June 7, 2013

Wool & Silk Skirt, with Braces of same

I've been working on and off on a pair of high waisted pants for myself, to be held up with braces. During this process, Violet expressed a keen desire for a skirt made of the same material to go with the white shirt I made her last year, also to be hung on suspenders. I had enough of the wool/cashmere blend fabric that has been in my stash for years (probably from Fabric.com, but I'm not sure) to make a skirt for a 6 year old, so I told her I'd be happy to make her such a skirt.

I posted last week on making the suspenders.

First, I drafted a basic form cut skirt pattern from my childrens' version of Metric Pattern Cutting. I slashed the front and back into three sections to make a six gore skirt, aiming to put in six inverted pleats which would start at approximately hip level and go down.

I decided to make some strap like things grown on to the front section which would overlap the back and either button on or go through strap slides.

I whipped up a muslin pretty quickly and it looked reasonable.

So I began cutting the real skirt pieces. I changed the way the pleats were implemented a bit, which was probably a mistake since it led to me needing to spend a lot more time thinking. I also ended up running the pleat inserts all the way up to the waistband, which added bulk at the waist even after aggressive trimming of the seam allowances. If I did it again I would spend the time to design the pattern with the pleat insert stopping or tapering out after the hip.

On the muslin, I just made a facing on the inside down to about hip level. On the real skirt, I thought maybe it would be just as easy to make a lining/underskirt instead, out of 52 gsm (12 momme) silk charmeuse. Why do I do these things??! I forget that charmeuse is a little tricky to work with and ends up taking me significantly more time to use. It is nice fabric though, and in the end I remembered why I bought a bunch (from SilkConnection.com) to have on hand for linings and underskirts.

The lining is composed of 6 pattern pieces and 6 pleat inserts. I french seamed them all together, and used the rolled hem foot on my sewing machine to finish the bottom edge after assembly. When travelling around the hem, I had to skip over the intersections of the hem to a vertical seam (of which there were 12) since the french seams would clog the hem roller foot.

Afterwards I pressed a double fold in the pleat sections and went back and stitched it down to join with adjacent rolled hem sections.

The edges of the wool are finished with Hug Snug rayon seam binding, sewn on in a two step sequence using #100 silk thread. First I sew the binding on to the future seam allowance:

Press flat

Press over, press around

Finally, stitch it down again.

This method produces nice results, but you end up sewing 5x the distance you are trying to cover (2x for each pattern piece, then 1x to put them together), with pressing in several intermediate stages. Ah well, still easier than hand overcasting! I did try using the hug snug with a bias binder foot I have for my W&W D-9. but it was not that easy to keep everything in place to insure proper application of the ribbon.

Here is a stack of pieces getting binding put on.

The outer skirt is hemmed with a single fold, with seam binding to cover the raw edge, hand stitched up in place.

This woolen fabric presses absolutely beautifully. The lining and outer skirt are sewn together in a simple manner, then I topstiched around the perimeter to try and compact the edge a bit. The waist is left soft, with no reinforcement or inner band.

I rather wanted to use the strap slides for the side tabs, but decided they would be too troublesome to thread every time for a kid if I used them as the primary closure as I had planned.

Plus I was starting to feel like I needed to finish this project and move on to new things, so I just put in two hand made buttonholes on the tabs and matching buttons on the waist of the back section. These buttons can be moved forward or an extra set can be put on when Violet grows too big for their current location.

Violet is thrilled with the skirt, particularly in combination with the white shirt.

She is excited to wear it, even though the weather is now too hot for this skirt to make much sense.


mssewcrazy said...

I am very impressed at your making the pattern and muslining the wool skirt and getting the final version just right. The lining and edge finishing is very nicely done. Violet looks really cute in her tailor made skirt and suspenders. It makes such a nice outfit and she should be able to wear it for a long while the way you built in the adjustments for growth-very nice work you are stitching out.

Missy Shay said...

I love it, you did a great job!

Connie (CJ) Griffin said...

Definitely inspiring!

purplefiend said...

Violet is absolutely adorable in her skirt! Your sewing is great also.

Allison in Plano said...

Marvelous work!! Violet looks lovely in her new skirt.