skirting the issue


simplicity 4883

I just packed for a week's trip and I am wearing this skirt nearly every day. Seriously. I packed one other skirt and ONE dress.

I don't know what it is — I think it's that I've been sewing my way through my fabric stash, using up all the pieces that were supposed to have been skirts, 2001-2005. It could be that I've got too many dress patterns to sew, so that I can't decide which one is next. It's probably, though, a combination of very little time and the fact that I can make this skirt in less than two hours. (+ one TV show's worth of hemming, which doesn't really count as "sewing" to me. If you can watch TV while doing something it's not actually work.)

It also probably has something to do with my obsession with cardigans, and the fact that it is very difficult to wear a cardigan over a Duro dress (although I'm looking for a good batwing cardigan to make the attempt).

Needless to say, I don't make the gored, pointy version. (Although no judgment is implied if that is the one that sings to you.) I have made it, so far, in:

  • camouflage
  • black and camel striped wool
  • polka-dot Liberty (only brighter than that colorway)
  • gray wide-wale corduroy
  • vintage black-and-fuchsia sateen
  • turquoise blue wool flannel (you can see exactly three inches of this one here)
  • various home dec fabrics, including several from Ikea.

To make this, I cut the yoke waistband at least one size smaller than indicated (I don't like it as low-rise as they thought I would). I do a lapped zipper and I add a side pocket. I usually hem it with bias tape or hem lace, and hand-stitch the yoke facing down. If the fabric is heavy, I use a light cotton print for the yoke & pocket, to keep it from being too bulky (which is also nice aesthetically).

In fact, I've used this pattern so much I'm planning on buying another copy at the next 99 Simplicity sale and transferring it to nonwoven interfacing, to make it last longer. I'm also going to trace it off in various lengths. Someday. When I have more than two hours plus one episode of something to sew in.

0 thoughts on “skirting the issue

  1. I agree about the yoke being too low-rise; I made a similar skirt and have that complaint. My real problem, though, was the way the yoke facing rolls up all the time despite my conscientious undersewing or whatever they call it. Does it really lie flat if you hand-sew it down? Or are you doing something else that seems so obvious to you that you didn’t mention it?

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  2. Anon, try cutting the yoke facing a tad shorter than the yoke, so it rolls to the inside. (Me, I just topstitch the little devils. Hammer everything into place, say I – which is why my sewing, at least, will survive small nuclear warheads.)Jonquil, it can look great on your somewhat potbellied figure. Just remember to adjust the yoke so that it doesn’t come below the bottom of the “pot,” because that will only serve to outline that particular feature. If, however, you adjust the length of the yoke so that it stops just before the fullest part of your belly (AND you make sure it doesn’t “dip” in the front, so check out the profile, too), you should find that the skirt will hang down straight from the bottom of the yoke, and your pot should be completely minimalized. It will look its best with a fitted top, worn outside the skirt. The bottom edge of the top should not come any lower than the yoke seam.And I will absolutely make the handkerchief hem version, too. *Sniff* How I miss having a fabric store that I can actually get to! I used to LOVE the dollar pattern sales!Jonquil, you can also do a search on DaD for the instructions I wrote on How to Make A Half-Circle Skirt Without a Pattern; it’s also a VERY good pattern for anyone who has a bit of a pot, because the crossgrain hangs down straight, and totally diminishes a pot.

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  3. Perhaps it’s time for me to give this pattern another chance, since you all love it so… I made it up once and possibly got the sizing wrong, since I had the opposite problem to you all – it sat too high on my waist (that is to say, *at* my waist).One more chance, eh?

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  4. That skirt looks like it can do so many wonderful things! Say, an unrelated question: I have an absolutely perfect A-line cotton skirt, which I’ve been dreaming I could find again, but never have. Now I wonder if there’s a way to have it duplicated without it being permanently rended limb from limb? I keep hearing that if one tries to copy something, the whole thing must be taken apart to make a pattern, and it’s goodbye Charlie to the original. What do you think?

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  5. Nadine the ones with knit-on or cut-on sleeves, wide down to the waist or so at the armpit, and probably narrowing to a fitted wrist. Is that what Erin is calling “batwing”. They have existed, sometimes with a wrap-front. Often with a wide fitted waist.With so many shrugs around, some of them must be of this or similarly useful shapes. Or if someone finds an appropriate pattern, we could make them from fleece, even.

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  6. iopine — No,no,no it is absolutely *not* necessary to take it apart to copy it. Taking it apart makes the process a bit easier, is all.Anon — to belladonna’s most excellent advice I would add: Be sure you are clipping that waistline curve enough before turning it right side out.

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  7. I hate facings so if I were to make this, I’d make the facing piece longer so I could ‘stitch in the ditch on the front to attach the facing to the yoke. And speaking of Liberty Lawn, Lands End has a Liberty lawn skirt that’s really cute in their overstock section. (and some shirts too! (at landsend.com click on overstocks and search for Liberty.)

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  8. You don’t have to take a garment apart to copy it. See Threads magazine, issue #120, September 2005, article titled “Make a Pattern from Ready-to-Wear”. Jean Haas, the author, uses masking tape (that blue painters tape or whatever you like) and paper on a roll – butcher paper or, my favorite, Nancy’s Notions Pattern Paper (same stuff your doctor rolls out over the examining table).Quick summary: you put overlapping strips of masking tape on the inside of each piece of the garment, right up to the seam line, filling the entire garment peice with tape. The goal is to peel off the entire masking tape “block” at one time, stick it on the paper add seam allowances, slash for darts, extend markings for hems, etc. I got as far as “stick the masking tape blocks onto paper” step for a dress bodice I want to copy. That part was fairly easy and quick; captured the shape of each piece very well. More details are in the article; preview link below.http://www.taunton.com/threads/pages/th_120_056.aspThreads back issues are $6.99 plus shipping – still cheaper than most patterns.CMC

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  9. I never heard of ‘Evoo’ either, so what does it mean? We pulled the plug on cable over a year ago so we don’t always hear the latest.

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  10. Jonquil, I have the same, um, “figure eccentricity” and I have to say BellaDonna clearly explained what I could only comprehend with my lizard brain: the yoke diminishes the problem. And — going down a size puts the yoke right at my waist; if you want it lower I’d go UP a size. If you’re using a stretchier fabric I’d reinforce the seam where the facing is joined to the yoke with twill tape (you can buy twill tape near the bias tape). My facings don’t roll but I clip the heck out of the curves and I understitch … topstitching would probably help too!

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  11. Marcia-in-Austin and “Anonymous,” (whoever you are): Thanks for the tips. I’ll make a note of them and get copies of my skirt made. The giving and unselfish nature of the person who writes this blog and the people who read/comment on this blog makes the world a nicer place . . . . I like being “part” of this community, even if I’m just an observer. Thank you all!

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  12. Ahem. Isn’t that great that Rachel is wearing not just a dress, but a dress that looks suspiciously like a Duro. That skirt it cute! On the model it doesn’t look so full as it does in the drawings. I’ve come to learn a full skirt isn’t really right for me, so this looks like a good compromise. And it looks very comfortable, too.

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  13. Wow, that masking tape technique sounds really tedious, but I commend Threads for their dedication to accuracy. I’ve copied three dresses with good results, and all I did was trace, rotating the paper at appropriate points to accommodate darts, and then add seam allowances. Works just fine.I guess you’d have to understand what a printed pattern for that sort of garment would look like in the first place, but for something like an A-line skirt, it should be quite simple. The main thing you like is probably the slope of the “A”? And where the waistband sits? So another thing you could do is purchase a pattern in a similar style, lay your RTW skirt on it, and redraw the outside seams and waistline to match. (A muslin is a must, obviously.)

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  14. The tape method isn’t all that tedious. Blue painters tape comes in 3-inch widths, so you can cover an area pretty quickly. The article author suggests having different widths of tape to use. To copy this A-line skirt, I’d probably do a masking tape copy of the yoke pieces, but just trace the skirt pieces.I read an article someplace where Sandra Betzina put pins in the seam lines, lay paper over the garment then rubbed chalk along the seams – the pins making the chalk show up on the tracing. Haven’t tried this one yet.CMC

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  15. India, thanks for the additional info. I’m sure it’s much more complicated when one is using a print that has to go in one direction or the other, like the skirt I have (’50s-era cowgirls). I’d planned to do it in a solid, or some abstract pattern that can be turned any which way without incident. Thanks again, everyone!And Erin, I appreciate that you allowed me to “use” your comments section for my question-and-answer forum! I loved your skating story, btw.

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  16. Oh, and Erin, if you want a cardigan to wear with a Duro, make one! No, I’m not being ironic; the shape that will work with a Duro is a truncated kimono shape, ending at the waist- or hip-line, whatever is best for you; the kimono sleeves (which can actually be a variety of shapes) leave plenty of room for Duro sleeves! And you can use the kimono sleeves as pockets, or just add pockets, plain and simple, to the body of the “kardigan.” You have the option of making the kardigan (kimonogan?) out of woven or out of knit – and if you have a couple of beloved-but-washed-and-shrunk sweaters, you can give them a new life and a new identity.Iopine, it really is one of the nicest places on the Internet to visit – a tribute both to Erin and all the people who come here. And what Marcia said about going up a size – I did miss that one! Vespabelle, not only is stitch-in-the-ditch a good way to attach facings, but if you’re really lazy (*ahem* not that I am, or anything), instead of stitching all the way around the bottom, if there are side seams, you can just stitch the yoke down through the side seams.

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  17. Bella, that’s a good idea to make one … I do so hate sewing with knits, though, and my knitting always ends in tears. Maybe I should do a swap with a knitter! I’ll make them a Duro and they make me a Duro-sweater. Because they’re both so loose-fitting it would be easy to do — not so many measurements!And guys, I *LOVE* your comments, every one … that’s the best part of the blog for me, so don’t ever feel you have to apologize for “hijacking” a comments thread … that’s what it’s here for!

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  18. I wrote a tip on PatternReview some time ago “How to Make a Rub-off” (copy of a garment). Using muslin and pins you can copy anything – no need to unpick a stitch. The tape thing sounds tedious. The best thing about a muslin ruboff is that you can use it as the pattern directly – true up your seam lines and add seam allowance. That’s what C-thru rulers are for!Love your blog – I should visit more often.

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