In my last post I talked about pattern matching and sewing together a tube of fabric and hemming the skirt. Please note that for any skirt which is basically constructed from a straight tube of fabric I always sew the hem as one of the first steps. I have a lot of formal (pattern drafting class related) reasons for this, but it basically works out to this:
The Earth Is Flat.
At least it is for the purposes of dressmaking. Your ground line should always be level, and no matter if your skirt is floor length or just long enough to shock your neighbors, the distance of a straight and even hemline will always be a level line a set distance from this flat earth.
Clothes Will Hang Better If The Grain Line Of The Fabric Is Consistent.
Since I am making a straight skirt the easiest way to do this is to use either the warp or the weft of the fabric for my level line. Because of the way fabric is woven such threads should be square. I generally cut out my skirt to the appropriate length by pulling a thread and cutting along it. If a particular cut of fabric is out of true I simply pull it back into shape before I stitch the pieces together.
It's Easier To Hem While The Skirt Is Still Flat.
Seems pretty simple, but this is especially true if I am doing fancy things like embroidery or applying velvet bands to the hem of a skirt.
People Are Not Flat.
And this is the tricky bit. When I measure myself for a skirt I have vastly different measurements in my waist-to-floor distance at various points. This is absolutely normal and simply the result of being organic, bi-pedal, and curvy. Since I know the earth hasn't moved, and my grain line is straight, I know that I need to take my natural form into account and make adjustments to my fabric as necessary to get a good fit as I work up to my waistline.
To be more specific, when cutting a skirt I measure my waist to floor all around, take the longest measurement, add an additional 5/8 or more at the waist for seam allowance, add up to another 10" (depending on the weight of my fabric and the desired effect) for hem allowance, and subtract inches for the distance from the floor to where I want my hem to fall, ie, 48" + 5/8" + 5 5/8" -4" for an ankle length skirt with a 5" (after sewing) hem.
So all that part was already done before my last post. This week is all about my easy no-bake method of making a fitted pleated skirt with no pattern and a minimum of measuring.
Take your hemmed skirt tube and step into it (put it on) holding the waist up to an appropriate place and pin the fabric so your tube fits comfortably at the widest part of your hips. One pin should be enough. You're just trying to establish how much of the fabric will need to be controlled with pleats to get the desired fit.
Measure the excess fabric and determine your number of pleats and depth of pleat. I usually think about where I want the pleats to fall and look for a number which will divide into something easily pin able. The less fancy math the better! In this case I needed 8 pleats of 3 1/2" each (which removed 7" of fabric at each pleat.) I started at the center back, folded my fabric, and pinned in an even pleat from the waist to my hip line (based on the longest of my waist to hip measurements plus my seam allowance) then measured out 1/8 of the hip measurement of the skirt as I pinned it, measured the 7" for the next pleat, folded the fabric and pinned it in place and continued around the rest of the skirt, I basted these pleats in a straight line from waist to hip and then put the skirt on again--inside out this time--to pin baste the waist and darts to fit.
I happen to be making a high waisted skirt so once I had it pinned I measured the distance of all the new pins (seam line) from the original basting and averaged them out (to 1 1/2" in this case) I pinned and basted a straight line from the top of my fabric to the approximate waistline (3 1/2" down) and then a shallow diagonal out to the bottom of the original basting.
Below is a picture of my two lines of basting
And here are pictures of how it currently fits!
My next step is to put a zipper in the center-back seam so I can get in and out of the skirt more easily and then I will perfect the fit at each individual dart/pleat, make sure the skirt is hanging evenly, and finish the waist. I think I'll use ribbon on the inner waistband also...
ps: my good (and mixed blessing) news is that my half-time job is now a full time job! I hope to be back to blogging as I settle into the new routine