Category Archives: Skirts & Trousers

Lily Ashbury Pears Wraparound Skirt

A few years ago I purchased a charm pack of Lily Ashbury prints. I made a quilt using the disappearing 9 patch block. The different designs in the pack “spoke” to me and I often looked at the quilt and thought – “that print would make a nice blouse” or “that print could be a pretty dress”. Several of the designs were recently offered in the “clearance” section of New Threads, Weyhill Fairground and so I hot footed it to the shop and purchased 2.5 metres of one of my favourite designs. I bought that quantity of fabric thinking that I would make a ¾ length sleeved blouse. When I got home I washed and dried the fabric and then laid it out on my cutting board. Hmmm… those pears could fall at inappropriate places on the front bodice of the blouse. What shall I do? I know, I will make wraparound skirt instead!

Would you believe it? It was only when I hung the skirt to take a photograph that I realised the pears at the centre front are all upside down! Just as well I did not go ahead with the blouse – who knows where those pears would have ended up?

WRAPAROUND SKIRT

As the fabric seemed to have lost some of its substance in the wash, I decided to mount the cotton onto anti-static lining. This has the dual effect of adding weight to give the skirt a nice drape and also removes the need to wear a slip under the skirt.

I wore the skirt with a co-ordinating tee shirt (from Bon Marche) when my friend and I attended the Sprat & Winkle Rooksbury Retreat Day. More of that later but it did cause a moment of laughter when it was revealed that one of the demonstration quilts also featured the same range of Lily Ashbury prints – I did not stand too close to it!

Wraparound Skirt Workshop

Saturday 16th April at New Threads, Weyhill Fairground found me and three ladies enjoying a  a fun and busy day as we I tackled a wraparound skirt.

We used a pattern that I had drafted from an original grid drawing dated 1976. The fact that this style is still current with the major pattern design companies just goes to show how enduring and versatile this design of skirt can be. Gemma 1, Gemma 2, and Yafit were all enthusiastic about finishing the seam allowances with Hong Kong finish – that is until they realised just how long it takes to apply 7.5 metres of bias binding with 2 rows of stitching. But the finished result looks so good and it was excellent practice for straight machining!

Pictured below is Yafit with a lovely smile BEFORE tackling the Hong Kong finish, together with another picture of my skirt. This was completed after the workshop as I to took the time to bind seam allowances and the hem in a contrasting Red bias binding. I also included side seam pockets which I  find so useful.

Yafit  my wrapover skirt

The fabric came from my stash of Fabricland cotton prints (when I was enjoying a cherry print phase!) and should be very versatile as it goes well with Navy, Red, Green and White. I still have some remnant of the fabric which I think is sufficient to make a sleeveless top or camisole but in the meantime I am finishing off another version of the New Look 6340  trapeze dress in a linen  cotton blend. I also need to make the sample kimono jacket to Simplicity 1318 so had better knuckle down and get stitching.

Blue Denim Flippy Skirt Tester

flippy blue denim skirt

Wow! A change from Cross Body Bags!

Yes, after all those bags it is now time for me to turn to my “roundtoit” list and get cracking on some dressmaking and Christmas projects.

Inspiration for this skirt came in the form of a promotional photograph for Pavers shoes. No shoes were purchased in pursuit of this project but a lot of lessons learned about my figure and skirts.

I decided to use this construction as a “test” before making a similar skirt using some lovely Mustard wool tweed purchased from B&R Textiles of Salisbury. I had a length of denim in my stash that I had bought from Fabricland so having overlocked the edges put the fabric through the wash to get rid of excess dressing and check for colour run. Unbeknown to me there was a towelling teacloth in the washer at the time – this came out a charming shade of Blue. Now I know to wash the completed skirt separately in future – and make sure the machine is empty before I switch on!

I measured myself and made a note of the inches before turning to my TNT prima dress pattern. I hacked the pattern by cutting through the waistline and adding a seam allowance. I already had a note of cutting line for the bias hem frill so placed the pattern pieces and cut out.

Although the original dress is made with sufficient ease to wear “pullover” style as this was to be a more fitted garment I would need a zip and waistband. I used my favourite lapped zip insertion method using a grey zip from the stash. It went in beautifully and the zip was completely concealed by the lap.

I made the darts front and back then basted the side seams prior to first fitting. Oh dear! I know that I have been losing weight but this was ridiculous! There were inches of excess fabric at each side seam and I could put the skirt on without opening the zip – back to the drawing board. I basted a new seam line 1 inch in thereby reducing the width of the skirt by 4 inches and tried again. Yes, now it was much better. I made a note to lower the waistline at centre front and grade out at the side seams. Having re-stitched the side seams I overlocked the seam allowances and proceeded to attach the bias hem frill. I used the trusty twin-needle for machine stitching the hem and also for top-stitching the seam where the frill was attached to the main body of the skirt. I cut a waistband 4 inches wide and attached to the skirt. Back for another fitting. Oh no! Still too big! In disgust I put the skirt to one side and went out to visit a friend.

Next day – I was determined to finish that darn skirt and make it wearable. Bearing in mind that I might yet lose more weight the waistband would need to be “versatile”. I removed the waistband, removed the zip and re-stitched the centre back seam in its entirety. I re-cut the waistband having taken off another 2-3 inches from the length. I re-attached the waistband by basting on the machine and using the feed dogs to ease the extra fabric of the skirt to the waistband. I left a gap in the centre back seam of the waistband to facilitate insertion of petastretch elastic. Having inserted the petastretch and safety-pinned in place it was time for the third, and I hoped, final fitting.

Third fitting – ah! That is soooo much better! I stitched the end of the petastretch together by using a triple zigzag stitch over a small piece of crepe de chine which covered the raw edges and completed the waistband by “stitch-in-the ditch” from the right side. A final press and it was done.

Conclusion: Now that the waistband fits nicely I find that because my hip joints are no longer symmetrical and one leg is shorter than the other thereby affecting my posture, the skirt does not hang as I would like. To correct this would take a lot of “finessing” and then who knows what my posture will be like once the hip replacement surgery has been completed? So, in future when a skirt is required I shall make a Pinafore Dress and then the garment will hang from the shoulders and avoid all that “quirkiness” of hip joints and posture.

Let’s hope that I purchased sufficient wool tweed to make a Pinafore Dress rather than the skirt I originally planned.

Batik/Stripe Reversible Wraparound Skirt

closed view

Here is the fourth version of the wraparound skirt. This time I used a Brown Batik print purchased from New Threads, Weyhill Fairground and a lining of a Brown/Tan striped cotton from my stash.

The construction was fairly straightforward. In order to reduce bulk I stitched the darts in both fabrics and pressed the Batik fabric ones to the centre and the striped fabric ones in the opposite direction. The side seams were all pressed open. I decided that I would make the skirt reversible and also to curve the lower edge of the overlap so that I would not need to be quite so precise when matching the hemline.

I placed the two skirts right sides together and stitched all around excluding the waistline. Then there was some precise turning and pressing involved to ensure that neither fabric showed on the opposite side. I think I have managed to achieve that. I then stitched the two skirts all around the edges using my trusty twin needle. I stitched from the Batik side with Dark Brown thread and had a pale Beige in the bobbin for the Striped side. I had hoped that the zig-zag of the bobbin thread would provide an interesting finish for when the skirt is worn stripe side out but unfortunately the final result is not quite neat enough.

I used Vilene 220 fusible interfacing in the waistband which was cut from 3 widths of the Batik fabric x 4inches wide. Having decided on the length required to hang from the right front (overlap) I pinned the remainder of the waistband to the skirt. I stitched the short ends of the ties right sides together, then folded in ½ inch turnings before folding the band and ties in half and pinning before top stitching the ties and “stitched in the ditch” the waistband. I stitched the buttonhole mid-way between the right side seam and the right back dart. I had found with the Blue linen skirt that the buttonhole needs to be set fairly far around the waistband as otherwise, as I lose weight, the flap of the underside gets drawn through the buttonhole when tying together.

By using two medium cotton fabrics this has provided weight to the skirt which I am sure will make a warm garment to be worn with opaque tights during the coming months.

open to show lining

 

 

 

Navy Linen-look Cotton Wrap Around Skirt

navy wraparound skirt 1

You may recall an earlier post when I made a wrap around skirt for myself using camouflage fabric purchased from New Threads, Weyhill. That incarnation was a “Tester” to see how I got on with drafting the pattern from a grid diagram and enlarging same from a size 16 to a ?X! After several pieces of “finessing”, I arrived at a well-fitting skirt pattern.

Having re-drawn the pattern including all those little adjustments onto fresh paper, I decided to proceed with a second skirt. I used a linen-look cotton purchased from Fabricland in Salisbury. I laid out the pattern pieces onto the 45 inch wide fabric and noted that because of the wide width of the skirt at the hem line they did not fit. I had already drafted a dart in the back so opened this up and at the same time folded out the width at the hem until the pattern fitted the width of the fabric. For the front I identified midway between the side and the centre front. I then slashed a dart and again folded out the fullness from the hem which at the same time enlarged the dart. I am hoping that this technique for reducing fullness at the hem will work. In any event it will be a “learning experience”!

The overlocker was threaded up with White thread and as this fabric definitely requires some sort of finish to the raw edges I decided to use Hong Kong binding. I cannot remember the last time I used this technique thus it was a good idea to re-visit. I cut the bias strips ¾ inch wide from a pretty blue floral printed cotton and finished the raw edges of all the side seams of the skirt, i.e. two side seams on the back plus side seams and “leading edges” on each of the front panels before proceeding with the construction of the skirt.

Once the side seams had been stitched the fit was fine-tuned again by making a seam in the centre back and taking out approximately 2½ inches, adjusting the darts slightly and re-cutting the “leading” edge of the overlap of the right front. To do this I unpicked the left dart and cut a straight line through the centre of the dart down to the hemline. I restitched the hong kong finish to the “leading” edge and finished binding to the hemline. I pinned the hem plus the “leading edges” of the two front pieces. These were then stitched by hand with a fine hem stitch so that the stitches were almost invisible. I hung the skirt up whilst I got on with the waistband and tie fastening.

I used Vilene 220 fusible interfacing in the waistband which was cut from 3 widths of the fabric x 4inches wide. Having decided on the length of tie required to hang from the right front (overlap) I pinned the remainder of the waistband to the skirt. By auditioning the length of the waistband wraparound I ended up by cutting of an excess 10 inches or so from the original 3 fabric widths of waistband and tie. I stitched the short ends of the ties right sides together, then folded in ½ inch turnings before folding the band and ties in half and pinning before top stitching the ties and “stitched in the ditch” the waistband. Finally I machined a vertical buttonhole in the waistband just close to the side seam of the back right panel. The tie slips through the buttonhole from the left underlap and is then on the outside, goes around the back of the waist and is tied to the shorter tie extending from the right overlap. The photo below shows the overlap turned back to reveal the Hong Kong finish on the seams and hemline. I am very pleased with the result and think that I may well make this skirt again in another plain colour to co-ordinate with all my Autumn/Winter tops. If I can find a wide width fabric I will be able to make the skirt long enough to wear with boots and without exposing my knees!

navy wraparound skirt 2 shows hong kong finish

Go Anywhere Wraparound Skirt – promotional garment size 10-12!

go anywhere wraparound skirt 10-12

Using fabric supplied by New Threads, Weyhill Fairground, I was asked to make a wraparound skirt to advertise an upcoming workshop. Having previously made a similar skirt in camouflage fabric for myself, I decided to draft the size 10-12 skirt and use that for this project. The fabric supplied was a charming printed cotton but I felt it needed a little something to add substance to the skirt so I underlined with a plain White polyester cotton from my stash.

When cutting out I took care to match the pattern across the centre front and side seams. To ensure that there was sufficient underlap on the left front, I cut it full width I.e. Placed the centre front on the fold. I did the same for the right front piece with a reminder note to cut back some of the width later. I put the scraps of the printed fabric to one side and you can see in the next post how I used some of them to enhance a co-ordinating top.

I pinned the underlining to each panel piece of the patterned cotton skirt fabric and overlocked the edges. Thereafter the construction was very simple. Sew the centre back seam, sew the side seams. Turn up and top stitch the hem and outer edges of the underlap and overlap with twin-needle. Attach the waistband/tie belt. Top stitch. Make a large buttonhole for threading through the tie belt. Press and admire!

I am pleased with the final result although I still think there is room for some adjustment to the width of the overlap but meantime I have a finished skirt which I think will demonstrate the workshop project well and hopefully encourage people to sign up.

 

 

Camouflage Wraparound Skirt

camouflage wrapover skirt

You may recognise this fabric as I have used it before on a Cross Body Bag – it came from New Threads sale rack at just £5 per metre !   Using  2 metres of the 150 cms wide fabric and a squared paper diagram pattern I managed to recreate a wraparound skirt similar to ones that I had way back in 1976!

dressmaker

The diagram pattern is featured in “dressmaker” a sewing guide for beginners by Ann Ladbury and accompanied a TV series of the same name. The book was published in 1976 and I can remember vividly the television step-by-step instructions which I watched each week. I made several of the garments at the time and used the skirt pattern to give my younger sister some basic sewing lessons.  I don’t recall making a skirt in camouflage fabric but I know that I did use some floral curtaining – it was the 70’s after all and flower power still reigned supreme.

Fortunately I had metric dressmakers’ pattern drafting paper to hand and it did not take long to draft the pattern according to the largest size in the book (size 16 – 30″ waist). Since my waist measurement was that a long time ago, I had to enlarge the pattern but that done I set to and cut out the skirt. I added an additional panel to the underlap as I am paranoid about the wind catching the wrap and exposing my delicate underwear! At  first fitting I added two darts evenly spaced either side of the centre back seam. I used flat seams pressed open and overlocked. All the outside edges were also overlocked. Prior to adding the waistband I stitched the edges of the overlap, underlap and hems  with my favourite twin needle.  I added a waistband with a finished width of a bare 2″ and then stitched 4 buttonholes across the top of the overlap to match neutral beige buttons from my stash.

Now that I have a refined pattern I hope to make the skirt again in another – more subtle print  fabric -perhaps a plain would be best and next time I might make the waistband a tie instead of buttons which will then provide more scope to match my variable waistline!