Fashion

Run for the Roses Circle Skirt

circleskirt7I love bold patterns, so when I saw this stunning print from Ommelinen at  Jumping June Textiles, I snapped it up.

The design is printed on a very stretchy cotton/lycra jersey. You could easily use this stable fabric for leggings or activewear. So I took a cue from the athleisure trend and settled on a casual, pull-on circle skirt.

Circle skirts don’t really need a pattern, but they do require a little thought and planning. I used Mood Fabrics’ circle skirt calculator to get a general idea of what I could make with my 2-yard cut. You can see what the possibilities are for 3 skirt lengths and 3 types of skirt: half, 3/4, and full circle skirts. If you want to maximize the length, you would choose a full circle. If you don’t like the fullness of a full circle, you can make a 1/2 or 3/4 circle, but you will sacrifice some length. I compromised and chose a happy medium 3/4 circle.

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Some early possibilities

The large rose and peony (?) blooms run vertically down the fabric selvedge. I wanted to make sure I placed them on the skirt to maximum advantage. Luckily, I found an image of the exact design on google. The image even worked out to the same ratio as a 2 yard cut. I saved the image, then marked it up with several possible cutting layouts. To make it even easier to visualize, I used some scissors and tape and made little scale models of my favorites. It really helped and only took a few minutes.

Construction was super simple. I only had to serge together one vertical seam and a waistband. The waistband is simply a rectangle from the same fabric made into a tube, folded once and serged to the skirt opening.

The only construction detail on a circle skirt like this that requires any technique is the hem. Hemming a curved edge usually requires extra steps to manage the difference in circumference between the bottom edge and the seam line. I have to admit that I didn’t want to bother with all that. I also thought the stretchy material, which does not fray could look nice with just a rolled hem. As a bonus, it would maximize the amount of the floral design that shows.

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My hemming assistant

Having made that decision, I set about marking a level line around the skirt’s bottom edge. To do the marking myself, I rigged a hemming assistant with my duct-tape model, a tripod, and a command-adhesive cord bundler attached to the ceiling. I was delighted with how well it worked. Once I got it set up, it was pretty stable. It was also a much more comfortable working position. I made sure the model’s posture was correct, then pinned the skirt level around the waist. I took a carpenter’s tape measure (my yardstick was too short), measured and marked the skirt an equal distance up from the floor. I’ll definitely be using this trick again!

I know that when I try on fuller ready to wear skirts, they typically hang lower in the front than the back. I was still surprised that I ended up trimming off 4 inches to make the front match the back. No wonder!

The last step was to stitch the rolled edge. Of course, I did a few test runs with scraps. Somewhere along the line, I thought instead of hiding the edge, I would highlight it. So the final version features a narrow line of hot pink stitching. It’s subtle, but I think it enhances the design.

I can see this skirt as something easy to pull on after a workout. But I can just as easily see it dressed up. A very comfortable, easy to make project, but special too.

As a nod to Saturday’s 144th running of the Kentucky Derby, I’m calling this one the Run for the Roses skirt.

Happy Sewing, everyone!

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Fashion

Easy Pull-On Cuffed Pants Part 2

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Line drawing from Burda Style for pattern 114A/B

I had enough soft gray fabric left from a different pair of pants to use for these.  I knew it draped well and was machine washable. The only thing I had to buy was wide black elastic (1 1/4″) for the waistband.

Part of the pockets show on the front, so they have to be in the main pants fabric.  But the inside doesn’t show, so I cut those pieces from a scrap of cute cotton voile from my leftovers pile.  Using a lightweight fabric decreases the pockets’ bulk and gives whoever does the laundry (me) a little surprise pop of color.

One of this design’s unusual features is a raw, uncased elastic waistband. I have seen the exact same elastic used in ready-to-wear cinch belts, so it makes sense that it would look good exposed.

I was really hoping I could figure out how to use the serger to apply the elastic and do the gathering in one step. Try as I might, I couldn’t figure out a way.  When I really thought about it, I realized that it would have to be done in multiple steps, if at all. I did make a nice test swatch attaching the elastic to the fabric with right sides together.  That would be a great treatment for a full, puffy skirt. Unfortunately, I was trying to apply the elastic on top, overlapping the fabric, not turned to the inside.  Trying to stretch the elastic the necessary 2×1 ratio was just too difficult for something that should have been simple.

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Closed side pocket
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Pop of pink in pocket lining

I ended up just sewing it on using a zig-zag stitch on my regular machine, stretching as I went.  Then I cleaned up the messy bulk on the inside with a three thread overlock.

I went back to my regular sewing machine to do the gathering on the cuffs.  Applying the cuffs was a fussy process, since the circumference was smaller than my free arm and the fabric had no stretch.  I sewed the cuff to itself no less than three times!  While it was many more steps than I had hoped, the results looked good.

Then I tried to put them on.

Aaaargh!

I couldn’t get my feet through the cuffs!

After a few deep breaths, I checked my work.  I did indeed follow the directions as written in the magazine.  The cuff pieces were the right size.  I don’t know if this is a known problem with the pattern, or whether I missed something.  Either way, the pants needed work if they were going to be wearable.

It looks like this is going to be a three part post.  Oh, well.  It happens to everyone, right?

See Part 1 Here.