July 12, 2012

the story of the $2 skirt

I found a cute little piece of plaid rayon challis in the clearance bin recently, and scooped it up thinking it would make a cute skirt someday. The bolt was marked $5/yd, and there was just over a yard left, so I bought it all. Then, when I got to the register, it actually rang up at just $1/yd, which officially makes this the deal of the month. I do love a bargain! So I brought it home and stuffed it in a drawer with the rest of my fabric stash that I don't have a real plan for, but the fabric was too cheap to pass up (which is, like, all of it). And then we watched Hoarding: Buried Alive. Seriously, do NOT watch this show if you have any tendency to keep things. I was anxious the whole time, and had an actual physical, visceral reaction to seeing all the mounds of crap in those homes. It took everything I had the next day to stop myself from pulling all nonessential things out of our house and trashing it all. I decided it was a good opportunity to channel some of that energy, and turned to my fabric to start busting through it. And with that, the $2 skirt was born.

I knew I wanted to take advantage of the plaid and make a bias cut skirt from my challis. The angles seemed more flattering when I held it up to myself in the mirror than when the plaid was running straight across my width. I have a simple bias cut skirt from Old Navy that I thought about copying, but I poked through my patterns to see if there was anything inspiring in there first. I found Simplicity 2059, a lisette pattern by Liesl Gibson.

I like the details: the skirt has two panels front and back, so I could make my plaid into a chevron shape, and the seam is off-center, so it's just a little more interesting. Turns out it was impossible to match the plaid all the way down the chevron (or at least that's what I'm telling myself) so I just focused on the white line, as that's what pops out at you. From far away, I don't think the mismatch is noticeable.

With just four seams and two darts, this skirt is super easy to make. I considered adding a lining, or drafting facings to use instead of the twill tape waistband that it calls for, or adding a separate, actual waistband to it; but in the end, I just made it up as designed. I mean, it's a twill tape waistband after all, and I do love me some twill tape.

Simple serged seams, no fancy business inside this $2 skirt. I couldn't resist adding a purple zip though. None of my brown ones were quite the right shade, so I decided to go with the lovely lavender instead.

The first photo above is how I'm wearing the skirt today. It's a little bit overcast and drizzly (welcome to July in Seattle), so I tried a light sweater with it. I like it, but I definitely had a more breezy and summery look like the one below in mind when I made it. It's a little counterintuitive, I suppose, with the brown and muted fall-ish colors, but the fabric is so light and airy, it really feels like summer to me.

Since it's cut on the bias, I did let it hang overnight before I hemmed it, to let the bias stretch and do its thing. But then I guess I made a mistake. I catch-stitched a 1 1/4" deep hem all around, after I finished the edges with my serger. I measured up from the bottom to fold up my hem, and it's longer in the front than in the back. This totally makes sense, I realize (now), as the pattern pieces are the same, and there's not a straight shot down in the back like there is in the front (hello, butt!). I don't think it's that noticeable, and the picture below doesn't really capture it like I thought it would. I know there are contraptions made to mark your hem while you're wearing your skirt, but I don't have one. I've always just kind of winged it.

Do you account for the difference your butt makes when you hem your skirts? Or is that typically built into the pattern piece if there's a front skirt and a back skirt piece, and not two of the same? How do you use those things that mark your hem? There's a hem marker on Milly, but I've never used it and don't know how. Perhaps I'll look into it.

Next up: Thurlow shorts! In pink! I've never made shorts (or pants). This could be interesting!

Also, there's still time to enter to win the snazzy pink lunch bag. The giveaway ends Friday!