Friday, 11 February 2011

Skirting...the Issue

I'm not sure what it is about me and getting this big creative drive on a Friday night. When people with a 'life' are getting ready to go out and party. I decide that I need to make a skirt. Now it's fair to say me and dressmaking - particularly making skirts have history. Not a terribly positive history. I made my first skirt when I was in my twenties. I used a proper paper pattern and it was probably the first time I'd ever put a zip in something. It had a grown on waste band and it actually fitted and looked...well I was never happy that the two bits of fabric either side of the top of the zip didn't line up. Ok so it was probably only me that noticed. Put that aside I was happy with the fit - it's just the skirt was made of the sort of fabric grey school skirts are made of and, well, it was a bit very boring.  I didn't really attempt any more dressmaking. I have been scared of spending money on fabric only to ruin it by cutting it wrong.  A few years back I was so fed up of seeing the bundle of patterns I'd collected, that I decided to give them to a charity shop. I figured I could never make anything that didn't look like it was hand made by someone that wasn't very good.

Then last year on Flickr I came across Corinnea.  I saw this jacket, this skirt; oh and this skirt and well this photo set in her photo stream and I really REALLY wished I could make my own clothes.  For the first time in over 15 years I really wished I could dress make.  Corinnea was just so enthusiastic about making clothes I really wanted to have a go myself. So I made a simple skirt out of the only suitable fabric I had at that time and it went horribly wrong. I don't want to talk about it. Corinnea kindly wrote out simple instructions for a skirt without a pattern. I confess as much as I've wanted to have a go at making a skirt I was scared of wasting more fabric. I'd been buying odd yards here and there thinking I could make a skirt until I realised I'd need more than a yard to make the skirt...hmmm. 

Anyway, a couple of days ago I saw this pattern and I could make it with the metre of fabric I got on sale, just before I went on my fabric diet. I had enough elastic...but then I didn't have enough suitable material for lining. I remembered seeing this pattern which had been on my to attempt list - because of the shirring bit.  So knowing that the measurements were similar to that of the AMH pattern I thought I'd try it.

I can't get any pictures of me wearing it due to having no one to take them and no easy way of taking them myself. I won't say I found this process super easy. First off the shirring looked very loose and the threads loopy until I realised it sort of needed to be this way and when lots of rows of shirring was added it all puckered up nicely. Secondly when I'd made this and went to sew the ends together there was way more material than I'd needed. I had to cut this much off!

And worse still when I sewed up (twice) the ends, before cutting off the surplus fabric, it went horribly wrong; as the elastic escaped between the seams and started to unravel.  Meaning I had to do some joining. Thankfully the wrinkly nature of shirring is quite forgiving.  What it does mean is I have no idea how much fabric I should allow because obviously double my waste measurement is far far too much. Any suggestions greatly appreciated. I'd love to try this again with voile as I think it would hang a lot better than quilting cotton.  It does have this tendency to be a bit balloony right under the shirring.

But hey it's Friday night and I made a skirt!


  1. Jan, I am SO VERY proud of you! I love your skirt!!! I wish we were not an ocean apart so I could ohh and ahh in person!

    As far as getting the measurements right..... I have had the same problem and it is different depending on the type of fabric! Gee, wasn't that helpful?? Normally, I use one and a half times my waist measurement. The voile can take more fabric because it is so light.

    Hope you are planning on making more cause you just made my day with this post!

  2. Check out the shirring tute at Flossies teacakes blog- v helpful. Very cute- I love that fabric too- Amy butler Coriander, lovely!


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