Originally published June 2010
Preview of skirt 2010-06-142 with vest 2010-06-103/4:
The skirt is simple and simply beautiful. 2 pattern pieces not counting the waistband. Generally I ignore pattern waistbands because I need something that accommodates my fluctuating waist. For the skirt I cut a size 46. The famous, perfect-fitting shorts were cut size 42. I added at least 4 total inches of ease to a trouser draft (trousers are drafted loose fitting). Maybe I’m reading the Burda size charts incorrectly. I chose by hip size. A 42 should have given me wiggle room. It was the size larger than my hips. The previous size would have been smaller. Still I needed 4 more inches of ease for the shorts to achieve their perfect fit Now maybe the problem is that my tummy is larger than my hips by a good generous inch and a half. Or maybe the Burda chart is the finished garment size. Whatever, I knew that
- Sizing tends to stay true from garment to garment within the same company
- I wanted my skirt to skim my tummy– absolutely no cupping
- Size 42 didn’t work for either hips or tummy in the shorts.
So I went with the size 46 where the hip measurement equaled my tummy measurement. Now I won’t always follow this reasoning. Most of Burda Style patterns go up to a size 42. A few more go up to size 44. But 46’s are rare, often only occurring during Plus Updates. I want the style variations that Burda offers most often in size 42. I actually would like to create good basic patterns in my size and then morph the variations onto my basic patterns. Trouble is my size keeps changing. I keep needing to trace and create new basic patterns. But that’s another story.
Although it is 2 pieces, one back is cut on the fold and then 2 fronts are cut. Standard wrap skirt procedure. I used my favorite waistband and added 14″ to the center front marks so I would have ties. Then I looked carefully at the gauze fabric and wondered about underlining/lining. I envision wearing this skirt at the beach over swim wear. But I can also see myself removing wet swim wear or just needing a quick dry, somewhat warmer bottom to wear. The overlapping fronts would probably conceal everything upfront. But the rear view could be, shocking. So I start looking for an underlining/lining. Now a word about my sheer genius.
OK maybe it is dumb luck that just worked out extremely well. I’ve been reorganizing my stash ever since we moved here. I have two 8′ tall metal shelf sets that have 6 shelves in each set and each shelf is 4 foot wide and 18 inches deep. ( I spelled that out so there would be no mistake). These are large shelves, capable of supporting a lot of weight and a lot of fabric. Currently my fabric is folded into mini-bolts that are 18″ wide and then rolled around a 4.5″ cardboard template. Depending upon yardage some of these mini-bolts end up 6″ wide and 4″ high when laid down flat in stacks. For years, I arranged my fabrics by color. They are beautiful in that arrangement. Absolute eye-candy and a delight to behold. At one point, I rolled instead of creating the mini-bolts. I thought that would be more space efficient and the “rolls” would drop into vacated spaces. Strangely that does happen. If I remove a roll, a hole remains. The mini-bolts, stacked flat is the easiest to keep neatly and compactly arranged. Although the rolls do at first conserve the most space, they end up being the most time-intensive to keep in that minimal space. But what was really curious is that I started arranging by use instead of by color. I think it started when I was Christmas sewing and pulling out all “suitable” reds, greens, and Christmas Themed fabrics. Arranging by “use” is not a new concept to me. I keep directions for the electronics next to the electronics. I keep embroidery threads with embroidery threads and serger threads with serger threads. I arrange by use as much as possible even putting the tools most likely to be needed at the stove in the drawer closest to the stove and always install small shelves for the spices above the stove. They are never buried in a cabinet! But fabrics have been arranged by color for so long I don’t remember never arranging them in that fashion. But after picking out the “Christmas Fabrics”, THE SHELVES needed to be rearranged. I decided to put the pants fabrics together with pants/bottom weight fabrics; knits with knits, sheers with sheers etc. Somewhere in the process I started pulling cuts that were less than 2 yards and stacking them to one side. My arrangement has continued to be refined so that I now have the stretch bottom weights separate from the non-stretch and the less than 2 yards are now in 3 stacks
- Less than Yard
- One yard
- One and half yards to just under 2 yards
I’ve really been using up the smaller cuts, since I’ve made this arrangement of the small pieces. It’s amazing. It’s genius. It’s very freeing. I make it a point to look in the small cuts first whenever I know I need a small amount. I still create smaller cuts. I am creating fewer small cuts. They seem to go on the stacks and then be used or at least the small cut stacks never seem to grow significantly. I used to look in my stacks for a small amount, find the perfect fabric and then waffle. “Should I use this and then have a left over? Should I use something else? Don’t I have a small cut in here someplace?….” You get the idea. I can waste a lot of time trying to decide which piece to use thereby making it smaller and possibly unusable for a later project. No more! Just hear Pres Obama thundering out “NO MORE” I look first at the small cuts and I usually find something suitable. I have no hesitation to use it. After all, it was left over from something else. I may create a smaller cut. I have moved cuts from 1.5 yards to the less than a yard. I’ve also “robbed” all 3 stacks to complete quilts. It feels like simple GENIUS. I’ve found a fabulous solution to the endless small amounts of fabric. Because they are readily found, I use them.
Back to the skirt. I looked in the small cuts and found a light weight poly/cotton linen look in just over a yard cut. That was enough for the back and one front. Perfect. That left one front, the overlap, still in the light, floating, gauzy look that I wanted. I treated it as an underlining; cutting out one front and one back, assembling with corresponding fashion fabric piece and then handling as a single piece. Have to tell you that not only did that solve the revealing possibility that single-layer gauze would have created, but also gave the skirt an incredible drape. Really, I think it went from RTW to Couture with just the underlining.
I serged fronts to back, but basted the waistband in place and then checked the fit. The underlapping front hung below the overlapping front. I played with it and decided the underlining must be affecting it somehow. Since the hem was already stitched and topstitched, I ripped the basted waistband and removed a wedge from the top of the underlaped skirt. The skirt secures with a hidden button on the waistband and the two ties. I added pony beads to the ties. Because I have them and I thought they looked neat. The buttonhole goes on the skirt underlap on the free side. The button then goes on the overlapping skirt, on the waistband but on the inside of the skirt. With my waistband issues, I was pleased because I could see immediately I would be able to adjust the waistband easily. For starters, I placed the button so I would have exactly my waist measurement – no ease- in the waistband.
Then I waited for warm weather. It is officially summer. We’ve often had summer weather long before the middle of June. But here I was waiting for temperatures in the 60’s so I could wear my summer skirt. As mentioned before, I do wear skirts in the winter, but I wear them with tights and slips and they may be lined/underlined too. Finally I quit waiting for warm weather and just wore the d@$! thing. I took pictures immediately, that’s what I’m sharing today, because I wasn’t sure how long I would be able to walk about with all the air circulation taking place in 50 degree temperatures. Even in the house it was about 60. (DH shuts heat off early. If I didn’t threaten mayhem we’d have no heat after January 31st.) Anyway, after about 30 minutes I decided the skirt was going to cut me in half. But it was a quick fix to move the button over and give me 1/2 inch breathing room. That worked for about 3 hours. I moved about did what I needed too. Showed off my skirt. DH loved the set . (Bless him even if he does have a thing about heat). But in about 3 hours,I knew I needed just a little more ease. Once again a 5 minute job to move the button over another half inch giving me a full but scant 1 inch of ease. This worked perfectly. I can honestly recommend the skirt to anyone. It was simple to sew. Maybe it was my fabric and lining choices, but it is elegant. I wouldn’t take it to a black tie affair, but I don’t go to those things anyway. I’m content with a little elegance at home and at the beach. Next time, and there will be a next time, I will allow the 1″ ease at the waistband to start with and just add clear elastic during the construction. One note, because this is always asked of wrap skirts and it is a fair question; if I were wearing this to work, I would want one additional button or fastener down about 9-12 inches from the waist inline with the existing button/buttonhole. For the most part the skirt stays wrapped and unrevealing. But during sitting, I spread and of course it spread.
However I want to go back to the vest now while showing the back of the skirt. Back of skirt is elegant. But back of vest is:
Not flattering. First off it dips and needs a little additional fitting to snug the back. This might be easily accomplished, but it also clearly delineates and even broadens my back and hip. I prefer something that slims me, which all my other vests do. I have a second version of this vest cut. I may finish and donate it. I will take pictures first because I will not be using a contrasting binding. But I really feel the style line is just not flattering for me. I love this vest. It would work well under a jacket, but I wanted a summer vest. Something with less fabric, that could be worn over a tank top to carry my toys. Because it’s unflattering, I probably won’t wear it or at least not often.
I love the set as a whole, especially from the front. This may become my new avatar: