Monday, April 8, 2013

Serendipity Skirt

That's reason enough to twirl about in a fab circle skirt!
Do leave a "Merci Madame" in Comments below with your city (just for fun).  Enjoy!
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. 

Tutorial Sample in Muslin
Size Medium, 30" waist, 30" hem length.

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.  This pattern is a DRAFT Work-In-Progress, size Medium on a 5'4" model, 30" waist. Skirt hem length is based upon your desired finished length but the pattern was drafted at a 30" finished hem length from the natural waist. 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