Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One Yard Project: Dirndl Skirt

Dirndl Skirt Thumbnail

I have a love/hate relationship with Pattern Review contests.  It's fun to sew along and have encouragement, and it's also nice to have outside forces determine your next project rather than making the agonizing decision myself.  On the other hand, I have a big list of projects that I really do want to make and only about half my contest entries actually come from that list.  So I deviate from things that are high on my sewing list to make things that don't appear at all, simply to fit within the contest parameters.  Despite all this, the contest often wins out.  I guess I like the company.

The One Yard Project contest is a new one (it ended yesterday; I finished the skirt and pattern review on time but had to finish up the photos*), and it's a clever idea:  You have to find a use for those short lengths in stash.  They did allow you to cut off one yard from a longer length and use it, but I think the better challenge is in using an orphan piece.

*Although the contest closed early, before midnight, and I wasn't actually able to enter it.  Entered, yay!

This polyester chiffon (or maybe it would be georgette) came from the swap table at PR Weekend Montreal.  It has many of my colors in it--turquoise, olive green--but somehow isn't *quite* right for me, perhaps because the overall effect is more muddy/muted than clear/bright.  The piece was 34 inches long (for my metric readers, a yard is 36 inches).

It had a small burn hole in it (like the edge of an iron--no missing fabric), which I fixed with interfacing and zigzagging.  The trickiest part is lining up the cut edges and pressing the interfacing on to keep them together.  Sometimes it's easier to put a piece of interfacing, glue side up, on the ironing board, then place the skirt right side up over the patch.  Line up the edges and then press.

Once the hole is interfaced, just run a close zigzag stitch over it (from the right side, so you can see the hole).  If your thread matches, the fix is nearly invisible.

I've gone back and forth about this fabric way too many times in the two years I've owned it.  It would make a nice flowy top, but the overall color effect isn't great near my face.  I almost made it into a skirt for my bike wardrobe for The Netherlands, but balked.  Because of fabric limitations, I either had to have the print running vertically (as I finally ended up doing) or add a contrast waistband if I wanted the print to run horizontal.  Stripes are big right now, but they are pretty much all horizontal, so vertical stripes might look dated.  But a contrast waistband limits the tops that can be worn with a project.  Dilemma.

The One Yard Contest made me finally just make a decision.  I decided to go for vertical stripes, throwing outdated caution to the wind.

So that I didn't spend too much time on unplanned sewing (and didn't have to deal with the waistband situation), I decided to do a gathered elastic waist.  Of course, I had to make it complicated and it probably would have been easier in the end just to do a waist facing and zipper!

Create Double Elastic

On the PR trip to Montreal, I found some olive green picot elastic that happens to be a good match for the skirt.  However, I feared that the picot elastic alone would not be strong enough to hold up the fashion fabric and lining (lining does not count against your one yard allotment, under the terms of the contest).  So I stitched it to some sport elastic.

Stitch Lining to Waistband

I was hoping to just stretch the elastic to fit the fabric, but the width of the fabric greatly exceeded the elastic's stretch so I gathered the skirt and the lining.  I first sewed the wrong side of the lining--so that the right side would end up facing outward--to the elastic with a wide zigzag stitch (to allow for stretch).  I positioned it so the left "bite" of the zigzag was close to the decorative picot edge of the green elastic, meaning that picot edge would stick up over the waistband.

Stitch Fashion Fabric to Waistband

Next I gathered the upper edge of the fashion fabric and positioned it in place right side against the elastic, sandwiching the waistband.  I stitched from the lining side so I could use my previous stitching as a guide, again using a wide zigzag for stretch.

Finished Waist

I flipped the fabric to the right side and there was my little picot edge!  I pressed the fabrics down, but finding them still very bulky I topstitched with a twin needle to preserve stretch.  However, the twin needle stitching does not have as much stretch as a zigzag and I have to pull the skirt on over my head instead of from the floor over my hips.  The topstitching negates all the work I did to sandwich the picot and I could have just gathered the fashion fabric and lining together, but c'est la vie!  I knew this would be a quick and dirty project.

Serger Rolled Hem

The lower edge of the skirt is finished with a serger rolled hem to keep it as light as possible, and also because it's easy!

I sewed in a button to mark center back.

Pink Top-Front
Red Top-In Motion

While an elastic waist dirndl is not the most flattering thing ever, this skirt can theoretically be worn with a tucked in top to show off the elastic.  The elastic can also be covered with a belt, or a top can be worn over it.

I'm not totally in love with this skirt, but it is useful, bikeable, and will work just about year-round, depending on how it's styled.  It matches a lot of the solid-colored tops I have in my closet.  It also has a nice flow, as you can see at right.

I wore it yesterday and it is comfortable and breezy for a humid Spring day in DC, but the slippery rayon lining means I can wear it with tights and boots for winter.

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.


I sat out the "best of" contest, even though I eventually want to make another Simplicity 2369  mock wrap dress, which made the list.  I had to draw the line somewhere!

Do you enjoy contests, or do they interrupt your "real life" too much?


Miriana said...

I like the 'for my metric readers, a yard is 36 inches' bit. You know that a yard isn't metric either!

ana5059 said...

I like the skirt! the vertical print and the colours can be used in winter or in summer. Changing the tops you can make very different outfits. God job!!!

Nancy K said...

It's cute. I do like it better with the red top tucked in with that tiny waist of yours!

Far said...

I like the one with the red top too! :)

Clio said...

What a fun skirt! Too bad you couldn't enter the contest in the end.

I've never done a contest, because I just can't sew on a deadline(sigh) and I just have too many big plans in my head for other projects. But I do like sew-alongs if they fit in with what I've got planned or if I need a pallet-cleanser in between big projects.

T. Sedai said...

Cute! I like the skirt. Also love the tip about patching a hole and sewing a button to mark the back - I will have to try that next time.

As for the contests, they aren't something I always enter, but if it matches up with a project I am sewing I will enter (this happened once so far). Sometimes I plan to enter them, but get distracted by other fabric in my stash. So I don't see the contests as something I strive for, but I do keep track of what is going on in case I find myself wanting to enter them.

Sophie Miriam said...

I don't do contests because I can't sew that well! But I think the skirt is adorable, and quite flattering. I don't think the stripes look dated; perhaps it's because they're zigzags rather than "regular" stripes?

Claire S. said...

Really, really cute skirt ! I've entered a couple SWAPs / Contests / Sewalongs but just never seem to make much progress in them.

Beth (SunnyGal Studio) said...

Cute skirt, and I like the contests. In fact I can't help thinking about making something for each one, even though I have plenty of other stuff I should be doing.

Sew-4-Fun said...

Cute skirt. Great use of a yard of fabric and I really like it with the obi belt. For me contest get in the way of my real life which is why I don't enter nor participate.

Meg @ Mood Fabrics said...

Super cute skirt, Trena!

Mrs. Micawber said...

Great fix, especially for that slightly crinkly fabric!

I like the vertical run - you get the trendy Missoni look but with a difference that will outlast the trend.

The last time I made an elastic-waist dirndl skirt I put in some some stitched-down pleats first to take up some of the excess waist fabric - it worked pretty well.

aleah said...

Ha, I just wrote the same thing about the PR contests in my post for my Best of Patterns entry! I love the contests because I work best when I have a concrete deadline, but they definitely do distract me from the things I really should be sewing. It's best when a contest lines up with something I needed to make anyway, of course, but how often does that happen?
Cute skirt anyway, and at least now the fabric is in your wardrobe rather than languishing in stash!

Venus de Hilo said...

Cute skirt: I really like the stripes in their vertical orientation. Looks comfy and fun to wear (always an unbeatable combination!).

velosewer said...

I'm easily influenced by the contest but I'm fairly deadline driven. I enjoy the challenge to so it works on lots of levels for me.
You've chosen the right way to make this knit work for you. Missoni knits need attention to detail and you've achieved this.

zig zag skirt said...

no probs dear.. you have really worked hard on this skirt.. we all loved it... nice work
and best of luck :)

Lady D said...

Ah, yes the distraction of sewing contests....I will try to shoehorn projects I plan to do into fitting the criteria or do something very small and quick.
The skirt looks great.
I have a love hate relationship with elastic waists. They look horrible on me but are so easy to do quickly.

emadethis said...

I do really like this skirt with the red top. I love these Missoni style prints, but I think it's hard to find patterns for them--I like the idea of placing the pattern vertically.

I love contests, and I work really hard on them. I think they pull the best parts of my creativity out of me, and talking about them with others and seeing what they come up with is part of the fun. I try to space out my time so that I don't stress myself out trying to take on too much. More than once I've neglected myself and my family for a contest...I'm learning to find a balance now.

Schmoomom said...

I really love the skirt and I think the vertical stripe suits the fabric and the style of the skirt really well.

Uta said...

I love it with the red top, it has a bit of a dance silhouette (incidentally, it was my ballet costume lady who taught me the right way to put on any costume is over the head - who knew?). I can never keep up with contests, I've even passed up Me-Made-May this year.

kathy said...

I agree with the majority of commenters. My day job & my health issues often interfere with my take on reality, making contests difficult to plan out.
However, if something I've sewn in the recent past fits the parameters, then I am entering very fast.
I did a couple of projects with the Zakka Style sewalong but got derailed when my day job upped my hours and my library book copy needed to go back.
What was nice about that sewalong was that many of the projects were faster to sew than picking out your combination of fabrics.
I like your use of the (less than) one-yard from your stash.

Joy said...

I really like your "garment-styled-different ways" features. IMO the dirndl style emphasizes your small waist and the colors/print make for a fun unique skirt.

I always have trouble prioritizing between contests and what I want to sew, too. Plus other things I should do like sew down the stash and use my unused patterns. And basics vs. fun stuff. Sigh.

Cassie said...

As a metric reader 36 inches - or yards! - doesn't clear things up :)

However 36 inches is approx 90cm so 1 yard is 0.9 metres.

Thank you for thinking of us anyway :)