So what do you do when you have a boatload of knitting to do for the holidays?
Duh. Start 2 ambitious sewing projects, obviously.
I’ve already introduced you to the first, but today I’d like to show you the second, which I finished this morning.
I found this fabric on sale just before Halloween and loved it, from the black and white skulls to the text–“Nevermore” and “I put a spell on you” in particular. It’s modern but also has a Victorian aesthetic that I love.
I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do with it, but after having it sit around for a couple of weeks, I decided it would make a great skirt.
Of course, my sewing machine is still in the pod (we will get it back. Eventually. In the mean time, is it too much if I write love letters to my Janome?). But that’s fine! I have my hand sewing supplies. I actually like hand stitching because it’s a lot easier to do in front of the tv. So I busted out the needle and thread and set to work.
I had two yards of the fabric, which was a standard 45″ wide cotton. I cut the fabric in half lengthwise, then cut a 3″ strip from one end of the fabric to form the waistband. I sewed the ends of the waistband together to make a single length, and then set it aside.
I used French seams to join the two panels of the skirt. This means I sewed on the right side of the fabric (just a basting stitch) then trimmed the seam allowance and turned the skirt inside out before stitching along the same area, trapping the raw edges inside a channel. It means sewing every seam twice, but it is soooo worth it in my opinion. There’s no risk of fraying, the seams are stronger, and if something does go wrong there’s always that little bit of extra fabric you can work with to repair any torn or worn out seams.
I like fuller skirts, but I also didn’t want there to be bulky gathers at the waist, so I measured and placed a total of four 2″ wide darts to bring in the waist a little. The darts are about 8″ long, and I felled them to once again trap raw edges and prevent fraying.
I used a long running stitch to gather the top of the skirt, then pinned it evenly to the waistband and stitched it in place. Because I was trying to get the most mileage out of the fabric as possible, I didn’t have a lot of seam allowance on the waistband. Since it wasn’t agreeable to felling with three layers of fabric, I used bias binding to enclose the raw edges. The biding sits on the inside of the skirt, which is probably a good thing since the color doesn’t match nearly as well in reality as it appeared to in the fabric store. Just before finishing the waistband completely, I inserted some elastic. I used “underwear/pajama” elastic for a couple of reasons: first and foremost, it was the only elastic my local fabric store had that was 3/4″ wide, and thus the right size for my waistband.
Second, I’ve had issues working with their heavier-duty elastic in the past, and thought I might as well give this a try.
The skirt still needed something, though. I found some lace I liked online, but it wasn’t in stock when I went to the store. So I improvised and created my own tiered lace by using yards of 3″ wide black lace and a spool of narrower lace trim. I basted them together at the top, and then stitched them into the hem of the skirt, being careful not to catch the outer layers of fabric.
My only real regret with this skirt is that I didn’t have enough fabric to do inset pockets. I think that later, if I get large enough scraps of some black or grey fabric, I will add patch pockets to the front. I do still have some lace and bias binding left, after all. It would be a shame to let it go to waste.
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