After the craziness of Christmas I was determined to get my January Fabricland project in. This is kinda the last chance, as we have to use fabrics from the current season, and the spring stuff is already starting to come in. And I really wanted to do something with this gorgeous, heavy brushed cotton that came in too late for Tyo’s shirt. Ok, it’s still not actually heavy, but it feels more like garment fabric and less like something intended for PJ pants. I was seriously considering a Deer & Doe Bruyère, but while I loved the mental image, I wasn’t sure if I would actually wear a plaid shirt myself (I’m not really a button-up kind of gal). I’m noticing that I often make something (especially shop projects) less because I want that item to wear than because I think it would be a great idea for a particular fabric. Fun process, but not really a practical way of wardrobe building. I mean, my wardrobe is pretty built at this stage, but you know what I mean.
Then it hit, rather like a lightning bolt. I love it when that happens. Vogue 8882, which I’ve been ogling since I first noticed it. A long, plaid version. Boo yeah.
Best part? The plaid was not overly expensive and so ate up only about half of my project budget. Which sent me on the prowl for part 2 of the project—how about a fun short fancy version, more in keeping with the luxe look on the fashion envelope. Bring on the Chinese brocade!
Ok, so let’s back up a bit. This is a circle skirt pattern. There are no pattern pieces that you couldn’t draw out with your grade four geometry kit. The only added detail is the pleats, which are arguably the selling point, but they are every bit as fun as you would think. I don’t know if I would actually have paid the full Vogue $$$ for this pattern, pretty as I think it is, because it is so extremely basic. But getting it with the project—perfect, and it is a cinch not having to calculate anything. It comes down to which you have more of, I guess—time or money. The rectangular waistband is really wide, which could be a problem if you are quite curvy in the waist, but it works ok for my rather columnar build.
I made the size 12 based on the waist measurement, which is fine. I was a bit dismayed, though, when I got the pattern tissue open and realized that the longest version was still only 27 1/2″ long! I mean, I know I’m not short and I have a lot of leg, but the drawing of this version made me think of something between calf and ankle—27 1/2″ is upper calf on me, barely longer than “just below the knee.”
So I added 4″ to the plaid version (10 cm for those who use sane measuring systems). I was a little worried this would end up too long, but I have to say I am extremely happy with the finished length. Exactly what I was going for.
My daughter says it looks like a teacher skirt. I said that that had better be a good thing.
The construction was very basic for this one. I painstakingly matched the plaids horizontally along the side-seams, but completely forgot to think about vertical matching. My CB seam matching is not bad, though, and the walking foot really does help with not having the stripes crawl around on you between pins. The hardest part (actually for both skirts) was getting the overlapping parts of the waistband to be the exact same width. I actually unpicked the brocade three times, which is perilous indeed with brocade. And very unlike me. 😛
I hemmed by serging the lower edge with my differential feed turned all the way up. This produced enough gathering to give a nice 2″ hem at the bottom. I’ve been making friends (very slowly) with the blind-hemming function on my new machine, but this time it definitely did the trick. I use the blind-hem stitch with my stitch-in-the-ditch foot.
Also I added pockets, since this was supposed to be the “practical” version. You can see them in the second image. They turned out a little small, but still better than nothing (I can fit my hands in fine but not my monstrous phone.)
Version two is much less practical, both in length and fabric. I have no idea where I will wear it. (OK, I’ll wear it to work, since being ridiculously overdressed is kinda my baseline at both my jobs. But not until it warms up a tiny bit. No colder than -10C) I wish I went to plays or the symphony or things like that, so I could wear it there, but that would require being Cultured.
The shortest two versions of this pattern include pattern pieces for a faced hem. Now, I love a faced hem on a circle skirt but I hate the part where it basically takes as much fabric for the hem facings as for the skirt itself. YIKES. So I’ve always used bias facings in the past, carefully ironed into shape. But I didn’t think that the poly-whatever brocade would bias all that well, plus I figured if I’m not willing to do hem facings when someone else is paying for the fabric, when will I ever?
So I sucked it up and did it and I love it to bits. You really can’t correct for bias drag with this kind of a finish, but I doubt it’ll be a problem on this short skirt in this crisp fabric. And if it is, well, it won’t be the first wonky circle skirt I’ve worn happily. I love the weight it gives to the skirt (and I didn’t even interface the facing, as the pattern suggested.)
I’m kinda absurdly proud of my lapped zipper on this one, too.
Here’s a back view, since I think sewing blogs should include things like that. And apparently I didn’t get one of the plaid skirt. 😛
Of course, it’s a project, so now I have to go and hang it and I won’t get to wear either of them for a month. /cry. The best projects are the hardest to hang…