Sunday 8 March 2015

Skirts of Round and Square

What is easier than making a dress? Making half a dress! What is half a dress? A skirt - Hurrah! Skirts are wonderful - they are, generally, not as fitted as a dress and after the success of the skipping skirt I decided to try some of the wonderful free patterns I found online. I was intrigued by the idea of a pattern that only requires the length of the skirt and the waist measurement. I found a simple circle skirt pattern for myself - when I was little I loved full circle skirts, there was something magical about spinning and the skirt fluttering.

I wanted a knee length circle skirt but as I am only 5ft 1" it was nice to be able to get it to sit where I wanted it to. I found a pattern on J and O fabrics through Pinterest. I chose a very pretty teal Jersey fabric as I felt it would sit nicely, and spin well, and I had drawn up the pattern, cut the fabric and attached the waistband all in under an hour. I have learnt that I get the best fit of a waistband by sewing the top of the waistband to the seam created by attaching the base of the waistband. This leaves all the stitches hidden. With a skirt put together in no time at all I was very proud of myself. Then came the hem. I have no love for hems and I spent a LOT of time trying to figure out the best way to do it from the following options;

1) A roll hem - this didn't work as the fabric stretched and rippled too much.
2) Hand sew, this didn't work because I did not have all the time in the world to sew that much hem and I struggled with the tension of the slippy fabric .
3) To do a really thick hem with the sewing machine; this didn't work as there was still stretch and it weighted it down too much.
4) Stretch needle - this helped but didn't give the best finish
 5) Twin stretch needle - this was the first time I used a twin needle. I consulted the manual and the internet and found it surprisingly easy to set up.

Getting the tension right with the twin stretch needle was another matter. I wanted the lovely zig-zag behind the two lines and I just could not get it right. In the end I played with adjusting tensions using some standard cotton fabric, instead of the jersey, and putting different colours on the needles and bobbin. This allowed me to see the problems clearly and adjust accordingly. The weave of the jersey was so tight that it was not showing up. With this issue sorted I started to sew the hem, there is a definite trick to getting it just on the fold with the zig-zag incorporating the hem but I loved the effect. It was not too heavy, and the double hem looks really neat.  It took a really long time, most of which was spent with my head in my hands, but in the end I learned a lot. If I made another I could do it a lot quicker. I am quite happy with my skirt after it all... and it turns out spinning is still fun!

Me in my circle Skirt - J&O Fabrics design

My circle skirt in a spin.

I applied the same design for my daughter using some pretty pink cotton and finished it using bias binding. I love using bias binding to finish a child's skirt after it worked with the skipping skirts. It worked really well and took no time at all. I then made a handkerchief skirt for her following a tutorial I found here. I used a basic rolled hem on the squares before attaching them. I did an enclosed waistband as opposed to the plain elastic one. I felt this gave a better finish. The points sit really nicely and it is a versatile piece as it looks fab with leggings or bare legs.

Toddler circle skirt - J&O Fabrics design

Toddler handkerchief skirt - belle bebes design

Pretty Makower Ripples sands Fabric

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