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!

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.