Infest the Waters: A Blog About Design, Life and Making Stuff

Sewing Sunday: August Edition – Silky and Skirty


I’ve had this lovely material from, you guessed it, The Resource Exchange (Have you noticed this is a theme with my sewing projects?) for a couple of  months.  It’s  a lovely silk that looks olive green in some lights and beige-y in others.  It has big flowers on it in brown, orange, gold and olive green, and it makes me think of fall.

Vogue pattern 8882I thought the big print might make it too much for a dress, so I decided to make a skirt from it. I had found this great Vogue pattern for a very full skirt with crinoline underneath (see picture at left), but when I measured the amount of material I had, I discovered that I really only had a little over 2 yards, which wasn’t enough to make a super full skirt.  Bummer, but I’m sure I’ll find another reason to make that skirt in the future!  With my yardage constraint, I went searching for a different option.

Butterick 3402From the stash of my grandmother’s patterns at my mom’s house, I had taken an old pattern that my grandmother had used to make me a skirt in high school (see picture at right).  I remembered really liking the skirt, but I didn’t have it anymore.  It was bias cut, lined, and it had a good twirl factor (meaning I could twirl around in it, and it would flow gracefully around me–this was very important as a kid).

Unfortunately, when I pulled out the pattern, I discovered I was no longer the size I was at age 15.  (I know, I was shocked, too!)  It turns out I’m a size larger, and that size wasn’t included in the pattern I had.  Since I was pretty sure the pattern was circa 1995, I was unsure if I could find the next size up, but eBay came to the rescue!

cutting liningWhen I pulled out the pattern pieces, it seemed to me that the skirt would end up being quite short.  This isn’t uncommon for me–I often have to lengthen things since I’m relatively tall.  I figured that adding an extra three inches would solve my problem, so when I cut out the pattern, I marked the new length on the fabric with a fabric pencil.  You can see the white lines on the lining at left.

Of all the clothes I’ve sewn so far, this probably took me the least amount of time, so either the project was stupidly easy or I’m getting better.  I do have some very exciting news, though!  With this month’s project, I may have finally mastered the zipper!  (This is what passes for excitement in my life these days.)  I completely credit the pattern instructions for this.  It was probably the most clear explanation I’ve seen yet of how to install a zipper.  Check out my zipper sewing prowess below from both the outside and the inside!

Zipper  zipper with lining

I finished the skirt in about two and half hours, but the pattern said to let the skirt hang for 24 hours to let the bias set.  It said to trim the bottom of the skirt straight again before hemming if the bias had set unevenly, but I didn’t really notice any problem with the shape of the bottom of the skirt, so I just hemmed it. The pattern said to stitch the hem with the sewing machine, and I did that for the lining, but I decided to stitch the actual garment fabric by hand because I wanted the hem thread to be largely invisible.

hem trimmingThe hem required a double fold, and the pattern said to trim the excess material before folding the fabric over for the second time (see photo at left).  This was probably the most nerve-wracking part of making the skirt, as I’m always worried I’ll accidentally cut a hole in the fabric because it’ll get caught and I won’t notice it.  But I was extra careful and it worked out okay.  I am, however, thankful for having a good iron.  I feel like the iron is the unsung hero of the seamstress–a good iron can really make your life so much easier.  In this case, it really made it easier to hem the skirt by setting the fold.

In the end, I’m really glad that I added the extra three inches to the skirt.  As you can see from the finished product below, the skirt would’ve been pretty short if I had left those three inches off.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some twirling to do.

Bias cut skirt  Modeling the bias cut skirt



Leave a Comment

Let us know your thoughts on this post but remember to place nicely folks!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: