a-line, lady ozma, pattern making, pencil, sewing, sheer fabric, skirt, straight, talk about tuesday, tutorial
I dig the whole spin-factor when it comes to my skirts. That’s the dancer-girl in me. I also dig the whole wacky factor when it comes to my fabrics. That’s the geek-gurl in me.
Sometimes, it’s nice to change things up.
I don’t own a great many pencil skirts, so I decided to give this a whirl. I also needed something relatively conservative for my closet and that meant I needed to get to work.
Welcome to my Saturday afternoon.
First I whipped up my own pattern. Why would I do such a thing when there’s about a million straight-line skirt patterns out there in the world, and at least a small amount in my closet of doom somewhere? Let me explain now why I like making my own patterns.
Patterns are great because they give you a wonderful framework. Someone else has already done the hard work for you! Huzzah! However, any woman that’s ever attempted to clothe herself knows the pains of attire shopping. In this brand you wear a size eight. Another brand – size 12. This fits in the waist but not the hips. That fits the hips but you could drive a Mack truck through the gap created at the waist. A skirt you wanted to hit you at knee-length ends up two inches below and the waist is at your bra strap.
Right? Makes a girl crazy. Well patterns are just as bad. First of all, you need to actually figure out where in that size spread the pattern manufacturer falls. Then you need to add the mysterious four to six extra sizes. Sure you could go off the measurements, but that doesn’t actually help either. So this means you are recutting, darting, adding gores, and about a thousand other steps.
Why on earth do this with a skirt when you could make a pattern that just fits your measurements? Skirt patterns are seriously that easy to make.
After I made the pattern, I felt the need to test the pattern. Just because that’s how I roll. Out came the muslin and boom, I had a mock-up in no time flat. Good thing, I realized that the way a straight skirt falls, I needed to an add an extra inch to the extra inch I’d already added. Just. Don’t. Ask.
I hit my stash and found some of my infamous “stupid fabric”. This was a slate grey sheer with glittery butterflies. It was a terrible cut of fabric so I could only use it for a straight skirt or some other small project involving sheer fabric. The answer seemed obvious.
The problem with this kind of sheer fabric is that it tends to bubble and not press flat. Which means the side seam with the zipper ended up a little worse than I would like, but I suppose that’s OK. A long top and it’ll be fine.
My favourite part of adding this to my wardrobe? The following tweet someone sent me:
@ladyozma that is what I love about you: sparkly butterflies are considered conservative in your wardrobe 😀
Here’s the final product:
So how did I make it?
Step 1: Measure everything: Waist, hip, length of waist to hip and length of waist to where you want your skirt to end. In my case, my knee. For waist and hip, add 2.5 inches for seam allowance/ease then divide by 4. For the final length, add 1 inch for hem.
Step 2: Draft your pattern. I buy white tissue paper at the dollar store. It’s cheap and works well. Doesn’t hold up over years, but if careful it can be worth your while.
Step A: Dot A/B/E are along one edge of your pattern material. Mark that straight line “FOLD” so you can remember to place this on the fold of your fabric.
Step B: Dot B is 1 inch above Dot A. The distance from B to C is your waist.
Step C: Draw a curved line between dots A and C for the waist of your skirt.
Step D: Measure from C straight down for your length from waist to hip and then measure across from edge for your hip and make dot D. Draw a straight line from dots C to D.
Step E: Measure from Dot A down the length of your hem for Dot E.
Step F: Continue this across to make Dot F. Measure to make sure your length is the same from the waist which will actually give you some curve there as well.
Step G: Smooth out a natural curve to get rid of the hard angle around Dot D.
Step H: Write on the center of your pattern: Straight Skirt. Cut 2 on Fold. Labeling is key so next time you use your pattern, you remember!
Step 3: Cut fabrics out of muslin and the sheer as though they are two separate skirts.
Step 4: Sew the skirts together individually, leaving one side open for zipper. I chose to serge mine to give a finishing touch and to also make sure the sheer held together well under the stress of wear. Make sure to serge all sides of your fabric. Note: I broke a serger needle. I’m quite depressed.
Step 5: Curse serger for not liking thread changes and breaking needles.
Step 6: Dry your eyes, put on your big girl panties, and flat line the muslin to the sheer. IE: Wrong side of top layer to right side of bottom layer. Sew along the waist line. (I wanted the two to act like slip and skirt, not one piece.)
Step 7: Employed my lovely bias tape trick to waistband to the skirt. This would work far better than flipping and folding, even with a top stitch. I did some ditto bias tape action for the hem of the sheer for the same reason.
Step 8: Pin the two layers together at the opening for the zipper. Curse the fabric for being unfriendly to such action. Sew in zipper.
Wear and look stunning.
You continue to amaze me!
Used to sew a bunch and considered myself to be “not bad”. But I don’t know that I’m brave enough to make my own patterns, the way you do! For the record, I totally agree with the problems you mentioned in buying patterns. Always frustrating!!
Some day, I may have to go back to sewing, because it is VERY satisfying!
– and BTW I love the fabric!
Lady Ozma said:
Well you are awesome, so thanks for saying that I amaze me!
Patterns are just hard no matter what you do – making or buying! I will say it’s been interesting to make my own patterns! I like challenging myself and this has been a new challenge for me that I’m having a lot of fun with. Wait until you see my NEXT project on Sunday! Let’s just say… I posted on FB about it! And no, it’s not anything with the fabric I posted.
Sew with me!
And yeah, the fabric was fun but a glittertastrophe to my car seat!
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