Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Keep it on the straight and narrow

Or not.  I can honestly say there isn't a straight line on this skirt and I like it!  The pattern is from the BurdaStyle website.  This was one of my first runs on a PDF pattern and I was pleasantly surprised at how it well it went together.  Adding seam allowances (I went with 5/8" because I knew I would be finishing the edges of the seam allowances) was pretty easy.  Assembling the pattern, while time consuming, wasn't difficult. Of course, a good paper cutter and some glue made all the different.  Thank you scrapbook supplies.  They are good for more than gathering dust these days!
A nice hot cup of Whittard Spiced Imperial Tea makes
 sure the pattern doesn't go wandering off while I'm putting it together.
Looking at the long paper pieces, I was sure this skirt was going to hang far too long on me.  At 5' 4", I frequently chop two to four inches off of middy skirts so that they'll actually hang mid-calf instead of at my ankles.  I figured this skirt would be another one of those, and I even went so far as to measure/mark out a 4" cut off on the pattern pieces.  Rather than take the drastic step of cutting the pattern and then the fabric, I figured this was a good place to stop, back up and make a muslin.  What is the point in having muslin if I don't actually use it, right?

Check out that sock action!
I'm glad I did it!  This pattern is the perfect length as is.  Any shorter in the front and I'd be worried about flashing the world. I also found the fit was perfect, although I did manage to sew it together inside out.  I marked each piece for right and wrong side, but only got the back right and second guessed myself.

As part of my Christmas present from the hubs, I got to order an obscene amount of fabric.  Because I am trying to limit the amount of fabric I stash these days, I went through each fabric choice and decided what I would make out of it before I added it to the cart.  I picked a wool/rayon blend in a novelty weave black/white fabric to make up as this skirt. I am in love with this fabric!  It's this interesting weave that came to life with slubs and lines when I washed it.  The label said dry clean, but fabric that can't get tossed into the washer on gentle just doesn't survive in my house.  Let me pause here to say I have a really great Samsung washer with no center post, so gentle is actually a decent very gentle agitation in Woolite.  I washed the fabric by itself and any concerns it wasn't at least partly wool were gone when the fabric smelled of wet hair when I shifted it to the dryer.  I dried the fabric on low.  It lost the polished feel in the wash and gained some slubs.  Next up was an introduction to my iron.  Set on Wool, with a can of starch at my elbow, the fabric regained it's polished feel.  The fabric is soft, with a fantastic drape, and is just perfect for this skirt.

I laid out the fabric in my living room floor and placed the pieces.  This pattern is one heck of a fabric waster!  There was tons of fabric around the pieces widthwise, but only about 12 inches were spare at the end.  With some careful placement, I should be able to get a second skirt, cut on the cross grain, out of this fabric.  I've got a pattern in mind for it, but that's another post.  The only cutting change I made was to cut the back on the fold, eliminating the center back seam.  I cut the muslin this way and was really happy with the results.  Even my able assistant approves.  She brings the cute factor to my sewing, don't you think?

The weave of the fabric meant my traditional marking methods for the darts wasn't going to work. I got out some bright yellow thread and thread traced the dart markings.  If you haven't done thread tracing, it is super easy.  Simple do a long basting stitch through the pattern and material, then gently pull the pattern away from the fabric.  If you're working with a traditional tissue pattern and not a paper printed PDF, trace the pattern areas you'll be marking off onto a piece of paper or tissue paper, then do your thread tracing through that.  You can also use tear away stabilizer.

Actual assembly of this skirt was a breeze.  I finished off the side seams with hem tape, serged the botton edge and did a narrow hem.  The pattern calls for no hem, but I prefer a finished edge.  The hem is then hand stitched all the way around.  The only thing that gave me pause was the petersham ribbon waistband facing.  I didn't have any petersham and no place locally carried it.  After much searching, I gave up and used some 1" wide twill tape from JoAnn's.  Next time I'm ordering up some petersham.  The tape worked, but it doesn't lie quite as neatly as I would have liked.
I adore Clover Wonderclips! They keep me from bleeding all
over my hems because I've stabbed myself with a pin while I stitched.

Nice and tidy little corner, all stitched down.

Hem tape, twill binding, skirt clips.  Voila.

I only sewed this clip on three times because I couldn't manage to get
the darned things on the right side of the fabric to fasten the skirt. 

Button.  Just for show.  Pretty!

I forgot to mention I stitched stay-tape into the waist band.
Despite all my best efforts, I did not learn from the muslin and this skirt is sewn together backwards, so I have an inverted wrap.  I love the way the skirt looks and hangs, so it is a minor annoyance that is not going to keep me from wearing the heck out of it.

Finished shots!
I know it looks like it wrapped the
right way, but that's because I'm shooting
 into a mirror.

A gust of wind caught the skirt
just as I hit the shutter.  Woohoo!

This is what Winter looks like
in Oklahoma.  Except with wind.
Lots and lots of wind.

Would I make this again?  Yes, totally.  The skirt went together quite quickly.  I spent more time on finishes than on actual assembly.  There is a bloody mile of hand sewing if you do the hem and waistband by hand.

Changes to the pattern? I cut the back  piece on the fold and hemmed everything.  I also opted for skirt hooks instead of buttons/button holes for fasteners.  The front button is for show only.


  1. THE TINY DOG!!! I love this skirt, but I kept scrolling back up to "aww" over the puppy. Too cute.
    I'm really impressed by the drape on the skirt. Great fabric choice, and beautiful construction!

  2. This is beautiful and looks great on you! Fabulous job!