Monday, April 8, 2013

Serendipity Skirt - Coming soon from The Heroine's Closet !

Coming Soon from The Heroine's Closet!
That's reason enough to twirl about in a fab circle skirt!

A Serendipity Skirt!
In the mood to be a commoner for a day? You're going to need the right clothes. A stylish and swishy circle skirt would be just the thing. The full skirt makes climbing out of windows quick and easy. And you'll be cool all day as you run amok amongst the hoi polloi. And look great, too, because you never who you'll meet with a camera. Like say, a Really Handsome Newsman. 

The Film, the Plot and the Skirt:  A girl, the Big City and way too many royal duties.  Not to mention way too constricting clothes for such a hot climate.  Our Heroine decides to duck her duties, don a classic circle skirt with side-front inseam pockets and matching cinch belt and make a dash for it out the window.  An excellent choice for climbing, running, jumping on the back of trucks and riding about Rome on a Vespa.  The skirt has lots of swing, swish and sass.  All the better to keep cool while seeing how the other half lives.

A note about the designer and our Heroine: One felt the other was too skinny with a too long neck. So the first one barked out some orders to the work room staff to draft up blousey, gathered, pleated things requiring neck scarves etc., etc., etc. adnauseum in a vain attempt to balance things out. The other one felt differently and let it be ever so diplomatically known. Obviously, our Heroine already had an inkling of what was to come in her years ahead fashion-wise. Know thyself and you'll always be well dressed. 

 Pattern Notes & Skill Level:  Four panel unlined circle skirt with in-seam side-front pockets, invisible zipper up through the waistband, bias faced hem and self belt.  Skill level assumes intermediate sewing construction knowledge, how-to insert an invisible zipper with guard and a bias faced hem. Pattern layout included, grain lines are marked on the pattern.

Suggested Fabrics:  Anything swingy, swishy, near any weight woven, 60" wide.  Only stable knits are recommended.

Yardage Needed:  4yrds., 60 " wide, folded crosswise, selvages meeting in the middle.

Notions:  1 7-9" invisible zipper, 1 5/8ths button, 3/8" fusible bias tape and/or fusible yardage to reinforce zipper, waistline and pocket seams and waistband.  6 1/2 yrds  2 1/2" wide bias either from fashion fabric or contrast.  A very clear tutorial on continuous bias can be found over at Strikes My Fancy.  Your square is 25" x 25".  Instructions from the University of Kentucky are provided as well, nearer the end of these instructions.
 Cutting Layout

4 yrds. 60" wide, folded on the cross grain, folded to meet in the middle.  

Assembly Instructions 
1.  This .pdf pattern has 6 pattern pieces, and uses 30 sheets of 8 1/2" x 11" paper to print.  Pieces 1, 2, and 3 are nested within one another and are delineated by a green dashed line for #1, a red dotted line for #2, and a solid blue line for 3 and all other pieces to preserves file space and negate the need for an extra-large pattern assembly space.  You will need to print pages 7 thru 23 three times. 
2.  Layout all pieces, transfer all markings.  You will need a 25" x 25" square to make the continuous bias, as marked in the layout above in a dotted line on the under layer, so be sure not to cut through it.
3.  Give the waistline, zipper opening and all pocket openings on both the pockets and skirt (that makes 8 openings total) a strip of lightweight interfacing or 3/8ths fusible bias. 3/8ths fusible bias was used on the skirt waistline seams to keep the curved waist selvedges from stretching during construction.

3a.  Interface one waistband - this will be the outer waistband - and run a 5/8ths basting stitch along one long edge.  The uninterfaced waistband piece will be the inner waistband.  On the inner waistband, give it a shot or two of starch or stiffener prior to construction, then mark and/or baste a 3/8ths seam allowance on both short ends and a 5/8ths seam allowance basting stitch along one entire long edge. Press the 5/8ths long edge under to the wrong side.
4.  Sew pockets (#4) to skirt front (#1) and skirt side fronts (#2).  Press seams towards pockets and understitch.  
Understiching the pockets helps keep them from rolling out when you pull your hands out of your pockets.
5.  Sew skirt front to skirt side fronts by first matching pocket openings and stitching down 1 1/2" from waistline.  Then sew skirt front to skirt sides along and around pockets, down to hemline.  This is shown in blue thread below.

6.  Press pockets towards front and baste along waistline.  Also shown in blue thread at the waistline below. 

7.  Sew skirt back (#3) to skirt sides, leaving about 12" open on desired side for zipper.  The Tutorialist chose the right side. 
8.  Sew outer waistband (#5) to skirt.  Clip seam and press towards waistband.  

9.  Insert zipper in skirt side seam up and through waistband.  Put the zipper tap stop just a smidge below the 5/8ths basting, about 1/8th".

10.  Stop and have a cookie.  Admire your fabulous work.

11.  Make zipper guard.  The Tutorialist chose to make a keyhole buttonhole closure because she wanted to try something on her new machine and Show Off. 

12.  Add zipper guard to zipper tape of skirt back so the button extension faces the front, and is 1/4" down from waistband upper seam.
Facing forward

Folded over to face back

There's the 1/4" down from waistband upper seam.

13.  To sew the inner waistband to outer waistband, start by sewing the short ends first.  Wrong side to wrong side, place the 3/8ths" mark of each inner waistband short end at the raw edge of the outer waistband - 1/4" will hang over and be trimmed after you've checked your work and fit.  Stitch 1/4" away from the zipper teeth.

14.  Roll the inner waistband over towards the outer waistband, with the zipper teeth exactly in the roll fold and stitch the long edge of the waistbands together.  The Tutorialist likes to sew this step just a few inches on each end first, about 3", then stop and check her work before finishing up sewing the rest of the waistband. 

Here's a video showing the "roll and stitch" of the long edge of the waistband. 

14.  Press top of waistband seam towards inner waistband and understitch, stopping and starting 2" from zipper.  Trim waistband seam allowances, clip waist seam allowances and press up into waistband.

15.  Sew waistband closed in preferred method - by hand or "stitch-in-the-ditch."
16.  Mark hem on skirt.  Hang skirt on a skirt hanger or dress form and let hang for 24 hours for the bias to "drop & stop."

17.  Try skirt on and re-check hem markings.  Adjust as needed.  Now take a break and watch  Audrey and Edith. 

18.  Make the continuous bias.  You need 6 1/2 yrds. of 2 1/2" wide continuous bias.  The University of Kentucky instructions are below and very handy to have in your sewing notes for future reference.  Thanks, Tuckers!
19.  Run a 1/4" basting stitch along one short selvedge and one long (the entire length) selvedge.  Press under both along basting line.  The long edge of the bias is the inside hemming edge.  It is important when pressing to give this edge an inside curve, thus making the un-basted edge an outside curve.  The unbasted edge is the selvedge you will sew to the skirt, right-side to right-side.  If you've pressed your bias correctly, you will have a slight curve to it that will match the same curve of the skirt hem.

Here's a visual of pressing the bias . . .

1/4" Basting before being pressed under

1/4" pressed to wrong side of short end

20.  Sew bias to skirt hem, right side to right side.  To begin the bias, pin the pressed under short end in place and begin sewing.  Once you have completed the circumference of the skirt/bias, continue over then past where you began.  An inch or two past where you began should do it.  This is for when you turn the bias to the inside, you will have a enclosed beginning/end.

21.  Press seam allowance, then press the seam only again towards the bias, being careful not to press out the curve of the bias.  Pressing the seam in the direction of the skirt towards the bias, but not the bias itself should avoid losing the curve you've pressed. in.

20.  Understitch the bias.  Your bias will turn to the inside very nicely.  Press and pin hem.

21.  Have a cocktail and admire your fabulousness.

22.  Hem in desired method.  The Tutorialist decided on a single needle machined hem.  The double needle trial was nice too.

Complete the Look:

Don your Serendipity Skirt and give it a twirl.  Better yet, pair it with your favorite summer sandals and an intrepid spirit and you'll be ready to go sight seeing in your own home town. While a Vespa of one's own always makes for some zippy accessorizing, perhaps you're more a cinch belt Heroine.  Will you be brave enough for a new hairdo?  A new lipstick will get you camera ready. One never knows what kind of Handsome Stranger you'll meet, so make this Serendipity Skirt and Be Ready!


Savage Coco

Friday, January 25, 2013

Halter top Hussy - Coming soon from The Heroine's Closet

Inspired by the movie "Rear Window", a little something discreetly racy brought to you by SavageCoco Patterns to satisfy your inner Hussy.  Finished sample photos at the end of this post.

The Movie, the Plot & the Dress:  Oh, the things that go on behind closed doors!  Our Heroine intends to seduce her captive beau.  She enters the scene as demure and cool as the ice white of her pearls only to begin a slow bit of strip tease.  Off with her gloves and hat, then her jacket in one casual move.  Oh, swoosh!  Instantly, her creamy shoulders and back are bare for the enjoyment of her captive audience of one.  All the more sexy to lure in her prey.  This woman has a plan.  Our heroine has chosen a belted haltertop dress with a white front wrap bodice and an attached skirt of Nile Green.  Oh, you thought it was a separate blouse and skirt?  No, our girl will be out of her attire with no more than a quick zip down the back. She's a fast worker, this one is.

So plan your next amorous attack and make like this Hussy in a Haltertop and get your man. He'll never know what hit him.  

A note about the designer and our Heroine:  A certain someone with a few Oscar statues lounging about her altier felt our Heroine didn't possess much up front.  As such, many of the garments in our Heroine's closet from this film were ruched, gathered, folded and/or otherwise manipulated to give the impression of a fuller bustline.  Our Heroine wasn't much impressed.  Additionally, the director, who may or may not have had an unhealthy obsession for tall, cool blonds in too tight to breath Nile Green suits with naughty thoughts on their minds, insisted on just that.  You will note during the scene of which this pattern was inspired by, our Heroine never sits.  Oh, she carefully - very carefully - momentarily lays across her beau's bed, but she never actually sits. She probably couldn't.  Additionally, if you watch the clothes and not the movie, you will note how this dress moves, or rather, does not.  And that it, in fact, was a dress, not a blouse and skirt as often believed.  You could not have tucked anything into that skirt and not have seen the outline of it, as well as the zipper is a continuous line down the back of the garment.
Perhaps if you're not built like our Heroine, one of these shrouds of lycra should bring things into alignment . . .
Pattern Notes & Skill Level:  This pattern is a size Medium on a 5’4” model, 36” bust, 30" waist, 37" hip.  Skill level assumes intermediate sewing construction knowledge, a centered back seam invisible zipper with machine inserted lining cut from the same pattern.  Pattern layout is not included but grainlines are marked on the pattern.  Additionally, this garment is cut with very little wearing ease and should be taken into account.
Special pattern/design alterations:  This pattern was drafted for the wearing of a halter or strapless bra.  The back neck is sewn closed - you step into the dress, pull the neck over your head and pull up the zipper.  The skirt has been cut to fall at knee length for wearing ease and a more contemporary look.  You will need to add length if desired.  Instructions for lining a kick pleat are not included but a link to a YouTube video is.  The skirt includes both front and back darts. Our model didn't require front darts as she eats pasta, so they are not shown in this tutorial. Darts for the skirt front are included on the pattern if needed.
If you wish to make the blouse portion only of the dress, a cutting line at the hip of the skirt portion has been included on the pattern, however, you will still need to step into the blouse due to the back zipper and closed neck construction.
Suggested fabrics:  Blouse:  Silk Habotai or other lightweight fabrics; Skirt: polys, silks or other lightweight wovens, stretch wovens.
Yardage needed:  Blouse and skirt, each:  44”-45”: 1 2/3 yrds;  52”-54”: 1 yrd, 1 1/4 yrd. lining for skirt and blouse back, organza underlining if desired.
Notions:  One 12"-14" invisible zipper, 1 yrd. Grosgrain or Petersham ribbon, 2 hook and eyes, one belt kit, lightweight interfacing plus several lengths of 1/4" wide fusible interfacing or fusible bias tape such as Design Plus - Nancy's Notions has it., 2 yards 1/2" bias from lining, Washable Wonder Tape.
Assembly Instructions

All seams are 5/8” unless otherwise indicated on the pattern.  All seam allowances are included in the pattern, you do not need to add them.
1.  Print, assemble and cut out all pattern pieces.  This pattern has 5 pattern pieces and uses 22 sheets of 8.5” x 11” paper to print. 
2.  Layout all pattern pieces, cut fashion fabric, underling if using and lining.  Transfer all markings. Note:  the "collar" armscye/neckband pieces, once cut, are shape shifters. Keeping the pieces pinned to the pattern until ready to sew is highly recommended.

3.  Apply any underlining if using.  This tutorial underlined the skirt portion only in the Flatline method.  Also known as the All-In-One Lining/Hong Kong finish. The tutorial skirt was both underlined and lined as the poly fashion fabric was a bit lightweight after being laundered. It isn't always necessary to do both. If your fashion fabric has enough body, perhaps one or the other will be enough.  Assembly instructions below include lining the dress. 

4.  Immediately after cutting the bodice front and back, stabilize both the neckline,  armscye/bodice back top selvages with 1/4" fusible or fusible bias tape, to prevent stretching during handling and construction.  Stitch a basting line at 1/4" to aid in rolling if desired.

5.  Roll neckline selvages 1/4" twice and blind hem or hem of choice.   Washable Wonder Tape aids in pinless rolling.  This seam allowance is 5/8ths to allow for roll of the cloth. 

Top Tip:  Use invisible thread when hemming for a true "blind" hem.
Make 1/4" pleats in neck where marked by folding where marked.  Pleats fold towards neck and away from shoulder. Baste down.

6.  Construct neck/armscye bands with 1/4" seam allowance, stitching long edge and back edges only.  Clip copiously between notches, turn, press and baste wrong side to wrong side to hold.  Washable Wonder Tape works wonders here and negates the need for pins or thread basting. 
Top Tip:  For perfect points, try this little trick from Pam at  Scroll down her page for the "Perfect Collar Points...A Shirtmaker's "Secret" Technique." It's pretty fab. 

Perfect Points!

7. Sew darts in bodice back, both fashion fabric and lining. Butterfly darts by pressing fashion fabric darts towards the center back seam and lining darts towards side seams. On the bodice lining only, baste a 5/8ths stitching line on side seams.
8. Sew darts in skirt back, both fashion fabric and lining. Butterfly darts by pressing fashion fabric darts towards the center back seam and lining darts towards side seams.
9. Sew fashion fabric bodice back to skirt back at waistline from center back seam to back darts only. Repeat for lining. Insert invisible zipper in fashion fabric center back seam. On the lining, baste off 3/8" down each center back seam of the lining the length of zipper tape.  Set lining aside.

10. Sew fashion fabric bodice fronts to back at side seams.  Grade seams and press towards back.

11.  Baste armscye/neckbands to bodice, underside of band to right side of bodice.  Baste bias tape over same from neck to 1" beyond side seam and stitch through all layers in a 1/4" seam.  Press, clip and turn bias tape to inside. 

12.  Sew lining center back seam to zipper tape.  Sherry's tutorial Facing an Invisible Zipper over at PatternScissorsCloth is excellent.  For our purposes, the bodice back lining is treated as if it were a facing.  Once you have sewn the lining along the length of the zipper tape, you will then roll it, as in the tutorial, and finish sewing the bodice back lining to the fashion fabric back bodice, with the armscye band sandwiched between the two, from the zipper to the side seams, keeping the basted lining side seam selvage free.  Photo below left.  Press, turn, understitch, then stitch down the bias tape from side seams to neck edge. The armscye bands will roll to the front, covering the stitching.   You will hand finish the bodice back lining side seams at a later step after the skirt and skirt lining are constructed and sewn to the bodice.  A photo below right shows this finished.

13.  Stop and have a cocktail.  You've earned it. 

14.  Place bodice fronts your right over your left, matching center front and side-front markings. Baste pleats through both layers on dotted lines only.  Stitch pleats through both layers by folding along baste lines, matching markings.  Press towards side seams. 

15.  Sew skirt front to backs at side seams, make darts if using.   Repeat for lining.  Be sure to butterfly any darts - fashion fabric towards the side seams, lining towards the front.

16.  Sew fashion fabric skirt to bodice at waistline from back dart to back dart. 

17.  Repeat for skirt lining, right sides together, sandwiching the fashion fabric in between between, (flip the skirt lining "up") stitch at waistline through all thicknesses.  Flip the skirt lining down, grade seams and press.

18.  Blind stitch back bodice lining at bodice side seams.
19. For the neck closing, open up armscye/neckbands at neck and sew wrong side to wrong side in a 5/8" seam. Note - there is a slight curve to the seam at the folds portion - shorten your stitch to make the curve. 
Trim seam allowance to 1/4", press open, fold under the top corner of the seam allowance then fold the collar onto itself, wrong side to wrong side. 
Top Tip:  A tad of Washable Wondertape pressed on with tweezers helps hold this down instead of using pins.

Finish by stitching in the ditch and blind stitch over the exposed seam allowances - about 1/2".

20. Hem skirt and lining. A handy video tutorial for lining a kick pleat can be found on You Tube at Fashion Sewing Blog TV. There are no photos of the tutorial garment's kick pleat due to an unfortunate incident involving new scissors.

Top Tip: Catchstitching the hem to the underlining only provides no-show stitching on the right side of the skirt.

The skirt lining was machine hemmed 1" shorter than the skirt hem.
 A Few Finishing Touches
 French tack the lining to the skirt at the side seams.

Top Tip:  Make a waiststay from Grosgrain (acceptable) or Petersham (better) to both take the pressure off the zipper at the waistline when zipping up your dress and help keep things in place, eliminating the Tug of Shame when one wears something strapless.  Wouldn't want to induce Lt. Blackslashacrosstheeyes of the U.F.P. (Universal Fashion Police) to issue any citations.  She's everywhere, so let's not take any chances and add that waiststay.
Top Tip:  And see those little "bumps" inside the hooks?  That's where you slide your pin through to hold them in place while sewing.  Slip a pin through the fabric, run through the opening of the bump and pick up bit more fabric, slip through the bump of the second hook and pick up a bit more fabric.  Your hooks will stay aligned during hand sewing.  You're welcome.

You may wish to add hanger straps at the waistline side seams to aid in hanging the dress, however, if your skirt is figure-hugging, the outline may show through as they did on the tutorial sample.  So they were removed and the dress is folded over a hanger in the same manner as a pair of trousers.
Make the belt.   Here's some pics of the tutorials belt making.  The kit was vintage and very old but the Tutorialist only paid a dime for it at the '12 ASG Summer Stash Sale.  There was marginal success with the stickyback template due to the age of kit.
Tool List:  A little block of scrap wood, a small hammer, an awl and/or a nail set, measuring tool, disappearing ink marker, eyelets and eyelet crimping tool.  This is the Dritz eyelet/snap combo model that comes with assorted color eyelets.

Mark eyelet holes with the disappearing ink marker - a pink Singer water soluable pen was used - place the awl or nailset on the marking and give it a good whack with the hammer.  Go ahead - whack it again.  Wrench it free.

Place the eyelet, smooth side down on the awl/nailset, then fabric and push the eyelet up until the serrated edge shows through on the other side.

Place smooth side of eyelet on the crimping tool. Top Tip:  put a bit of cloth between the smooth side of the eyelet and the crimping tool to reduce abrasion on the face of the eyelet.  you'll need to make a hole in the scrap fabric to slip over the pin of the crimping tool.

Give it a squeeze . . .
Practice a bit first

The finished Hussy belt



Complete the Look:   To carry out one's seduction, captive or otherwise, you're going to need some supplies.  Portage of same in style is essential.  A Mark Cross Ladies' Case foots the bill nicely.  A choker of pearls, of course.  That lovely bit of wrist whimsy known as the Charm Bracelet.  And a little secret potion of your choice to grease the gears of your charms. . .
So make this dress and be your own Haltertop Hussy

SavageCoco Patterns©