Thursday, November 21, 2013

Breaking-the-Rules Skirt (in an Afternoon)

I didn’t actually make this in afternoon, but I easily could have.

However, there are consequences for breaking the rules!

Here’s how I did it. First, I love my Country Cute Skirt because it has all the convenience of pants (mainly pockets) and all the comfort of a skirt (easy to move and sit in).  So I decided to make another one with fabric donated by my dear friend, Jen S. from her Grandmother’s unwanted fabric stash.

The capris were low-riders from the thrift store.  They looked super cute on me (if I do say so myself, which I obviously just did!) but whenever I wear low-riders, I keep tugging them up to my waist where they feel more comfy, and then they aren’t comfy elsewhere.

So, I chopped one leg of the Capri pants, just eye-balling it.  (Broken Rule #1 – You are supposed to measure a specific distance from the waist, mark, and then cut whilst connecting the dots.  I think.  I don’t usually follow the rules, so I could be wrong about what they are!)

Then I folded that leg over the other leg and cut so that they would match.
There was some trouble in the crotch region (isn't there always?) but I did some folding and pinning to smooth things out.  That would get secured in place when I added the rest of the skirt.
I also found that the back was longer than the front, but I figured the extra material would eventually even  up the hemline, as my caboose is larger than my tummy.  (This also eventually meant pinning the skirt to the former capris was more than a big tricky.)

Next I discovered to my infinite joy that the material was only 36 inches wide from finished edge to finished edge.  I'll explain why this caused infinite joy in a minute, but first, what is a finished edge?  Basically, it's the two side of the fabric that won't unravel, wherein the other two side are where the fabric is cut when it is measured and then cut off the bolt at the store.

This means (O joy!  O rapture!) that I wouldn't have to hem the skirt.  (I HATE hemming with a vengeance!)   Broken Rule #2 - Always hem your garments, preferably with the help of a friend and a ruler.

First I ironed the fabric.

I cut out my pattern.  I put the center of the pattern on the fold of the newspaper so I could fold it in half and cut both sides at once.  This increased the odds that the sides would be symmetrical.  If I wasn't lousy with my scissors, it would guarantee that they would be symmetrical.

My trapezoid was roughly 18 inches high, with 6 2/3 inches at the top and 12 inches at the bottom.  (If you cut really big trapezoids then weird things happen to your hemline at the points where they are sewn together.)  I cut 6 of them.

In order to take advantage of the finished edges, I would have to avoid the printing on the bottom of the finished edge.  (I was REALLY tempted to include it in the skirt, actually.  But that would mean I couldn't wear it in professional settings....Sigh.)  Broken Rule #3 - Put your pattern pieces next to each other when you cut so as not to waste fabric.  But don't worry, it's me.  I'll find a use for the scraps.  (They'd actually make cool jewelry....)

Then I cut out my 6 trapezoids.

I neglected to photograph the most critical part, of course….  The trapezoids were sewn together with all the short ends at the top, making a complete loop, the skirt bottom..  IMPORTANT: keep the bottoms even because the top part is just going to disappear into the join between the capris and the fabric.  That edge will be jagged.  But the bottom will be "as is" so you don't want the pieces to come together unevenly.  Remember--no hemming.  Ergo, no where to hide!

Broken Rule # 4 - It is easier to cut fabric out than to add it, so be generous when measuring.  This rule I should have kept.  The capri part was 40 inches and the skirt was probably 38, which I didn't realize until I started to pin them together.  Short of adding a whole other panel, which would have drastically changed the look and which I didn't feel like doing, there wasn't much I could do.  So I stitched them together with a bunch of puckering on the part of the capris.
I managed to avoid catching the pockets with either my scissors when I cut off the leg or the serger when I attached the fabric.

And here they are done:
Just six seams and two cuts, if all had gone smoothly.  Even with the trouble I had, it was still a fun quickie.  And now those capri pants are actually comfortable!

Happy Sewing!

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