Saturday, August 29, 2009

I Actually Sew Something

I haven't been sewing a lot lately because, frankly, I've been dating. I had forgotten how much time that takes out of your life! But I finally had a whole Saturday just to sew, and I got inspired to make a wool circle skirt. Yesterday, I wore the yellow dress to work:I realized I hadn't worn it all summer, and summer is waning fast. This is my tried and true bodice with a circle skirt from this dress pattern:

I got compliments on it all day long from both friends and strangers (thanks to the woman in Panera who told me how much she liked it!), so you'll have to believe me when I say it looks better on me than on the hanger. I had forgotten how much fun it is to wear a circle skirt, so I decided I needed to make just the skirt with a waistband from a beautiful piece of wool I have had aging in my stash from 2003. I got it at The Fabric Place outside of Boston which has now gone out of business. I still had the write up the saleslady gave me: 3 yards of 60 inch wide wool at $9.99 a yard. It is a dark, dark blue, with a very subtle plaid to it and has such a wonderful hand, it could slip through the proverbial ring.
I spent some time laying out the fabric so the sides would match up horizontally. I laid the excess fabric over my ironing board so the fabric wouldn't stretch as I cut it out.

The width of this fabric was just barely enough to eek out this skirt. As soon as I cut it out, I put painters tape on the wrong side of the garment pieces because it is a great way to keep the right side and the wrong side differentiated until you get it put together:

I ended up putting in a black zipper instead of a navy one because the fabric was just so dark. Here you can see the difference:

Circle skirts are generally easy because there are no darts, and very little fitting other than the waist. But for some reason this skirt took me nearly all day.

Blogger is aggravating me and won't let me move my photos around, but you can see from the photos up top that I used my serger to finish the seam allowances, even though the thread didn't remotely match, but I figured no one was going to be looking at my seam allowances. Also, you can see the horizontal plaid matching at the side seams. I used my walking foot to sew the side seams. I used a button as my closure rather than a snap, mostly because I can get my sewing machine to do the buttonhole AND sew on the button automatically, while the snap closure requires actually hand sewing. And we don't want that.
I used bias tape to hem a la Summerset, as I did for the silk dress and it worked well. I tried the walking foot to sew the machine hem, but that didn't work very well and went back to the regular foot. Circle skirts are a PITA to hem, though, just because the hem goes on forever and ever. I considered lining this skirt, but that was going to require me to hem the lining as well, I decided I would just wear a slip instead.
I was aiming for a 29 1/2 waist for this skirt, but it ended up being nearly 30 inches. Don't know how that happened since I clearly marked 29 1/2 inches on my waistband, but there you go. That extra 1/2 inch will probably come in handy this winter when I am tucking in sweaters. I have discovered that the trick to wearing circle skirts is to wear them with closely fitting tops. If you don't, you look shapeless.
One last note, I cut the waistband on the bias. I do this for all my wool skirts ever since a Korean lady in Massachusetts told me to do this because it would make my waistbands lay closer to the body. I don't know if it is true, but I like the bias effect on my plaid skirts and I don't have to worry about matching the plaid with the skirt.
Bring on Fall!


Anonymous said...

You certainly can't go wrong with a circle skirt! I love it, beautifully done.

Vicki W said...


stitchin' girl said...

Very nice skirt!

gwensews said...

That's a pretty, feminine skirt. Perfect for going out on a date! Have fun!

Summerset said...

I've always loved circle skirts! This one is perfect for fall.

Audrey said...

Your skirt looks like it would be fun to wear, lots of movment and "swish". Neat hint on the bias cut waistband. I will have to try it out.