Tag Archives: skirt

Invisible zippers, double top-stitching, and pleated ruffles

As mentioned, I spent the last 2 weeks almost non-stop sewing every minute I was home (with the exception of the weekend Koby came. Koby trumps sewing).  The final count on the projects is as follows.

  • four long full skirts in pretty fall colors
  • one jean skirt (for Michelle)
  • one greyed lavender twirly skirt
  • one incredibly awesome petticoat to wear with long skirts
  • a mp3 pocket I can wear like a necklace– I’ll photograph and post on that later.

The four skirts (the four on the outside in the above picture) are from a 6 gored pattern I drafted myself years ago. They are floor length and wide enough that I can do anything I want with no restriction of movement. And they are fun and flowy! Last fall, I saw cotton solids in colors I had been looking for for ages now. A deep Jasper orange, cranberry red, plum purple, and a soft jade green– I’m so pleased with them!

The learning curve on these (and the rest for that matter) was the use of invisible zippers, a first for me. The verdict is that, with an invisible zipper foot, they are easy, but odds are, I will have to use the seam ripper at least once per zipper because I WILL turn something or another the wrong way. Even with that annoyance, I much prefer them to normal zippers.

The shorter skirt in greyed lavender was part of that bunch of fabric, but I purchased the last of it, and there wasn’t enough for a long skirt. Instead, I based the pattern on a skirt I have. Apparently, I didn’t measure correctly, because it was too tight across the hips, but I managed to just drop the waistline and take it in a bit on top. It worked out, though the repairs look less neat on the inside. I’ll have to fix that pattern for next time.

The jean skirt I was quite intimidated by– my college roommate asked me to make it, and we’d purchased denim years ago and I never got around to sewing the skirts (they would have been in the 6 gored pattern). She wanted pockets and bought a commercial pattern. The double top-stitching worried me because I was dubious about how parallel I could make my stitching (I tend to sew a bit haphazardly). However, most of it went beautifully. Oddly enough, the back seam did not ask for double top-stitching, but it seemed weird without. Making that work with the zipper was hard though. Up close, I’m not 100% satisfied, but I’d hope no one is looking that closely at her backside! Now, I need to wash it (the fabric left my hands tinted blue) and then pray it fits when I see her next. (No photo for now– it didn’t turn out by itself, and it’s not my size. Hopefully Michelle will model it for me!)

The last (and awesomest!) skirt is the petticoat. Initially, I was just intending to do a long skirt like the other four in muslin. In the past, I had a cheap “peasant skirt” in white that I wore beneath my long skirts as I detest the texture and fit of slips. However, the zipper broke, and now, the fabric around the zipper is completely shredded from the safety pin I was using as a closure. I needed a replacement. Sometimes I layer different colors, but sometimes, I just need something neutral! Thus, I purchased unbleached muslin for a long skirt.

However, I am also working on repairing my Kirtle– the dress a 15th century working class woman in England would wear (yep, I am part of a Renaissance guild!)– and as the hem was shredded and I’ve seen documentation of a ruffled hem, I used left over fabric to even out and lengthen the hem, with knife pleats every inch or two. That inspired me to alter my petticoat plans to include a ruffle. Only this time, I went all out! Full on knife pleats every quarter inch. Given that the dress is already wide, pinning those took a looooong time (two movies later, I was nearly done.) Just for curiosity’s sake, I did some math. Just under 350 pleats (and thus, the same number of pins. I nearly ran out.) They are tacked down along about 10 feet. The bottom hem is… 13 yards. Yes, yards. That would be 39 feet.

The ruffle was extremely tedious to sew, but the end result was worth it. It looks amazing with my long skirts, adding some volume and billowing around my feet as I walk. Small children watch me in stores, and a 3-year-old told me she liked my dress– made my day!

Pictures of the skirts in action! Please excuse the fact that I am neither a model nor a photographer, and most definitely not both at once.

The plum-colored skirt, petticoat, and (if you look closely) the mp3 pocket thingy!

The Jasper orange skirt– I’m not sure how I like the complete outfit though. I may need to find some shirts to match better.

The cranberry red with a sweater I found at the thrift store. Please ignore the fact that I look like a dork. The others were even worse, haha.

The Jade green skirt with a shrug I found along with the above sweater. On a whim, I paired them and I think I now have a favorite outfit for warmer days!

The lavender with the skirt it was patterned from layered underneath– layering skirts is fun! There are pretty lacy bits on the camisole and cover, but you can’t see them in this view. And my socks are from sockdreams.com– awesome website! If anyone feels the need to throw away money, buy me pretty socks!