Vintage 70s Skirt – Simplicity 8019

Simplicity 8019

I’ve seen these little button-down, a-line, mini skirts all over the place lately so when I saw Simplicity 8019, a 1970s re-print skirt pattern in four lengths, I bought it to make my own version.

This skirt is a bit of a wearable muslin, I don’t love the fit but it’s good enough for now.

Simplicity 8019

I used a black cotton velvetteen from a now defunct local store paired with some matte black buttons from Joann.

One note about the pattern – I cut the shortest view, which on the pattern drawing comes above the knee, like I wanted, but the pattern pieces easily came to my knee (plus a 2″ deep hem). I shortened the skirt by about 3″ and sewed a narrower hem.

Simplicity 8019

The fit isn’t terrible. Originally the skirt pieces were too big in the waist but with so many vertical seams that problem was easy to fix. But when I went to attach the waistband it was too small. I made it work but I wonder if I made an error in cutting the waistband? Maybe I cut the wrong size or the pattern paper got folded while cutting? In the end, that made the waistband a little small.

Simplicity 8019

Also my attempt at quickly fixing a sway back issue resulted in some pulling at the center back waist that I don’t like. Next time I’ll pay better attention to my adjustment process.

Simplicity 8019

The only other aspect I don’t love is due to fabric. This velveteen has so much body and combined with the a-shaped skirt panels the skirt swings out at the hem, particularly in the back. It’s only noticeable at certain angles and I’m hoping in a different fabric the skirt will lay better. If not, I’ll use those handy vertical seams to take some bulk out at the side bottom of the back panels.

Simplicity 8019

I guess I’m just disappointed because this was such a simple pattern that I expected it to work easily and not require much alteration. Oh, well. They can’t all be winners and I have worn this skirt several times so I guess that counts as a success.

I have this pattern cut out of some demin ready to be assembled and hopefully I can remedy the fit issues this time.

Crinoline Petticoat Tutorial

crinoline_petticoat

Ooooh look, I made a petticoat! Ruffly petticoats aren’t something we see much of these days.  They’re usually only worn with special occasion dresses. Sometimes a pretty party dress will come with a layer of tulle attached to the skirt lining but not much else.

Large Crinoline Petticoat

I talked about the current popularity of the Fit and Flare dress in my last post, but those dresses don’t often get the kind of “flare” in the skirt like they did in the 50s and 60s. Why not give the flare some extra oomph with a crinoline petticoat!??

Skirt with large Crinoline Petticoat

I’m wearing this petticoat with my floral circle skirt. It also works well under other types of full skirts.

I originally followed this great tutorial but I made my petticoat a little different. Firstly, I didn’t use ribbon trim. Spools tend to come in something like 3yd lengths and I didn’t want to buy 5 spools for one petticoat. Also, that tutorial uses quite a bit of fray check for the raw edges, but since I used cotton crinoline rather than nylon I didn’t need the fray check and simply finished my seams with a zig-zag stitch.

Skirt with large Crinoline Petticoat

I tried to make this tutorial beginner friendly so first let’s talk about:

What is Crinoline?

Crinoline is a stiff but flexible fabric with a very open, plain weave. You can find 100% cotton as well as poly and nylon versions. It is most often white but you might be able to find it in black.

How is Crinoline different than tulle?

Tulle typically is made of nylon and has a diamond weave so it doesn’t fray. The size of the net can vary but it doesn’t have as much stiffness or body as crinoline. My petticoat made of crinoline will stand up on its own, tulle won’t do that. Crinoline is mainly for structure so it isn’t “pretty” like tulle. Those fancy colorful petticoats that are made to peek out from under skirts are tulle.

You can use tulle with this tutorial but your petticoat won’t be nearly as poofy. You’ll need several more layers of tulle to achieve a similar effect.

You will need:

4-5 yards of cotton crinoline (I bought mine from Fabric.com, some Joann Fabric stores sell it in the utility section)
1″ wide Twill Tape the length of your waist measurement plus an extra 5 inches
Hooks and eyes
Measuring tape, ruler, marking implement
Sewing Machine, thread, pins, needles, scissors, etc.

Tip: For this tutorial I’ll refer to Crinoline as the fabric and Petticoat as the garment.

1. Measure the Length of the Petticoat

Use your tape measure to measure from your waist to the hem of the petticoat.

Tip: The petticoat should be 1″-2″ shorter than the skirt you will wear it with.

My petticoat length is 20″.

Divide that measurement by 3 for a 3 tiered petticoat. I made my tiers 6″ (top), 7″ (middle), and 7″ (bottom).

2. Cut the Tiers

2016-04-06 18.55.40(I used a rotary cutter and mat and folded the fabric in half twice so I sliced through four layers of fabric at a time. You can also simply measure, mark, and cut with scissors.)

My tiers:

Top: 6.5″ (6″ plus .5″ seam allowance at the lower edge) x 2yds

Middle: 8″ (7″ plus .5″ seam allowance at upper and lower edges) x 4yds

Bottom: 7.5″ (7″ plus .5″ seam allowance at the upper edge) x 8yds (two 4yd pieces).

Tip: I cut my bottom tier along the selvage so I wouldn’t have to hem the lower edge.

Tip: My waist measurement is ~26″. If your waist is ~40″ or larger, consider cutting longer tier lengths like 3yds for the top, 5yds for the middle, and 9yds for the bottom tier.

3. Stitch the Short Sides Together

For the bottom tier, stitch the two 4yd pieces together along the short sides using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Finish the seam allowance with a zig-zag or overlock stitch.

Repeat with the middle tier.

For the top tier, hem both of the short ends by folding the raw edge inward 1/4″, then fold it over again 1/4″ and top stitch. This part will be open so you can get in an out of the petticoat.

4. Sew the Gathering Stitches

Lower your machine tension slightly and use a long machine stitch. Sew two lines of stitching on each tier, one at 3/8″ from the upper edge and again 5/8″ from the upper edge.

Tip: For the bottom tier, start and stop your gathering stitches at the short side seams rather than stitching all around in one continuous loop. It’s easier to gather 4yds than a huge 8yd piece all at once.

5. Divide Each Tier into Fourths

Divide the length of each tier into four equal parts and mark with pins. You could also lightly iron vertical folds into the crinoline to mark each section.

6. Sew the Tiers

Starting with the bottom tier, pull the two thread tails on the right side of the fabric to gather the crinoline.

2016-04-07 17.38.07(Look how well it stands up on its own! Also, the bottom tier is so long!)

Once gathered, pin the upper edge of the bottom tier to the lower edge of the middle tier, right sides together. Match up each pin/fold in the fabric so the gathers will be evenly distributed.

2016-04-07 17.38.48(If you’re struggling with gathering stitches that don’t like to stay gathered, you can secure your thread tails by wrapping them around a pin in a figure-8 pattern)

Stitch all the way around with a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Press the seam allowance toward the upper tier and topstitch with a zig-zag stitch to prevent fraying.

Repeat with the middle tier, then top tier.

2016-04-07 18.48.17(That’s a huge mess of fabric right there! This is sewing the top tier to the middle tier. Notice how the top tier has gathering stitches but isn’t gathered yet.)

7. Sew the waistband.

Cut a length of twill tape that matches your waist measurement + a few inches extra. My waist measurement is about 26″ so my tape is about 29″ long.

Mark the length of your waist measurement with a pin on the tape. Those extra few inches will be overlap for the hooks and eyes.

Gather up the top tier to fit the waist measurement area of the twill tape. Fold the short sides of the twill tape under 1/4″.

Wrap the twill tape over the raw gathered edge of the top tier leaving the overlap hanging off one side. Pin.

Stitch close to the edge of the twill tape and be sure to catch all three layers as you sew. Continue stitching all the way until to reach the end of the overlap, backstitch.

8. Sew the Hook and Eyes

Sew a “hook” to the inside end of the overlap.

On the opposite side of the waistband, sew on corresponding “eyes” each about an inch apart.

Crinoline Petticoat(I ran out of the flat style “eyes” but these loop style eyes work just the same.)

Tip: sewing on extra “eyes” allows you to wear the petticoat lower on your hips when wearing longer skirts.

Yay! You made a petticoat! No go wear your skirts extra poofy!

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My crinoline was only 38″ wide but I had enough fabric left over to eek out a smaller petticoat.

Small Crinoline Petticoat

This one used 4yds of 8″ wide crinoline for the bottom tier, 2yds of 6.5″ wide crinoline for the middle tier, and 45″ x 7″ of cotton muslin for the top tier. I didn’t have enough twill tape left so I just cut another strip of muslin for the waistband.

Here’s an example of my Breathless dress with no petticoat, small petticoat, and large petticoat.

breathless_petticoat

I didn’t take a pic of me wearing both petticoats together but, man, it makes for a huge skirt!

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I was talking to my Aunt about her experience wearing petticoats in the 50s. She said girls would compete to see how many petticoats they could pile up under their skirts. She’d also dip her petticoats in liquid starch to make them extra stiff. If you were around in the hey-day of petticoat-wearing I’d love to hear your stories!

Floral Circle Skirt and Cropped Sweatshirt

Self Drafted Circle Skirt and Raglan Sweatshirt
This post is a two-fer! A whole me-made coordinating outfit. I’m teaching a bunch of sewing classes these days at a local Austin store, including a circle skirt class. I made this skirt as an example based on my measurements.

I found this great big floral stretch cotton at Joann Fabrics. I loved the graphic look of the roses and the colors. It had a very 50s vibe so what better use for it than a circle skirt?

Self Drafted Circle Skirt and Raglan Sweatshirt

I saw this fabric about a week before I bought it and decided not to get it during that trip. The next time I went to the store there wasn’t much left on the bolt. In fact it was just enough to make the circle skirt. I had to piece together the waistband.

Only problem – the fabric had a misprint – streaks of white running down the center fold along the grainline. Luckily, I saw it and was able to get the fabric at a big discount.

I did a pretty good job of hiding the unprinted areas in the back seam. Only a couple streaks show but they’re not noticeable.

Self Drafted Circle Skirt and Raglan Sweatshirt

(obligatory twirl shot)

I used a center back invisible zipper for the closure and made a narrow 1″ waistband (hidden by my shirt).

Because this fabric has some stretch in it, I worried that it would stretch out a bunch at the bias angles. It did. Good thing I let the skirt hang for about a week before I and trimmed the excess and hemmed it.

Self Drafted Circle Skirt and Raglan Sweatshirt

So after I finished my pretty new skirt I discovered nothing in my wardrobe went well with it. Time to sew a new shirt!

Self Drafted Circle Skirt and Raglan Sweatshirt

I had some criteria for this shirt:

  • Solid color: another print would just compete with the roses.
  • Cropped: I didn’t want to have to tuck a bunch of fabric into this skirt (I realize I could have made a Ginger Bodysuit, maybe next time).
  • Modern & vintage: rather than go all out feminine and 50s inspired, I wanted something more modern and even a little sporty. The raglan sleeves instantly read casual and I like the look of a sweatshirt mixed with an uber-girly skirt.

Self Drafted Circle Skirt and Raglan Sweatshirt

The shirt is drafted from an old raglan block. I simply changed the sleeves, made cuffs, narrowed the bodice, and added a waistband.

Self Drafted Circle Skirt and Raglan Sweatshirt

I found this fabric at Joann (I know right? Joann is really uppin’ their game lately…). It’s a heathered jersey with some kind of metalic-y fiber in it like the fabric I used for my Morris Blazer (although that was a ponte, not a jersey).

Self Drafted Circle Skirt and Raglan Sweatshirt

I’d call this outfit a success. Big ass roses 4evah!!!

Also, f you want to make your own circle skirt, By Hand London has a good tutorial (and an app!).

Deer and Doe and Grainline both have similar patterns as my shirt if you don’t want to draft one yourself.

 

Sparkly Box Pleated Skirt

Self Drafted Box Pleat Skirt

Oh, look, it’s my old standard photo background – the moldy green backyard fence! It’s not the prettiest place but its shaded and gets amazing light in the afternoon.

I hadn’t used it much lately because the giant trees surrounding our house make for a thick blanket of leaves over everything each spring. I finally got around to clearing out the leaves this week – I filled thirteen(!!!) of those big kraft paper yard bags!.

The leaves are never ending. Oh, well. In the mean time let’s talk about skirts!

Self Drafted Box Pleat Skirt

This skirt occurred as an experiment. Maybe I was inspired to sew pleats because I had been pleating petticoats lately for my historical costumes and wanted to apply that to modern clothes. Maybe I was sick of this fabric growing lonely in my dresser.

I’d had this nice sparkly black fabric for so long and with no clue what to do with it so I brought it out from the drawer, washed it, and as I was ironing, started playing with pleats.

What you see now is the result – a stitched-down pleated skirt. I think I may have stumbled on a new closet staple.

Let’s get to the details:

Self Drafted Box Pleat Skirt

The Pattern: None! But after fits and starts I realized I had to do some math to get the skirt to fit me.

The skirt is simply a length of 45″ wide fabric split up the middle into two rectangles, pleated and seamed together with part of the pleats stitched down. Each pleat is slightly larger than one 1″ in width, so each pleat takes up probably 3.25″ total.

Self Drafted Box Pleat Skirt

The Fabric: This fabric is, I believe, a cotton (maybe linen blend?) with metallic threads interwoven horizontally. Since I cut the fabric in half, I did the pleats up the selvage side so the stripes run vertical on the skirt. I bought it at least a year ago and I honestly don’t remember where it came from now…

The Changes Construction: Mostly trial and error until I got my math correct.

Originally I wanted to make a facing but decided drafting a facing based on a patternless skirt with a bunch of wonky pleats was too much work. Instead I cut 2.25″ wide bias tape and bound the edge. I think the diagonal angle of the stripes adds contrast and it proved an easy alternative to a facing.

Self Drafted Box Pleat Skirt

At first I planned on simply zig-zagging down where the pleats meet but then I noticed a spool of velvet ribbon and had an idea… I carefully edge stitched the ribbon over each pleat section, folding in the raw edge at the bottom. Luckily, I had exactly enough ribbon left on the spool to fit.

I tried to accommodate the measurement difference from waist to upper hip in my pleats by making the pleats deeper at the top than at the bottom.

Self Drafted Box Pleat Skirt

The skirt closes with a invisible zip that’s hidden behind one of the pleats. I made that pleat slightly wider and extended it over the edge of the zipper teeth (kind of like a mock-lapped zip). Then I stitched the ribbon over that very edge of the pleat so when I wear the skirt it mostly looks seamless.

Finally I added a hook and eye to the waistband but I didn’t do that good of a job ’cause you can see the hook. I should have considered that and possibly sewn it to the inside. Oh well, not going to fix it.

Self Drafted Box Pleat Skirt

The Results: For not knowing how it would turn out, this skirt has made me much happier than I expected. The body of the fabric holds the pleats well and makes the hem poof out nicely. Since it’s mostly black it can go with several tops but the metallic threads add a bit of bling. There’s something inherently feminine about a little box pleated mini. I’d call this make a success!