Scratch Circle Skirt

JARGON WARNING: This might get technical…

MISTAKE WARNING: I made a bunch…

Alright, so it’s been a while. Not because I haven’t been doing much, but because I’ve been doing sooo much. I’ve got a huge backlog of projects to write about and show you, I just have to find a minute to really get them organized.

One of the projects I completed (it feels so good to say that) this last month was a circle skirt which I created entirely from scratch (and by this I mean I designed, patterned, sewed, and dyed it myself). I’ve had this huge bolt of fabric of unknown origins lying around for a few years now. It’s sort of a heavy, white brocade and looks like it may have been intended for a wedding dress, but I’ve used it on curtains and stuff before. I wanted to make a big skirt and it was the only thing I had while I was visiting home that was big enough for my goal. So selection by default for the win!

1) DESIGN:

Like I said, the first step was to design the garment. I wanted to do a semi-circle skirt with many panels so that I could make it nice and long (creating a circle skirt with less panels usually ends up as a very short skirt) and I wanted it to have a high waistband. Now, this drawing is the actual sketch that I used to conceptualize the skirt, but honestly I can’t even remember what exactly was going on here because I was being a complete idiot.

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As you may eventually realize, this sketch has none of the features of the final piece and that is because I kept trying to make math and physics conform to my desires… Long story short: I was trying to make a half circle skirt out of a full circle skirt without adjusting the curvature of the waistband and I only realized my mistake after drafting the pattern, so then I had to change it back into a full circle skirt but with more panels so that I could fit it all into the fabric I had… yeesh

2) PATTERN:

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This is the pattern draft that I made before I realized the severity of my error — an error that I’ve made many times in my life but never quite solved and have therefore kept coming to the same failed conclusions (but I just completed a project where I managed to SOLVE this problem! Stay tuned in the coming weeks for that!)

Anyway, so there’s that… First stage: success!

3) MAIN SEAMS:

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I cut out the 12 panels and got them all sewn together and luxuriously draped over a chair. Gorgeous.

4) WAISTBAND:

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(Yay, former Christmas tree!)

I cut out a 4″ wide strip to the circumference of my waist, plus a few inches more on one side for the button fastening flap. I ironed interfacing onto one side of it to give it some added strength and stiffness. Then I pressed it in half, lengthwise to cover the interfacing.

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The waistband was sewn to the body of the skirt and the other edge of the band was folded in 1/2″ and pressed.

The zipper comes in about here.

 

5) ZIPPER:

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I used this nifty trick for inserting a zipper. I don’t remember where I oh-so-recently learned it (probably “The Great British Sewing Bee”) or if it is common knowledge, but it has saved my life ever since. Basically, you sew the seam with a basting stitch and press it open,

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then place your zipper face down along the inside seam and pin and baste it along the edges.

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(WARNING: I did this next step wrong because I was once again being stupid and forgot what order the steps come in. Please ignore the fact that the picture shows me having permanently sewn the zipper before removing the basted seam stitches. DO NOT DO THIS. Bad bad bad. Carry on.)

So then you rip open the basted seam on the outside side of the garment, open the zipper, sew the zipper around its perimeter, and remove the extra basting stitches. Complicated as it might sound, it’s honestly such a time (and stress) saver for me because it’s guaranteed to give a really clean, matched edges look every time. (Not this time… because I did it wrong lol)

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Yeah, I had to go back and fix the top edge…

Back to the waistband!

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I pinned the remaining edge to the inside of the skirt and whip-stitched it by hand around the interior of the waistline.

 

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Afterwards, I hand-stitched the edges of the button fastening flap closed

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and added top-stitching around the bottom edge just because.

6) IRONING:

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I proceeded to press the seams on my ironing board. Probably should have done this earlier in the process, really.

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before
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after

Look at the difference! Yay!

(Side note: DO THIS! It has taken me too many years to realize the importance of ironing all of your seams and edges properly. It makes such a difference. There are disastrous projects in my past that I’m now convinced could have been salvaged if I had not been so lazy about this. In fact, there even certain things that will just never work out otherwise — something that I will go into detail on with some of my more recent projects.)

7) EDGE FINISHING:

FIRST: Try it on and check that the hem hangs horizontally to the ground all the way around. If not, you must do something about this — generally in the form of cutting away at the offending fabric. Just, you know, be careful. Don’t get overzealous.

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As you can see here, I made myself some bias binding by cutting 2″ wide fabric strips along the bias grain and attaching them at a perpendicular angle. I made a lot. Not quite sure how much, but that hem is wide.

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I decided to encase the edge evenly on both sides so that the hem would have a little more volume and a noticeable edge. Then I ironed the hem flat.

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And lastly, I sewed the buttonhole and button, dyed it sort of a lilac color (which any sane person would have done first), and here is the finished product! I say this with the greatest surprise, but it fits really well and looks so clean and polished and (albeit simple) is one of the most professional-looking pieces I’ve ever made. So I’m pretty happy with it and ended up basing a more recent piece off of this pattern as well.

But for now, I hope this was helpful and (somewhat) interesting! I’ve got so many exciting projects to share in the future though. I’ll keep you posted!

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