Wednesday, May 30, 2012

VPLL 1912 Skirt 0162 - L

E0162_SKIRTMy next pattern for the 1912 project will be this skirt.  I like the braid design in the front and the buttons.  This skirt is designed to be VERY high waisted.  The pattern has a 25 inch waist that very quickly spreads to about 32 inches.  Needless to say, those numbers don't match ME.  So time for more pattern alterations.  I took my measurements at waist and abdomen.  I need to add...O.K.  I just can't post it.  The number are just too awful.  I need to add a lot.  The skirt doesn't HAVE side seams. So I can't just add to the side seams.  Instead, there is a center panel with the closure on the left front side.  Then there is a back panel also cut on the fold with pleats added on the lower half.  Finally, there are side panels with darts at the hip.  So what to do.....

The center front panel is 10 inches.  I'm leaving that alone.

The center back panel is small.  I'm going to cut that on the selvedge rather than the fold, and added a center back seam.  I can add to the waist there AND I can make a zipper closure.  I may just want to make this skirt mid calf and wear it to work, or out and about and I don't want to deal with the hook and eye front closure.  So I add about 1/3 of what I need in total at the center back.  (I add half that distance to the center back seam plus a seam allowance.  For instance, if I'm added two inches to the back, I will add 1 inch to the center back plus a 3/8 inch seam allowance.  The other nice thing about adding a seam here is that if I need to take it in a little, this will be a good spot to do it.

Side Patten Piece with Alterations
I'm adding the rest to the side panels.  But wait, I can't just add anywhere.  There are darts designed to provide a curve at the hip.  If I add randomly, then I'll have a hip curve in the wrong place, and no curve where it's needed.  ALSO, the hem circumference seems to be about 72 inches,  and I don't want it any fuller than that.  So here's what I do...   Let's just say I need to add 4 more inches.  I divide in half since I'm adding equally to each side.  Now each side panel needs 2 inches of width added at the top (but not all the way down to the hem), and I don't want to change the position of the dart.  I slash the pattern on either side of the dart, cutting down nearly to the hem. The I spread the slashes 1 inch each and tape them in place.  Now, when I cut my two side panels, they will each be two inches bigger, but the dart will be in the same place (relative to the whole pattern) and the hem will not be fuller.

I cut a muslin and sewed it together following the pattern instructions.  Easy!  And I like the look of the top stitching.  The muslin ended up being a little too big but I pinned that out of the center back seam.

Next I need to figure out how I want to make the decorative panels in the front.  I'm considering embroidery or stitching black soutache to a black satin ribbon in a pattern similar to the one that came with the skirt pattern.  I bought some black polyester gabardine for the final version.  Yeah, I pretty much hate polyester, but the price was quite compelling.  Especially on sale.

Braid Design for Front of Skirt:
I needed a way to get the design marked on the black ribbon.  I tried white carbon paper.  Rubs off too easily.  I considered frixon pen, but I still had no way to transfer the design without free-handing it.
I ended up making photocopies of the design and taping them together in a long strip.  (I made two strips, one for each side).  Then I sewed the strips to the ribbon following the center curve.  I'm sewing the soutache to the ribbon using the pattern on the paper and I will take the paper off when I'm done.  VERY carefully.  The design on the pattern isn't an exact repeat (so I did my best to make it match on the ribbon).  The soutache had to be hand sewn since I'm not good enough to do those tight curves on machine.  It took FOREVER.

Skirt Construction

Once the decorative ribbon was done, I could sew up the skirt.
There are lots of options for waist finishing.  I decided to fold over about an inch and a half at the top and  support it with  twill tape.  This needs to be determined before you do anything else since it may change how the darts are sewn (and in my case, where to start the zipper).

Pressing - There is a lot of this needed before sewing starts:

Fold and press seam allowances on center front front, clipping as needed.
Fold and press seam allowance on sides of center back down to beginning of the pleat.
Fold pleats on center back per pattern marking and press into place.

1-  Sew up center back to base of zipper, install zipper - I left 1.5 inches at the top for waist fold AND I also added a tab for a button at the top.  Hook and eye is a valid option, but I wanted to try the tab.

3-  With sides and backs right side together, match the pleat seams and sew.  Sew across the top of the pleat as much as possible.  Clip as needed. (no picture)

4-  Pin the top of the center back sides over the side panels.  Clip and ease as needed.  Top stitch very close to the fold.  Top stitch again 1/4 inch in from the first seam.  Remember directionality!  To get smooth parallel lines run both seams the same direction (start both at the top).  
(zipper, tab, top stitched seams shown in photo)

5-  Sew hip dart.  Remember to account for the fold over waistband when sewing the top of the dart.  The top 1.5 inches of the dart should mirror the NEXT 1.5 inches.  That way the waistband folds over smoothly. Alternately, start the dart AT the location of the finished waistband.  The dart markings on the pattern are intended to start at the finished waist.

6-  Pin the center front over the top of the side panels.  Pin the ribbon under the center front at the top of the narrow section.  Top stitch the center front in place.

7-  Top stitch ribbon on place.  (I did this last to make sure that the ribbon was flush against the top stitching).

twill tape basted in place, ready to fold raw edge
8- Fold over waist band and press.  Pin twill tape and sew raw edge at top over twill tape band.  Then fold over again and top stitch the waist.

insde of waist - folded over & stitched

9-  Add decorative buttons per the accompanying picture and hem.  (photo shows top stitching in front, a hint of the waist top stitching, plus my fancy plastic buttons!)

And I'm done!  I love it.  I will actually wear this.  The seam-less sides drape really nicely.  Very flattering.  I also highly recommend the zipper.  Without a corset, it would be nearly impossible to get a side front closure to lay nicely.  In fact, I will wear this with my Spring Mantle to tea!  I wish I could get better pictures.  Black on black is a &^%$# to photograph.

Pattern review:

VPLL Checklist
1.         Pattern Name - Skirt 0162
2.        Sewer’s Skill Level: Advance, Intermediate, Beginner - I feel like I've improved to intermediate
3.        Pattern Rating: 1-Not a Fan, 2 – So-So, 3 – Good/Average, 4-Better than Average, 5-I LOVED IT! and why?
        5 - I loved it.  There are any number of ways to style this simple skirt to make it perfect for any person and any occasion.  I loved the chance to play with the soutache trim, and the rest of the pattern is fairly simple
4.        What skill level would someone need to sew this pattern and why? - I think this is intermediate, only because the braid design is challenging, and without a waistband the finishing requires a deft touch.  I didn't do the side front closure, but that is definitely NOT beginner work. The bulk of the sewing is fairly simple, but it requires precision, confidence and experience to do it right.
5.        Were the instructions easy to follow? If not, what needs to be changed?  Instructions were easy.  I chose not to follow them.  I think adding a zipper, or the option of a zipper would really be helpful.  The front closure is likely to pull apart unless the wearing is corseted.  I listed the steps I took for construction, along with details on my braid.
6.        How was the fit/sizing?  Did it correspond to what you thought?  Exactly as expected/shown.
7.        Did you make any pattern alterations? If so, what alterations did you make? Where they fit or design alterations?   I made both.  I needed to make it larger, and I didn't want to increase the width at the hem.  Detailed in post.  I chose to put the braid design on a ribbon and attach it after top stitching.  And I changed the closure to a center back zipper with a button tab closure at the top.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Oh. Lighten up, girl. The hard work you are doing is wonderful, I looked at your site, but what's going on here is fun and interactive, and not likely to cut into your (quite esoteric) market, but rather develop it, in tandem with your own efforts. Don't you know why all the restaurants are on the same stretch of highway in every town? Because they magnify the force each for the other. I myself am not interested in historic costumes, just skating by here as I browse about CAD programs used in sewing. (PatternMaker, for instance.)

    Sharon in Champaign

  3. Thanks Sharon! I actually took down Patricia's quote. After reading it a second time, I decided that it was too much a commercial for her site, along with misrepresenting the nature of the VPLL 1912 project. You are absolutely correct that it's a niche market and every new entrant expands the potential. After all, this is, primarily, a hobby for most all the customers.