Tuesday, August 30, 2016

self-drafted mini skirt

Here is my second final skirt, designed, drafted, and sewn by me. (You can see the first here, if you missed it.) I am really excited about this one - I think it's more wearable and versatile than the first, and I'm excited to sew a few more up in beautiful fall colors and wear them with tights through the colder months.

My process was pretty similar to the first. I knew I wanted something slightly 70s-inspired, a mini A-line, but I went back and forth on what details I wanted. Buttons or no? Front pockets, back pockets, both? Princes seamlines? I drew a rough technical sketch that I liked and then listed the details I would need to draft: an asymmetrical button placket for a bit of interest, just one pocket (but it's a big one), a center back seam to break things up just a little, and a yoke large enough to remove the need for darts.

Unlike the first, which was designed around my fabric, this one had lots of iteration on materials and ended up quite a bit different than I expected. I initially bought some heavy stretch denim from the fabric outlet near me, unsure if it would be a wearable muslin or my final skirt. I loved the emerald color, and before I even cut into it, I bought some gorgeous navy blue buttons to go with it from Britex. (The six buttons cost more than the fabric did!) After my first muslin (which fit amazingly well right off the bat), I began sewing it up in the denim, and I realized halfway through that this was not going to work. The fabric was incredibly stiff, and while I wanted something that would hold its shape, this was going to be uncomfortable and have almost no movement. Not what I wanted. But I loved my buttons, so I brought them up to Portland with me on a weekend trip and fabric shopped there. I found a pretty blue canvas/linen fabric (I think), and it went well with the buttons. I was a little disappointed that I didn't find anything in a pretty green, and the fabric was drapier than I'd hoped, but the buttons! And then... when the time came to actually sew the buttonholes and attach the buttons, I discovered that they were far too thick and that my buttonholes would have to be huge. This was a deal-breaker, both because my drafted (and now sewn) button placket wasn't big enough, and because the holes would be ridiculously long and probably unstable even if I'd planned ahead in my drafting. So... I ended up back at the fabric outlet and bought some boring navy buttons to match my fabric, and here we are. Despite this not being my dream fabric/button combo, I do really love the skirt. I'm excited to see how much more I love future iterations now that I have a better idea of what to look for in supplies.

those beautiful but unusable buttons.... 

Aside from my various shopping trips, this skirt felt very quick to sew up compared to the first. No finicky fabric or too-small seam allowances, straightforward serged seams inside, and very little bias to deal with. I originally interfaced only the yoke lining piece, and there was some rippling along the side of the yoke where the fabric was on the bias, but I took the yoke apart and interfaced the outer piece as well, and it was all good after that. My buttonholes went off without a hitch (always a little scary, even with help from the machine), and I figured out how to make a tidy little hem on the front corners, where the button placket meets the hem.


muslin fitting - pretty good! and you can see the outline of my massive pocket.

final production-ready pattern pieces and my to-scale technical draawing

This was a really satisfying project, and I think it'll get a lot of wear. Now to find something to do with those other buttons.....

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