Thursday, January 21, 2010
I recently found this fabulous tutorial through Wardrobe Refashion and sort of became obsessed with it. I love it in the plaid she shows, and so I dug into my stash and found the perfect red tartan from The Carol Collection.
The original tutorial is a rectangle with a wing for the ruffle, but I wanted a little more shape for my more pear-shaped figure and decided I should start with a pencil skirt. I went through my Burdas and found BWOF 12-2007-123 (it was still BWOF then). This skirt gets little play in the magazine as it's part of a tunic/skirt ensemble and the skirt is obscured to the hip by the tunic, so it's hard to tell where the waistband hits and what the fit is like. However, it had the shape I was looking for and was designed for a narrow waistband, so I traced it out.
Burda intended the skirt to be cut on the bias, but indicates that the lining should be cut on grain. Because bias stretches, I was concerned that the skirt might be cut too close in my normal size (36 at waist, 38 at hips). I decided that because the lining would be on grain I should not go up a size. In the end, I think I should have sized up as the waist is a smidge, ahem, fitted but it is fine.
The Burda skirt pattern is designed with the front and back cut each a single piece, which makes sense for bias plaid matching purposes. However, for not-having-a-flat-butt purposes, I changed the center back fold to a center back seam and curved the seam above the hip. I cut out the back left as is, and then cut out the right left with the ruffle wing. However, you can see in the photo that I was not thinking clearly and cut the ruffle wing coming out of center back (where you can see my curved seam) rather than side back. Wow, that was dumb. I considered trying to trim the seam so it would match the shape of the side rather than the back, but luckily, I had enough fabric to recut the piece, which is much nicer.
Coincidentally, the Selfish Seamstress alerted me to her plaid matching cutting technique shortly after I had cut out this skirt using that exact technique, which is to cut a single layer of a pattern piece, and then turn it over so the fabric is on the outside and line up the plaids (she has a photo on the linked post). My only quibble would be that she has laid out her pieces identically on both the vertical and horizontal axes. My method is to line up the horizontal axes, but to try to set up the vertical axes so that they are offset by one square (along the stitching line, not the seam allowance line). That way, the plaid is uninterrupted across the seam. I am inordinately pleased at how well I did this at Center Back. You can see my button waistband and the little tab of the invisible zipper so you know there's a seam there, but it really doesn't show at all! Proud, I tell you.
The plaid technique I will share with you comes in the sewing portion. I am very generous with pins when sewing plaids, using them about every 2-3 inches. I match up the layers at a prominent marking (here you can see I used the thin lines) and pin at the stitching line--NOT the seam allowance. When you sew, unless you're using a walking foot (which I don't have, as Bernina feet are dang expensive), your feed dogs will ease your lower layer a teeny bit so there is a slight mismatch at the end. Normally, I'm not exercised about this, but for plaids that slippage will create badness! So I just sew right over the pins. It works a charm.
Although the end result is fancy, this skirt is really easy. Just sew your left side seam and center back seams as per usual, inserting zipper at center back (or if you do not need a CB seam, insert the zip at the left side seam). I cut out a lining as for a pencil skirt, not lining the wing ruffle. I assembled the lining and the sewed it right sides together with the skirt at the right front opening (the side the ruffle wraps over). I did my normal invisible zip/lining insertion (which I have apparently never documented), and just lined up the top raw edges of the lining and the the skirt.
Next, you swoop the ruffle up and arrange to your satisfaction. I chose fairly deep pleats, as gathers would not have worked in my wool fabric. I decided not to have the ruffle swoop all the way to the opposite side seam, although now I think that would have looked a little better. I stitched the pleats in place above the seam line for the waistband. Then I sewed the waistband along the inside, catching in the lining, then folded over and topstitched on the outside. I cut the waistband on the bias for visual interest; it doesn't have anything to do with function.
The tutorial refers to this skirt as having a Vivienne Westwood aesthetic--which is what brought this classic red tartan to mind. The side view is not conventional for a skirt; some might dislike the way there is a little pouchiness over the back hip as the ruffle starts to swoop in or the length differential at the wrapover side. I like the overall look and aesthetic of the skirt, however. As my fabric is lightweight and loosely woven, to finish the edges, I did a narrow zizag 3/8 inch from the edge and the pulled out the threads to fray, which adds to the avant-garde-crossed-with-a-kilt kind of look.
This was an extremely satisfying and fairly quick and easy project, which I really needed! I have not been doing a great job lately choosing the best fabric and patterns and I really needed a success.
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.
Thank you for all the comments on the Vogue 8597 Headmistress in Space Cowl Neck Top! I never wear orange because I assume it looks horrid on me. I was surprised so many people like the color! I like orange a lot, I just fear that it washes me out or whatever. I will look for more of it!
Your comments are also why I had resolved to give the pattern away. I know that eventually I would start thinking, "It was probably just my fabric choice. I could easily modify the pattern to fix it. Maybe I like the Headmistress in Space look" and then I'd make it again and hate it again and have nobody to blame but myself! I need it out of my sewing room to forestall future sorrow. Using the random number generator, the winner is Spottedroo.
I interpreted your comment of
Is it wrong that I really liked this top when I saw the picture? Maybe I am a space-headmistress in my heart of hearts. I do love the orange sherbet color. I agree that there is something weird with recent Vogue top drafts. I made 8616 and it has a similar problem with wrinkles above the bust."
to indicate an interest in the pattern. Email me at t r e n a [dot] b at g m a i l (taking out the spaces and replacing the bracketed word with appropriate punctuation) to claim your prize (or let me know I interpreted wrongly)!
Voting is on for the PR Refashion challenge. I entered my colorblock sweaterdress. There was a lot of creativity going on in the contest so check out the gallery and cast your vote!