Circle skirt, take two

I did it again.

Yup, despite deadlines and a myriad of other things I should be working on, I finished the corset-waist circle skirt. (Sorry, Liza-Jane… I promise I’ll get to those skinny cargoes soon!)

I used the Ceylon midriff pieces as my basis for the “corset” portion, with, obviously, a fair bit of alteration: I put the centre-front on a fold, added a sinuous side-front seam, and completely forgot to allow for overlap in the back, which is now the opening portion. Fortunately, the amount of ease you need in a blouse is considerably more than what works for corset-style waist panels, so there was plenty of room for overlap. I made my lining piece first, out of a sturdy cotton ex-curtain also used here, adjusted the fit on that, and went from there. I added notches to all the tops of pieces, which made it much easier to keep track of how they should go together.

Side view

I piped the seams on the corset portion, using a narrow off-white piping from one of my thrift store scores. Unfortunately, I only had the one packet of this and, although I measured my seams first, apparently I screwed that up royally because I didn’t have enough left for the bottom seam. So I waffled a bit and ended up adding this home-dec trim from my stash. In the past I’ve always stitched this trim on by hand, but I was lazy and machined it this time. I can’t say that I notice a difference, even from up pretty close, except perhaps that my positioning isn’t quite as exact as it might have been.

I mentioned before, I elected to use snaps as the closure here. Time will tell as to the wisdom (or folly) of this decision. Way back when I was sewing the original circle skirt, I had posted a question on PatternReview about how to insert the zipper. I got great answers, but also the suggestion of a snap-placket as a vintage-style alternative. So I determined I would give it a try on my next circle skirt.

Now, I will say, the snap-placket would have worked better in a thinner fabric. This wool is quite heavy, more of a coat weight than a suit weight, and getting even the most heavy-duty snaps through multiple layers of it was a pain in the ass. And a double-fold bias strip of the wool (so that’s like five layers!) is really, really bulky. That being said, I really like the idea, and will try it again in a more summery fabric. On the up-side, because I was using snaps, when I discovered on first try-on that there was way too much ease in the “corset” portion to hold it in place properly, it was easy to run another row of snaps up further in, instead of having to pick out and adjust piped seams or, worse, a zipper.

Snap placket (top portion). I painted the snaps with matching nail polish.

I don’t know that the snaps are ideal for the “corset” style either, though, as due to the small amount of ease they’re under a lot of strain. For now they seem to be holding—they are heavy duty, after all—but I’m not convinced they’ll make it in the long run. We’ll see. Converting it to a laced closure or something at some point would be a pain in the butt, but not impossible, I guess. (Note to self… hang on to some of those scraps in case you need a modesty panel for behind the lacing…)

As I mentioned before, I opted to pass on boning mostly as I’m too lazy/disorganized to procure any (or cable ties, either, as Ms. Slapdash so smartly pointed out). I used hair-canvas interfacing, hand-basted in place, with the “hairs” running vertically in at least some of the pieces (read: the ones where I remembered). This makes the waist nice and firm, but I can see that I might keep a smoother line longer with boning. Again, not impossible to add later if I feel the need…

So now we come to the hem. I was quite happy with my experiment with horsehair

Hem interfacing... bound and circled

braid last time, but as I mentioned before it’s a bit tricky to source locally and I’m (again) too impatient/disorganized to order online. Not saying I never will, but not for this project. So, since I still have plenty of hair-canvas kicking around, I decided to give bias interfacing a try. I measured and cut three-inch bias strips of the hair canvas. I will say, cutting bias strips out of hair canvas is much less annoying than out of regular fabric—it’s nice and stable and hardly skids around under your pencil at all. I thenΒ sewed the pieces together into a long strip (and managed to only sew two pieces on wrong-way round πŸ˜‰ ) and ironed to “circle” it—just pulled it into a curve while ironing. The stuff goes incredibly soft under the seam-iron, but firms up again perfectly when it cools, which is mostly nice but can be a little tricky. I then stitched some ready-made bias-tape along the inside edge of the “circle”, stretching the bias as I went. I picked this yellow because it was the only colour I had enough of other than red. I love red, but it wouldn’t really go with this project. Cream would’ve been perfect, but I didn’t have any. (if I had, I would’ve turned it into piping for that last corset seam, anyway). And where else am I going to use six yards of yellow bias tape, anyway? (this is another of those thrift-store “scores”)

Finished hem

So now I had my interfacing ready, I basically followed the rest of Gertie’s tutorial for applying horsehair braid. The only trick was to make sure to remember to start with the seams in my bias interfacing facing up, so that when flipped to the inside they’d be hidden. Ironing the hem down once it was flipped was in some ways easier than with the horsehair braid—the hair canvas won’t melt under the iron—but in other ways harder, as the hair canvas gets really soft when ironed and I had to be careful that the seam allowances weren’t getting folded and crunched. Still, with a bit of care and pinning, I got it all folded over and steamed so that the upper and lower seams were about the right circumference.

I opted to hand-stitch the hem this time, rather than topstitching, which worked

Full skirt!

reasonably well and only took two TV shows. I’m sorely tempted to run a band or three of the same trim from the waist around the edge, but that might be a bit over the top and would take a lot more of the trim than I have kicking around. We’ll see, I suppose. πŸ˜‰

So this project fits with my “spring palette,” which isn’t a formal part of the Colette Spring Palette Challenge, but is in line with a palette that I’ve been playing around with intermittently for a while now. As is demonstrated by the colour scheme of this entire website ;). The main colours are cream or ivory and a muted, dusty blue (sometimes veering towards a pale aqua), but this light, dusty purple fits right in as well. It’s not far off Sunni’s palette of choice, either, although I don’t know that I’ll be incorporating her caterpillar green ;).

Back view

I absolutely love the skirt with this blouse, though I’m thinking I’m a little old for the sheer-blouse-over-bra look. Still, fun for a photo shoot, anyway. I’ve been keeping my eyes open at the thrift store for a perfect pair of ivory shoes to go with this palette, but nothing’s really thrown itself at me yet. Light-colour shoes get banged up and turn drab so quicky, I may need to hunt around new-shoe stores… though I hate to buy new a pair of shoes just for taking photos in… /sigh.

The back closure wound up a bit bunchy, partly because of the incredible thickness of the snap placket in the skirt part, and partly because of the overlap where I readjusted the size (which i why the snaps are closer to the left-hand line of piping, not centred between the two). As I don’t have to look at it, I’m not bothered by it ;).

As to whether heavy wool belongs in a “spring” palette… well, as far as I’m concerned skirts of any kind are spring wear. Heck, anything that isn’t quilted down is spring wear. So there. πŸ˜‰

Oh, yes, and since some people like to see what they look like without the fluffy petticoat underneath:


Sans petticoat

Here you go. In this particular (heavy) fabric, with the interfaced hem, it’s actually not a striking difference. I have noticed one thing about wearing the petticoat, however—it makes a skirt much warmer, as its fluffiness fills in that air-space between legs and skirt remarkably effectively. Still not as warm as pants, but much better than a skirt without petticoat.

Next up: probably Syo’s skinny jeans. Poor kid seems to have the virus Tyo had last week, although her symptoms are totally different. Those of you with children, do you ever find that? Even when we had swine flu last year, Tyo and their dad had one distinct set of symptoms, while Syo and I had another. Yet I’m sure it was the same virus—their entire school was decimated for about two weeks. Although it would be nice if I could get the alterations figured out on my sweetie’s shirt this weekend, before he goes away… I could then present him with a completed shirt or two when he gets back. (Yes, I’m going to be single-parenting for a full two weeks! Wish me well… I’ve never had to do this before. Usually it’s me bopping off and leaving him with the kids…). Also I should really make another pair of jeans (or those cargoes πŸ˜‰ ) before March kicks in…



Filed under Sewing

23 responses to “Oops…

  1. It looks really fantastic. I love how you were industrious about the closures and piping. The more I sew, the more I see it’s about fixing the challenges where you find them – on their own terms.

  2. Great skirt and I love the snaps not to mention the fabric, trim and styling! Obviously, I need to make more skirts because between this skirt and Elizabeth’s fur skirt, you temptresses are luring me into your realm!

    I admire how you mashed patterns together, very creative and daring! Kudos to you!!

  3. Wow, this skirt is amazing! And as always, I love your styling.

  4. WOWZA! What a hot outfit! I love it…the circle skirt and blouse are so great and you look fab! what a cool idea!

  5. CGCouture

    I’ve only got one kid, but whenever my hubby mentions work-related trips it strikes fear into my heart. Because he’s usually several states away for over a week whenever that happens. So, best of luck on that.

    The skirt is fabulous, I think I maybe like it a bit better without the petticoat, but either way is good. I love the blouse too, is that the JJ? And I figure you’re only too old to wear the sheer shirts when your daughters turn into teenagers and it looks like you are robbing their closet. πŸ˜‰ Otherwise, it’s fair game. πŸ™‚

    • Yes, this is one of my several JJ blouses. It photographs beautifully but up close is a humongous mess. πŸ™‚

      So I’ve got two and a half years, you say… I’d better get out there and hit the clubs. πŸ˜‰

  6. Lovely skirt! It looks very elegantly sexy with that blouse! πŸ™‚

  7. Darci

    I adore the skirt/corset combo on you! It really fits in well with your aesthetic and even tho there were some challenges in construction, it sounds like you learned a WHOLE lot! And isn’t that really the point of sewing? I find that effing it up, figuring out a creative solution and moving onward from there is the way I grow sewing- and otherwise!

    So did I miss the post, or are you Me-Made-Marchin’?

  8. That is really cool! I love how you combined the two patterns – so unique. And I can’t wait to see those skinny cargoes….. mwahahaha!

  9. I get a kinda steampunk vibe from this outfit and dig it! So are these shoes only worn for photos or am I misconstruing? What sort of footwear do you wear when you venture outdoors? I’m thinking a lace-up, above the ankle boot would be cool.

    • Ah, well, who can resist steampunk? πŸ˜‰

      Well, technically these are any-special-occasion shoes but frankly I don’t think they’ve been worn out of the house more than twice in the seven or eight years I’ve owned them. I’d probably pair the skirt with my new slouchy-suede black wedges at the moment. Or the kick-ass boots, but those are kinda on their last legs so I’m keeping them in light rotation. I do have some Harley boots that lace up just above the ankle, I’ll have to give them a try… πŸ˜‰

  10. I love it! AND I love what you’re doing with that ceylon pattern! My battery is almost out on my computer, or I would go on and on!! Awesomeness!

  11. I love it. Thanks for all the construction details. I am pretty sure I have some of the same batch of yellow bias tape, so now I know what to do with it :).
    The outfit looks a little steampunk to me too. I think the sheer blouse works really well with such a high waist, and the ruffles are gorgeous.

  12. You make me want a petticoat. You know, to wear every day πŸ˜‰ The corset addition to the circle skirt is to die for, and the piping makes it incredible! But I’m pretty sure you knew that:) As for the kids for 2 weeks–I’m sure you could do it with your eyes closed.

  13. Fantastic! I love how structured this garment looks. But I must admit that my favorite thing is the blouse, it looks very flattering.

    I agree with Big in Japan on the steampunk vibe, I could almost imagine this skirt with a matching, tailored, fitted bolero and weird Jules-Vernesque brooches…

  14. This is fantastic, I Love it!

  15. What an amazing OOPS ! Why aren’t my oops so beautiful. Now I really want a circle skirt.

  16. WOW! Really gorgeous skirt!! That’s really something I’d like to add to my wardrobe sometime. Guess I’ll add it to my wish list.

  17. I just found your blog and I love your creativity. This skirt is beautiful!

  18. Fantastic skirt! The horsehair hem with the bias-tape trim looks so fancy and couture. (Are you surprised that you have a fluffy petticoat in your closet, and I don’t? πŸ™‚ ) I totally want one of course, every time I see you in yours!

  19. Pingback: More patterns I don’t need | Tanit-Isis Sews

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