Swirly girly

Oops, I made it instead

Erm, yeah, so that’s a circle skirt.

You may, ah, notice that it’s not that yummy purple fabric I showed earlier in the week. I chickened out. This doesn’t logically add up—2 meters of that purple stuff cost me $4 at the thrift store, whereas this stuff I originally bought for my Lady Grey muslin was at least $5/m. I still like the purple stuff more. Also I can’t get more of the purple, whereas every single Fabricland I’ve visited in the last six months (in two provinces) has bolts of this grey stuff in their clearance section. Apparently it did not sell well. At any rate, it seemed like a good vehicle on which to practice my circle-skirting techniques. It’s actually a really nice herringbone wool, suit weight, with this weird, sparkly black swishy pattern printed over top in what feels like latex paint.

Actually, it seems perfect for a circle skirt. Sedate but with a bit of fun—just like the skirt.

As per expectations, the waistband at the waist

Tucked in shirt: meh

looks terrible. You will not see how bad it is because I’m only going to show you ┬áthe “Pamela Anderson” pose: shoulders straight on, pelvis twisted to the side. Really I should call it the Egyptian pose, as I think they had it figured out a few thousand years earlier, but anyway. It emphasizes bust, minimizes the waist, and shows off your butt. Check out the magazine rack next time you’re at the grocery store, I’m pretty sure you can find an example or three.

Note the interesting hang of the folds

However, it does look pretty cute with a hip-length top over it, so I can style it that way. And I’m thinking a Franzi vest might complete the ensemble. Actually, I can envision a bit of a capsule wardrobe happening (that’ll be a first!) involving this fabric and the grey pinstripe I made my Businesswoman Pants out of. It might require me to buy more of this weird fabric if I want to both make the vest and finish the Lady Grey muslin. We’ll have to think on that.

As to the skirt itself—easy peasy. My fabric was 60″ wide (just shy after I steam-shrunk it), just enough to cut the entire thing in one piece. I used Casey’s 50s circle skirt tutorial, which provides you with a lovely pattern for the different waist sizes that runs quite true, though I’ll note that my size, 28″, is the second-largest. Oh, those 50s wasp-waists. The waist pattern is slightly squared off, which changes the hang of the circle skirt slightly: it hangs more straight at front and back (and sides, I suppose), with somewhat more folding at the front and back hips. This looks nice, and might even help minimize the bias-stretch since if you cut an even circle those bias areas will be a smidge shorter.

Using a single piece for the skirt is lovely and simple, but

Don'tcha love the full circle?

does complicate inserting the zipper. The tutorial is not particularly helpful in this case—it simply says “follow the instructions that come with your zipper.”

The outside of my hand-picked zipper. Not perfect but reasonable.

Which would’ve been fine if I’d, y’know, remembered I was using a vintage zipper—probably not quite as old as the skirt, but still—that actually *came* with packaging and instructions. Duh. Once I opened it up and looked through them (and posted piteously on Pattern Review—thanks for the helpful responses!), it became clear that I should do a facing around a narrow slit, and then attach the zipper as usual. Well, as usual as zippers ever get for me, anyway. I also LOVE the suggestion of doing a snap-placket, similar to the continuous-lap placket in a blouse sleeve. I’ll try that on the next one. I machine-stitched the ziper to the facing but hand-picked to the outside. It seems to have worked reasonably well. I still need to stitch a hook and bar onto the waistband, but we needn’t dwell on such trivialities here. ;)

Oh, and I should probably show you a back view:

Back view

When I went to measure to hem it today, I trimmed down the length of the front but not the back. It doesn’t seem to have stretched much on the bias at all, although the sides were for some reason distinctly shorter than the front and back. I trimmed down the front half of the circle to match the side length, but left the back, as even I have enough booty to make it appear shorter at the back. Probably it doesn’t look as perfectly even as it could (still a bit short at the back, actually) but, y’know, whatever.

The horsehair braid was fun, despite the fact that I couldn’t find any as yummy and wide as Gertie’s (as it was it took me two different Fabriclands to find the 1″ width). I followed her tutorial quite closely anyway, and managed not to singe off my fingers or melt the nylon braid, so life is good—but I I would still have preferred wider braid. Ah, well. Time to start hunting for an online source, I guess.

Horsehair braid---sadly I could only find up to 1" thick

Oh, and I recently splurged on a point-presser/clapper, urged on by MPB’s list of “tools you won’t want to be without” (relatively few of which I actually own). And, y’know, it’s awesome. I used the clapper-part like crazy in the making of this skirt and I am truly impressed by how much it improves the edge of the press. Who knew? (Okay, I know the rest of you knew already… these things I tend to have to figure out for myself.)

So now I am working on a vest to go with this, assuming that will work out and not just look funny, and I may nibble on that mini-wardrobe-capsule (that’ll be a first!) as well, assuming I can find the stamina to tackle another Lady Grey. I tried the skirt with my grey blazer, though, and it looks like crap—it needs something with a flared peplum, or at least a much shorter one. You can see all the photos here.

For the next circle skirt (the purple), I want to do a yoke of some kind, maybe princess seamed, so I don’t have that awful waistband right at my waist. But that requires a bit more fitting and I haven’t quite gotten that far yet…

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26 Comments

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26 responses to “Swirly girly

  1. Very nice! Your waist looks tiny in this skirt. It looks like a lot of fun to wear. Glad you found the horsehair braid. Wider would be nice though.
    Great job as always!

  2. That is a really girly skirt, something I will probably never ever wear.
    How about some pictures without the petticoat?

    • I’m not a big fan of these kinds of skirts without petticoats… They just look limp (especially on me). I’ll try to remember next time, just for comparison. Is is VERY girly…

  3. LOVE the circle skirt! this grey fabric is actually perfect for it!

  4. What a fun skirt! The waistband looks good to me and shows off your narrow waist. The petticoat is too fabulous :)

    I have a rule that if something looks good from 1 meter away it’s fine–has saved me many headaches.

  5. This looks like so much fun to wear, I really like the clearance fabric that no-one wanted to buy too!
    I’m making a skirt with a waistband on the true waist and it feels restricting, but it sure makes me more conscious of my waistline and I want to hold it in more which is probably good training! I find faced or bound waistlines more comfortable for short-waisted me.

  6. Wow! It’s like a whole new you!
    I think my favorite look is with the black top, very stylish. Not that I have a problem with red, not at all. Does wearing this skirt make you feel like dancing?

  7. I love your circle skirt! The fabric you used sells here in Vancouver for $3.00 meter! They also have many bolts in different shades. I purchased a few meters to make a capelet but sadly it did not turn out so great looking as your skirt!

    • It is such an odd fabric! And very hard to press nicely. I think for a jacket it will need underlining or maybe block-fusing… Weird, weird stuff! At least you got a truly awesome price, though!

  8. Ali

    This looks great! Funny you should post about this, I have two circle skirts in queue and I was just going to use the BurdaStyle tute, so thanks for linking to Casey’s (and we have the same waist, so thanks for truing the sizing ;)! I love how feminine a circle skirt can be. Now I’m going to check out the presser/clapper thing.

  9. What a fun and lovely skirt. That first pose is very pin uppy, sexy :-D I can imagine you want to twirl around all the time in that skirt. Or skip. Yeah, I think that would be fun too ;-)

  10. Beautiful! I love the skirt and your styling…

  11. i love that skirt!! it’s very swirly and girly and makes me want to twirl just looking at the pictures! i’d love it if you posted some tips on hemming that badboy and anything else you could add about using the horsehair braid :)

    • Well, really everything I did Gertie went over in her tute on it (which I link to up above). It was very simple; the only difference is my 1″ stuff didn’t have a thread to pull it in on the upper side, but at this narrower width it doesn’t seem to need it, either. You need a lot, though—this skirt alone took about 5 yards!

  12. You look awesome in a girly, twirly skirt!! So much fun. Love the whole look: petticoat, sweater, skirt and all! I know what you mean about the horsehair braid, even the really good stores here only have 1″, or 6″ (which was a bit too much for me, and expensive too!)

  13. Funny – as you were describing the “Pamela Anderson pose”, I was thinking, “Geez, that sounds like how the Egyptians did it.”

    I suspect your uneven draping is just down to the fact that this is a circle skirt. The straight and cross grain hang more flat, while the bias tends to fold up more. I suppose a less drapey fabric would disguise that somewhat. Looks good!

  14. I love this skirt (I’ve looked at it a couple times now.) So I guess I need to research horsehair braid and clappers too. But I think it’s the petticoat that really makes this.

  15. So pretty! I love the petticoat peeking out under the skirt!

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