A New Skirt!

by Erin on May 19, 2008

dragonfly skirt

I made a new skirt over the weekend, surprisingly. There were about fifty gazillion other things I should have been doing (and I came down to the office this morning to find that a deadline which I thought was next Tuesday, was, in fact, this PAST SATURDAY, oops), but when the sewing machine calls, one must listen.

This is some Liberty twill I bought from my old friend Julie at Little Shop of Treasures, on eBay.co.uk. It's called "Enchanted Garden," and here's a closeup:

dragonfly skirt

And yes, it has all my favorite (bright, cheerful) colors.

And I used orange rickrack to edge the pockets:

dragonfly skirt

And an invisible zipper (which I am only lately a convert to):

dragonfly skirt

And of course a bright blue facing for the waistband:

dragonfly skirt

And for the pocket, too:

dragonfly skirt

I used New Look 6410, which I modified to add front scoop pockets. Doing that wasn't hard — I think it worked on the first try, which was nice. I've probably made this skirt two or three times, although never with fabric that I love as much as I love this fabric.

The whole skirt probably took about two and a half hours to make, with about twenty minutes of that time spent looking for a pattern piece that had fallen behind a piece of furniture. (I had the pattern pinned to a corkboard instead of put neatly away, for some reason — probably laziness.) The invisible zipper went in very cooperatively. Once you resign yourself to the necessity of basting (and, in my case, of digging out the screwdriver to change the presser foot shank), invisible zippers aren't really any more trouble than visible ones, and they look so much nicer!

I plan on wearing this skirt with brightly-colored polo shirts with differently-brightly-colored tees under them, and my orange Jack Purcells. At which time it will be really, truly summer.

{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

xstpenguin May 19, 2008 at 9:55 am

Love it!

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scormeny May 19, 2008 at 9:56 am

great way to rock a fabric/pattern combo! I love it.

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Amanda W. May 19, 2008 at 9:56 am

I love it! I always want to use fabric like this but somehow always end up with something beige. It’s really annoying! Awesome job!

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Marjie May 19, 2008 at 10:09 am

I, too, recently learned invisible zippers. Really, I had to train myself that they are backward! Zipper first, on the right side of the fabric! How wrong is that? This weekend, I made my daughter 5 pencil skirts to go with blazers, which she’s sure she will need to start law school in Sept. She was blown away by the invisible zippers.Love your colors, too!

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Anonymous May 19, 2008 at 10:14 am

Charming!

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Teresa May 19, 2008 at 10:20 am

I haven’t been a fan of Liberty prints – sacrilege, I know – but this one is cool. Love those colors. Makes me think maybe a skirt wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Maybe, maybe….I vaguely remember doing invisible zippers as a teenager. The first one was confusing but once you have the technique down, it is as you said, just as easy as a regular zipper. Thanks again for a great start to the day. Tea & Dress a Day smashed in between getting 3 boys to 3 different schools between 7:00 am and 9:00 am. That’s my mornings.Regards,Teresa

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Anonymous May 19, 2008 at 10:21 am

Such nice detail. I love seeing your hand stitching on the facing. The pockets are wonderful.

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Toiling Ant May 19, 2008 at 10:26 am

I absolutely *love* it. I believe a skirt will be on my sewing agenda this week as well.

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the_lazymilliner May 19, 2008 at 10:26 am

I love, love the orange rick-rack as the peek-a-boo embellishment on the pockets. It really pops out when the background color is neutral on your Liberty fabric.

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Fiona May 19, 2008 at 11:08 am

Oh, it’s lovely. I love that fabric and can just imagine picking out which colour t-shirt to go with it.I’ve never done rick-rack (or piping) and I’ve never had to do an invisible zip. I recently found Burda-Style how-tos on line and was very grateful for one (on how to do a bound pocket), so I might look there should the need arise. How do you decide on hem-length for skirts? You have probably found your optimum length after many skirts and dresses. Where is it? :-)

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LadyT May 19, 2008 at 11:15 am

For myself, invisible zips are actually far easier to do, and I never baste mine. I also have never gotten the hang of invisible zip feet, so i just use a regular zipper foot. I am a *huge* fan of the side invisible zips in dresses especially. It helps if you iron open the zipper before you sew it, that allows you to get much closer. Great fabric!I haven’t done a scoop pocket for ages. I really ought to make a point to do some this summer…maybe on the purple halter dress I have planned…

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sarajane May 19, 2008 at 11:48 am

Oh how spring-y! Just lovely.

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Monkeygrrl May 19, 2008 at 11:54 am

totally cute! maybe this is the summer that I get over my complete fear of invisible zippers (in my defense, I’m usually replacing them and I think it’s more difficult if you can’t get the waistband all the way off)

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Kristen May 19, 2008 at 12:20 pm

oh, i just drooled all over my keyboard.

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wundermary May 19, 2008 at 12:44 pm

Oh, you did such a lovely job on this and I love the details! I’ve never been a rick rack fan, except for campiness on aprons. But, I love the way you sandwiched it in the seam, it looks great! I’ve always liked this wide waistband style, but I especially like it with pockets snuck in underneath. Invisible zippers have got to be one of the best creations, ever and you have done a nice job with yours.I just finished transplanting some languishing perennials into a new bed. Coming inside to see this really makes me feel that summer is truely upon us. Woo Hoo!

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CountryMouse May 19, 2008 at 12:51 pm

I love this fabric! Did you know that JCrew has flats in the same fabric ? on sale. at least I think it is the same fabric. Maybe too matchy for you and I know you have your kicks picked out, but thought I’d mention it!http://www.jcrew.com/catalog/product.jhtml?id=prod88509173&catId=cat90244

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Eirlys May 19, 2008 at 1:26 pm

Spring has definitely sprung! I love the cheery fabric and your use of rickrack there on the pocket. I’ve been sitting on a skirt pattern for a while and that inspires me to do something about it. Have you used Liberty twill on any other projects? It’s not a fabric I’ve encountered, so I’m curious about its potential.Can I also ask about your sewing machine, Erin? What kind do you own? Did you try out several before finding the right match for you? Do you have more than one machine (e.g. a heavy-duty one for thicker weights and tough, multi-layer jobs, or maybe an overlocker)? Another question – are you a pressing-seams kind of sewer or is that just too much faffing around? If sometime you could talk us through something of your sewing-room tools and technique, everything from the pins on up, that would be fun. If I’ve missed some key post that includes all this, do point me in the right direction, someone. Thanks!

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Cookie May 19, 2008 at 1:31 pm

That is a fabulous skirt. It’s great, cheery fabric and everyone will love seeing it as you swish down the street! I’m having an identity crisis about my pic. First I used Jerri Blank from “Strangers with Candy”, then I was afraid people might think it was actually me, which is a bit scary. Then I used that little girl from a children’s pattern, who’s actually MUCH funnier full size, because she’s wearing really lurid makeup and a beehive hairdo at 5 years old. Now I’m trying this lady; is that a hat, or a lampshade on her head?

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Cookie May 19, 2008 at 2:05 pm

This is Jerri Blank…god, how I love that little rat-faced character!

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Cookie May 19, 2008 at 2:08 pm

But I think I’ll go back to this weird, almost vampirish little tot. (Sorry to take up space…I JUST HAD TO WORK THROUGH THIS!)

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Cherie May 19, 2008 at 2:14 pm

This is totally cuter than cute, and all the ways you can wear it are cuter still. Go, Erin! Orange Jack Purcells!

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Eirlys/Liberty Lawn/Blackie Ormerod May 19, 2008 at 2:16 pm

Oh, I like the Breakfast at Tiffany’s hat version of you best. [Tried to post my approval a moment ago, but something ate my message.]

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Eirlys May 19, 2008 at 2:17 pm

Oh, that message was destined for Cookie – scuse this side conversation.

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Nhbistro May 19, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Great.Drink a Bailey

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Cookie May 19, 2008 at 2:58 pm

Thank you, Eirlys. I can email you the Hat Lady, if you envision her in your posting future. This is her companion off the mumu pattern cover they share. She has her charm, too. (Okay…I don’t mean to hijack this board…I think I have a bit too much time to myself at work today!)

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Green Kitchen May 19, 2008 at 3:14 pm

Great skirt. I use glue stick to baste in my zippers, a trick learned from Sew What! Skirts. A little glue, a little ironing and it doesn’t slip or gunk up my machine.

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Eirlys May 19, 2008 at 4:39 pm

Nice offer, Cookie! Thankyou but no, I wouldn’t want to steal her away from you, lovely though she is. Now, the girl chewing her glasses is great! Why don’t you stick with that one?Moomins. That’s what your fabric reminds me of, Erin. The garden in the Moomin books looks like that. Have you read Tove Jansen’s children’s books? Scandinavian perfection with a sinister undercurrent every now and then. But Moominmamma’s always doing something reassuringly domestic so you know everything’s going to be OK in the end and no-one will actually die of ennui or their stamp-collecting angst.

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Cookie May 19, 2008 at 4:57 pm

Thank you. My Glasses Girl is so far away, though! Here: have cropped her closer. You might be right…I think she is “the one”! (Do miss my little “Children of the Corn” devil doll, though!)

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Sarah May 19, 2008 at 5:14 pm

MAKE ME ONE PLEASE!No, really, please do. :)

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Sue May 19, 2008 at 5:20 pm

Love the skirt and your choice of colours for facings and ric-rac.

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Kat May 19, 2008 at 6:09 pm

GREAT fabric!

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Lisa @ the Vintage Fashion Library May 19, 2008 at 7:39 pm

There’s no way to look at that skirt and not smile. VERY cute!

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lorrwill May 19, 2008 at 7:58 pm

PURDY!!! This is another Erin creation that make me happy just to look at it. How could anyone not smile and get a warm, sunny summer feeling from this?I like invisible zippers better than regular ones now. Which probably explains why they go in faster for me.Oh please, please, please post a picture with the orange trainers. That is going to rule.

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Jen May 19, 2008 at 8:03 pm

Erin, it’s darling! Love the colours…it’s so joyful.Also, meant to say this last week, but: Sorry you even HAD to post a rejoinder. What a shame. Some people!Finally, a question…I’ve several skirted products languishing about, unhemmed. Yes, unhemmed. Hubby isn’t the best at helping me hem, the mother-in-law only visits quarterly or so, and I’ve not met any neighbors I think would be able to help after-hours, what with the many obligations so many folks have. (Yet. Trying to convert a neighbor presently.)Any advice on hemming skirts and dresses properly without an assistant or a magical sewing fairy who just pins it all up for us? As I’m a curvaceous girl, just “hemming it straight all around” will simply not work.

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lorrwill May 19, 2008 at 8:03 pm

@countrymouse good eye! They are the same fabric.cookie you cracked me up.

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lorrwill May 19, 2008 at 8:04 pm

jen I am going to break down and buy one of those chalk hem marker thingies. I have a similar situation.

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noile@noile.net May 19, 2008 at 8:33 pm

So cute! Love the fantastic lining and the little rickrack peaks around the pocket edges.

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Caity May 19, 2008 at 10:40 pm

Only one word needed: ADORABLE!

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kagitsune May 20, 2008 at 2:36 am

I am also a recent invisible zipper convert. Once you get the special presser foot, they’re a breeze. Three steps to install a zipper are better than 10 any day!Also, I never thought I’d love rick-rack until I saw how you used it here. You might have had converted me to that classic edging, too…:D

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DonnaB May 20, 2008 at 2:47 am

I love your skirt, Erin – you inspired me so much with all Friday’s links that I made one on the weekend too!!! Your post sounds almost like you’re talking about mine!! My fabric was a second-hand childrens curtain printed with a huge repeat pattern of a city with trees, animals, carnival, fountains…. Mine has massive red pockets with polka dot binding on all the edges! Thanks for your continual motivation!!!

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moggy May 20, 2008 at 3:10 am

Another vote for the invisible zipper foot… I finally cracked and got a proper metal one (for a Janome) with a good deep channel to fit the zipper teeth into and it makes things much easier. I don’t baste either (lazy sewer? guilty!) I think it would also work for piping, which is a Favourite Trim Of All Time (along with rickrack and bias binding).

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flurogoddess May 20, 2008 at 4:11 am

Oh that’s beautiful!Love the fabric and the colours and everything! WOW!

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Aunty Doris May 20, 2008 at 6:14 am

A tip for zips that has served me well………. always make sure they WORK before you sew them in!

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LadyT May 20, 2008 at 10:19 am

@ Jen: I too reccomend one of the chalk hem markers, so that your husband or someone can help you mark, and then you can hem. Or see if you can dig up someone from a local sewing circle, or hire a local college fashion design student to help you with some “fitting” (maybe if you had several skirts it would be worth the time?). I have lots of problems because I am so picky about fit but I don’t have a dress form anywhere near my sizes. I do have one friend who went through fashion school, and I rope her into helping me every once in a while. @eirlys: Here is one of Erin’s “how-to pocket” entries. http://www.dressaday.com/2007/02/how-to-make-three-panel-skirt-have.htmland her “how to pick out a sewing machine” entry (which follows an entry about her new machine):http://www.dressaday.com/2008/01/how-to-choose-sewing-machine.html

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Eirlys May 20, 2008 at 11:37 am

Thanks, Lady T, that was kind. Good advice there in the how-to-choose-a-sewing-machine post.I’m actually looking more for a biographical piece by Erin than a how-to for the novice. I must come clean as a closet sewing-machine accumulator, and was just curious about what machine works for Erin – or anybody else who cares to wax lyrical about their pet machine likes/peeves. My workhorse is a 1950s Singer 99k that my mother-in-law bought from new. It works reliably for general/dressmaking purposes and looks the part with a nice bakelite lamp and all. I’ve a 20-year-old Singer with fancy stitches which annoys me hugely because it can do a Greek keyhole or a line of tulips but can’t work a decent zig-zag without gumming up the tension. I should really ditch it, but you never know when insanity might strike and I need a row of tulips…But I’ve never used better than the Berninas that were supplied on a soft furnishing course I took in London. Not only would they chomp through the several layers of heavy fabric, but the piping feet were a complete revelation and I’ve never had quite such good results trying to fudge it with a zipper foot on my old Singer at home. Well, maybe one day… meanwhile, I’ll keep scanning eBay.I just read somewhere that you should replace your needle every few hours of sewing – gad, I hardly ever do! That’s one thing to try, for a start. Nor am I sure I have good habits choosing needle sizes, oiling and dusting my machines, leastwise sending them for a service. Must try harder.Oh, and I don’t sell sewing machines or work for Bernina, a sewing machine retailer or anyone else… just in case the anti-cabalists are about. Simply curious.Thanks again, Lady T.

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Kristi May 20, 2008 at 11:57 am

That skirt is so cute, I love the fabric.

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Calico May 20, 2008 at 3:53 pm

Seeing how you substantiate your love for Liberty in these garments always sends me to eBay thinking I love Liberty far more than I actually do. Then I see the prices and come right back to my senses.If anyone can answer for me, though: Where DOES one buy invisible zipper feet? I live in NYC, of all places, and my expeditions to find a low-shank invisible zipper foot have been foiled at every turn.(Sorry for the deleted comment… I used the wrong profile.)

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lopi May 20, 2008 at 4:32 pm

That fabric makes me smile!But I thinkI would prefer it as a whole sundress, with little cute details like straps that tie on the shoulder with a bow and pockets that close with orange buttons. I think you just gave me inspiration!

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Erin May 20, 2008 at 5:29 pm

Jessica — have you tried Sew Vac Direct for the zipper foot? (http://www.sewvacdirect.com)You can also usually buy little plastic ones with interchangeable shanks by the invisible zippers … I don’t like the one I got so I think I’m going to buy a real, metal one from SewVac.

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Maricana May 20, 2008 at 9:08 pm

I LOVE that fabric!

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Angel - Having a Nemesis May 21, 2008 at 12:57 am

I am truly digging this fabric. I am a bright colour person as well and I have a lime green 3/4 sleeve zip-up cardigan that would complete the ensemble.Now if you would kindly hand over the skirt…..

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ASH May 21, 2008 at 6:46 am

oooo the ricrac pockets!Lovelovelove!

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Erin May 21, 2008 at 8:59 am

All right, which one of you miscreants told me about the J Crew Liberty-print flats? … because I just bought a pair on eBay. .. and this would bring the # of Liberty-print pairs of shoes I have to TWO.

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Angel - Having a Nemesis May 21, 2008 at 4:22 pm

Jen, you could always try using something like this to help you hem. I came across it the other day while looking for infomercial awesomeness that you know just exists out there and I was certain seeing them would come in handy.

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Pratishtha Durga May 22, 2008 at 1:36 am

I just love the fabric and the skirt. It’s so quirky cute. I’d love to wear something like that. In fact, the tunic I am wearing to work today has a similar pattern.

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Charlotte May 27, 2008 at 4:07 pm

That ric-rac is brilliant. I thought I had plans this evening but I think I have to go home and sew. Thank you for the inspiration!

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Abi May 29, 2008 at 10:43 am

Wow, that is such a beautiful pattern. well worth missing a deadline for, I’d say!

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