks to our elastic!

I really like the multi-colored satin stitch — next time, I’ll be sure and leave enough slack so that I can have a satin stitch on the top of the elastic as well as on the bottom of the elastic!

And here’s the finished product again — I couldn’t keep my daughter interested enough to capture the skirt while twirling — but you can kind of see how there is more fabric below the hips than at the waist, which makes the skirt flow more easily over the hips while not bunching at the waist.

Next time, I’ll probably try some of the enhancements I mentioned earlier — plus I might add some sort of bead at the point of each petal … or maybe some trim all along the bottom edge!

Hope you were able to follow my fumbling explanation — and good luck with your petal skirt!

And, by the way, here’s the petal skirt I ultimately did for festival. It has 5 colors in each of three panels — or 15 petals total. I made each petal about an inch narrower, so the skirt is about the same circumference as the 12 petal skirt.

Don’t know if you can tell, but I made the waistband a little wider this time. That let me put an embellished line on both sides (top and bottomm) of the elastic.