KTFO-2016.11 : Gathered Skirt, take two

FO: Purl Soho Gathered Skirt, take two

Remember that black skirt I sewed last spring that was a bit of a fail? It was Purl Soho’s Gathered Skirt for All Ages pattern, and it was a perfectly cute skirt — I just didn’t like it on me. However, I continue to think it’s an adorable pattern for a little girl, so I offered to make one for my niece. We picked out the fabric when she was here last summer — this sweet cotton double-gauze, don’t know who makes it — and I just finally got around to sewing it up! (Bad aunt. Very bad aunt.)

Of course, there were mods:

– Niece was at camp at the time, but my sister measured the waist of a skirt in her closet which matched the largest of the pattern sizes (“12 years”, 25-inch elastic), but given that I still think it’s too much fabric, I cut the “8 to 9-year” size, with a 30″ waistband, to go with the 25″ elastic from the larger one.

– Still felt like those main panels were alarmingly wide, and remembered I had wanted to lengthen it (oops), so I turned the main panels on their sides, and the original height became the width — a drastic reduction in the measurement there, from 26 wide to 16 wide for each, or a total of 20″ of circumference removed. Then I cut them to about 18″ long.

– Since I wasn’t doing anything contrasty with the pockets, I just cut the side panels as one long piece and folded for the pocket, rather than seaming two pieces together.

– To reinforce the top (folded) edge of the pockets, I pressed a strip of fusible interfacing between the layers, and top-stitched across it.

– I remembered last time, in the end, my elastic didn’t fit into the casing. So this time I cut it 3.5″ wide instead of 3″ — worked out perfectly.

– And I also French seamed everything (and top-stitched it down) so it looks as nice on the inside as the outside.

It’s super cute, although I think I may have slightly overdone it on volume elimination — we’ll see whether she can walk in it! But seeing this one makes me want to try it again in my size, with the volume somewhere between this and the original.


PREVIOUSLY in 2016 FOs: Sleeveless top redux, this time with pockets!

May make No. 1: Gathered Skirt

May make No. 1: the Gathered Skirt

We’re already a third of the way through the month and I’m just now at the first of my four pledged makes for Me Made May. This is the Gathered Skirt for All Ages from the Purl Bee and, as expected, it’s way too voluminous. As I was pondering it and cutting it out, I kept hearing my friend Whitney, who looks killer in skirts like this, urging me to embrace the fullness. After scrutinizing the pattern to grasp the logic of the various proportions and how they come together, and deciding to make it once as written and then assess how to change it for the next time, I just couldn’t do it. I made the second size but cut the main panels (the front and back pieces) to 30″ wide instead of 34″, removing 8 inches of fabric from the total circumference, and still it’s too much fabric for me. But is it cute?

I like it from the front — I adore the side panels and the way the pockets stick out — but when I actually turn to the side, I appear to be at least three times my actual size. I think a puffy skirt like this looks cute on a little girl, but on a woman my age, maybe not so much. Somehow it’s not quite as horrible looking in the photos as it is in my mirror, and I do think I like the fullness in the back, so maybe I’ll leave this one alone and make another. But what I believe I’m going to do is tweak this one thusly: Remove the waistband and pull out the gathering in the front panel only. Once that’s a flat panel again, I’ll fold it in half and sew a seam down it, a few inches in, then cut away all of that excess. Regather the front and reattach the waistband. So it will have a new seam down the center, which I think is fine with the other vertical seams in the skirt, but with several inches less fabric in the front. Although I can’t help wondering if I couldn’t just carve a wedge out of the front instead of going through all of that. I promise to share the makeover if/when it happens.

The fabric is Robert Kaufman Brussels Washer in, uh, blackish that I bought at Fancy Tiger on our way through Denver last summer — a light and drapey linen/rayon blend. I’m ambivalent about the rayon content and really wish it weren’t made in China. (This is the hardest thing about trying to be a conscientious sewer — and I find it’s much harder with fabric than with yarn.) But I had heard raves about it, it was already in my tiny fabric stash, and I figured it might wind up being my muslin for this pattern. I will say, it is lovely to work with and to wear. It shrinks quite a bit in the wash — I think it’s listed as 54″ wide but it was 48″ after washing. Since the skirt is all rectangles, I folded the fabric in half, got out my t-square and rotary cutter, cut the end of the length so it was clean and perpendicular, and then just lined up my cuts. I made one cut at 30″, then trimmed the two ends so I had two pieces 30″ x 23″. The next cut was at 8″ for the side panels, which wound up being 24″ each (i.e., the full width of my fabric, halved) rather than the prescribed 25.5″ — so my finished pockets ended up being 8″ deep instead of 9.5″, which is plenty. (Note that I top-stitched across the pockets to keep the layers from drooping.) Next cut was at 8″ again, trimmed down to 16″ tall for the two pocket panels. Then a last cut at 3″, with the selvages trimmed off, for a waistband piece 3″ x 38.5″ So I got the whole skirt out of 49″ — not quite 1.5 yards — rather than the 2.5 yards the pattern calls for. I also hemmed it to 23″ with a 3/4″ hem, rather than the 2″ wide, 22.5″ hem given in the pattern. Oh, and my waistband wound up being not quite wide enough for the 3/4″ elastic. So I need to either cut a new waistband if I do the mod, or get narrower elastic if I don’t.

Either way, the big trick for me is just learning how to wear a skirt! Especially a full one like this. Being not very girly, I’m aiming for a sort of Margaret Howell-inspired style. Or Amish, as my husband put it. I’m ok with that!

May make No. 1: the Gathered Skirt