Dotted Mini Skirt

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This is the product of my first test print of my soon to be published (and by “soon” I mean in the amount of time it takes George R.R. Martin to publish his next book) skirt pattern.

The first test print is exactly what it sounds like. I digitized my pattern, graded it and re-printed it out to compare it to the original pieces. This is the first – but certainly not last – step in the testing phase.

It’s important to figure out any obvious issues like, for example, that I somehow missed adding seam allowance to the center back of the waistband pieces. Oops.

Or how there’s no way I’m going to be able to fit the bottom band piece in one long section in the upper size ranges. It will just be too long for the width of the fabric so I need to chop that piece into at least two smaller pieces.

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Also, large sizes might require longer zippers for the pockets so I’ll need to decide if I put different zipper length requirements for upper and lower sizes or just make all sizes use the longer zipper?

Usually by the second test print all these main problems will be dealt with. Since I’m expanding my size chart I might get someone who fits a larger size to test because the upper sizes will be drafted from a different block than my size. And if all that is good to go I can move on to asking all you lovelies to test for me!

You’ve seen this design before with the zip pockets and lots of crazy seaming (which is easier to see in my previous version).

This time I made it out of a brown dotted cotton/linen blend from Cloth Pocket. It’s medium weight and I added interfacing to the waist. Facings and pockets are just some light blue cotton voile I got at a fabric swap.

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I also made this one slightly longer than my gold version by about 3/4″.

I topstitched all the seams, too, but it is difficult to see because the thread blends in perfectly with the fabric. I like the topstitching, though, because it keeps the seam allowances flat on the inside and makes it easy to stitch down the facings without needing to do it by hand, or stitch in the ditch, or use some trick around the top of the back zipper. Easy peasey and it looks nice too.

For the next go around I might try a striped fabric. I want to see if the seaming allows for some cool chevron effect action.

Oh, and I’ll share more about the top I’m wearing in an upcoming post. 😉
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Also, just to let you know, I’m planning on raising my pattern prices pretty soon so if there’s one (or two or all three!) that you haven’t bought yet but have been wanting to, better get them now at their lower price.

Gold Denim mini skirt

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This is s skirt I’ve been working on and surprisingly enough has been probably my most successful draft of any pattern I’ve made. I had a basic straight skirt block and turned it into this, no fitting adjustments needed. Winning!

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I drew a sketch of this design, like, five or six years ago, crazy! Early pattern drafting days. I had completely forgot about it until I was cleaning up and I found my little sketch. Later I discovered an old UFO bag with green corduroy pieces cut out and some zippers. Apparently at some point I tried making the skirt but I hardly remember it at all and obviously never finished it.

Flash forward a few years and I’m now slowly working on making a PDF pattern for this design. Unlike my past patterns I’m doing 9 sizes meaning I have to draft two blocks to grade up and down from. It’s taking me longer but in the end it’ll be nice because the pattern can be used by a wider range of sizes.

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Basically it’s a mini skirt with a thick waistband and a bottom hem band (both with facings). It’s got a total of 7 “panels,” two of which have these slanted exposed zip pockets. It hits about 2″ lower than my natural waist.

This fabric is a denim I got from a new Austin store called The Cloth Pocket. The owner said she got it from a local custom jeans designer so that’s kinda cool.

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The pocket interior and facings are left over Liberty of London. Yay for using scraps! (especially expensive scraps…)

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The back zip is a regular zip and the front pocket zips are some metal jeans zippers. I top stitched all the seams in gold thread.

It’s definitely an above the knee mini skirt but I think it can be lengthened easily in either the panels or the hem band.

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I’ve been wearing it pretty often which is always a good sign. I made it in a solid so it goes with all kinds of tops but yet the seaming and zips give it some interest so it’s not a plain ol’ denim skirt.

Well, whatdya think? And would anyone be willing to be a pattern tester for me? More details on that in a future post.

Do Ginger (skirts) Have Souls?

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Sorry, I just think of that line every time I hear the word “ginger” now. Couldn’t resist.

But for real, tho. This is a pretty cool skirt. Maybe it’s something about the bias cut panels but I really like this skirt more than any other a-line skirt I’ve worn or made. Normally I avoid a-line skirts because I feel like they make me look like a big triangle. I’m already slightly pear shaped and a-line skirts don’t do much for my shape. I always think I need more fullness in the skirt to exaggerate my curves or a pencil shape to hug the curves I have. A-lines usually make me look bottom-heavy.

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Buuuuuuutt…. with the Ginger that might not be the case. Not bad, Colette!

The Goal: I’ve been teaching my Circle Skirt Drafting Class for a few months now and I wanted to move on to another topic. I liked this skirt because it’s relatively easy (three paper pattern pieces, no lining) but can be more advanced if you want it to be (invisible zip, bias option). And skirts are pretty easy to fit. I think we have a winner!

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The Pattern: Colette’s Ginger Skirt. I made Version 3 with the bias cut sections but with the pointy waistband. I made a 4 which fits nice at the hips but is ever so slightly too loose in the waist. Next time I’d grade down a size at the waist and use the smaller waistband.

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The Fabric: A silk (!!!) herringbone suiting, medium weight which I got from Susan, actually, at a fabric swap. I have no idea why she would give this stuff up, it’s gorgeous! Close up you can see the chevron effect but far enough away and it just looks like a heather-y gray skirt. I think it’s enough to consider this skirt a “solid color” which will make it easier to pair multiple tops.

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The Changes: The fabric, while silk, is pretty rough and itchy so I added a lining out of a black cotton voile. I also used a regular zip rather than invisible. Mostly ’cause I didn’t want to take the time to prep and sew an invisible when regulars are really fast. Lazy Dixie…

The Results: Overall the fit is pretty good. The waistband is a bit too big but still acceptable.

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The only other tiny issues are ones I’ve noticed when making other Colette patterns – the fabric right below the waistband likes to fold up whenever I bend over or sit down.

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And sometimes about 5” down from the waist band at the center front seam I get some wrinkling which I think is from the same problem. Miss Lulu suggested that my abdomen area isn’t as full as the pattern is drafted for so I have excess fabric there. A simple fix for next time – scoop the front waist area of the skirt pattern piece lower at center front and maybe smooth out the curve at center front a few inches down from the top.

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I might make a second version of this skirt to work out the kinks and start prepping materials to make it into a class, yay, sewing!

The Little Red Circle Skirt

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I can’t believe it but it’s been raining for like 3 days straight. This is good because we could really use the rain but this also means I can’t exactly go outside to take pics and inside is too dark with all the clouds. Luckily today it cleared up and took these photos of my new circle skirt!

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Remember my last circle skirt? Well, what I didn’t tell you was that skirt was a test sample for my new class I’m teaching on drafting circle skirts. Monday night was my first class that I taught (it went really well! yay!) and this red skirt was my in progress “example” skirt I used to demonstrate steps to my students.

The fabric is a red linen which is on the thinner side but is much stiffer than the rayon I used on my last skirt. The linen gives the skirt a little more of a voluminous effect.

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I did a baby hem on this skirt rather than hem tape like last time ’cause I knew you might be able to see the underside of the skirt because I made this skirt with a slight hi-lo hem. It’s most obvious from a side angle.

Making the hi-lo hem was easy, and I made a nifty little graphic to demonstrate!

Basically, you take your circle skirt pattern, which looks like a big donut, and you shift your center circle (for your waist) forward a few inches closer to the front of your pattern. That makes the front of the skirt shorter and the back longer.

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My hi-lo effect isn’t very exaggerated. I was limited to the width of my fabric, it was only 54″ and I didn’t want to cut the skirt in two pieces. I like the single back seam look. Nor did I want the front of the skirt to be too short

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The rest of the skirt is pretty much the same as last time – regular zipper in the back, waistband with a button (this time it’s a shiny shell button!).

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I pretty much love this skirt! And it’s red and I don’t own much red clothing right now so something new is pretty exciting. It fits well at the waist and the linen fabric gives it a different shape compared to my teal skirt. And the fact that it’s solid makes it easy to match with tops! Circle skirts for the win!

In other news I got to wear my bombshell swimsuit this weekend (to a rather shallow and slightly slimy river, but whatevs) and I’m going to Florida for a week next week to visit family and I’m sure I’ll get to wear it again. It’s quickly becoming my favorite swimsuit!