Let’s start with the one that actually sort of went according to plan shall we?
Style Shots & Mug Shots
WORN WITH: 3 Zara blouse, Self-drafted detachable-sleeve jacket; 4 Burda 2015-10-109 sweater, Burda 2013-11-117 jacket, Self-drafted hat, Self-drafted mittens; 5 Self-drafted ruched-bust T-shirt, Burda 2013-11-117 jacket;
The Inspiration, Design & Pattern
Inspiration & Design:
So this was supposed to be sewn for SWAP Fall/Winter 2014 . The starting point was the sweater knit. I was feeling rebellious & wanted biker chic…pencil skirt, front slit/vent, asymmetry, exposed zipper…AND reversible. That was the vague idea. The devil was in the details. What exactly did I wanted & how can I make it happen. Here are some of the inspirations I collected…
I ended up with this when I planned the SWAP – a princess line wrap pencil skirt with asymmetric hem. Princess line because to make it reversible with a single layer of fabric, I settled on flatlock seams & overlocked hems. And I then had to ruled out darts because I wasn’t sure they’d look good in my spongy fabric with flatlock seams. Wrap skirt because I ruled out simple side front slit as being too risqué.
When I actually started drafting the pattern this year, I was inspired by the reddish brown Reiss wrap skirt above to omit the princess line on the front overlap piece, and utilise the unsewn dart to exaggerate the asymmetry.
Design Changes Made
- Eliminated CB seam & redistribute the dart allowance to Back Princess Seams & Side Seams.
- Reduced the ease at Back Princess Seams in the Hip area. The knit is puffy already. I might as well take advantage of its stretch property & go for a more streamlined silhouette, especially since I don’t have the booty to do that ease justice.
- Left Front is two-piece with a princess seam: 1 CF piece + 1 Side Front piece. This is the top flap when worn with black side out. As the flap closure will be a simple hook & bar at the waist, the flap edge on CF is extended straight up rather than curve along the waist dart so the flap will hang straight.
- Right Front is one-piece spanning 1 CF piece & 1 Side Front piece. This is the top flap when worn with orange side out. The flap closure on this side is the exposed zipper, which extends down to just below the hip. So the flap edge can incorporate the waist dart curve.
- The hem is raised all around from Left Front flap edge to Right Front side seam, then slopes down to create asymmetric hem in the front.
- To remove the gap in the waist created by the Right Front’s lack of waist dart, I pivoted it clockwise. I’m a bit fuzzy about the logic, but I think the dart wedge is moved to the hem (see the triangle formed by the thin red solid line & dotted line in the left bottom of the last pattern illustration above), but shows up as a slanted gap opening up from zipper bottom downward. Anyway, this pivot exaggerates the asymmetric hem further.
- The OOPS: Originally the waist also had an asymmetric front created by step 7. But after I sewn the skirt up & tried it on, I changed my mind. It just didn’t work because my choice of overlocked waist edge, messy zipper stop finishing, and an initially over-tight petersham waist facing on the black side. The leveled black side waist looked better. So I redesign the waist to have level waistline on both orange & black sides by chopping off the blue bits in the pattern illustrations above.
- Finally, the seam allowances, urgh, the seam allowances. Most were straightforward once I decided on the seaming technique: For the flatlock seams I use 1/8″ seam allowances so that the 1/4″ flatlock stitches is centred on the seamline. The overlocked hems needed no hem allowances. The problem is the exposed zipper. This did my head in. How much to deduct for the width of the exposed zipper – ie where are the seams exactly. Then how much to add back for the seam allowance. How to do this so the transition to the vent looks tidy on the orange size & hides the zipper altogether on the black side. I ended up sticking to the 1/8″ SA for the Left Front princess seam, then moved the seam line on Right Front just over 1/4″ inward (towards CF) giving me this amount for the exposed zipper. I added back this amount for the seam allowance along the zipper, then 1/4″ hem allowance for the overlocked hem edge below the zipper.
Fabric & Notions Used
- Fabric: 2.5 yd Mohair/Acrylic/Nylon Double-sided sweater knit from NY Elegant Fabrics ($59.95/yd)
- Notions: Metal twin-pull reversible slider for no.3 coil zipper (#5055) from Quest Outfitters, & from the Stash…no.3 coil zipper tape, 1″ petersham ribbon, skirt hook & bar, Vilene Bias Tape.
Apart from the general sewing problems I had with this fabric, and the waistline design Oops mentioned above, the only other tricky bit is the zipper princess seam / vent. I wanted the zipper to be hidden on the black side, which means the tape had to be trim down to fit into the 1/4″ flatlock seam. I wasn’t confident I could flatlock this, especially as the overlocker’s foot is a bit wide. So I had to fake the flatlock alongside the zipper by overlocking the fabric pieces separately, then baste the CF + zipper + SF, then hand fell-stitch the fake flatlock in place on both the orange & black sides. The Left Front princess seam below the zipper I ended up flatlocking because I couldn’t be bothered to do more hand sewing than is necessary, and it’s neater by machine.
The rest are fairly straightforward & most of the steps are illustrated in the above construction photos. Not shown is the waist finishing. This is just tiny hem allowance turned to the black side & covered by the petersham ribbon which is fell-stitched in place along the top & bottom. It’s my standard skirt waist finishing for skirts without a waistband.
Well, MR isn’t a fan of the Muppet orange side. And I was tending to agree with him…until this photoshoot where I ended up having more fun & styling ideas for the orange side than the black side.
It’s also a really warm skirt. Maybe a tad too warm. Except from the exposed knee down. But when worn with tights the Front bunches up most ungracefully. Static perhaps? So I can’t really wear this until I make myself a half-slip.
And as we’re on the impractical / unearthy wavelength, please indulge me another hippy style shot, the result of mucking about with a new app on my phone called PicsArt.