Dec 28, 2013

Emerald chevron skirt

Do you have a favorite fabric pattern / print you keep using when sewing? Do you like making your own fabric pattern, by making a new ornament out of an existing one? Do you stick with a safe, tried and trued fabric combination, when it comes to print, or do you explore new options and experiment with your fabrics?

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I like sharp and angled lines, high contrasts and geometrical prints, and these three qualities can be seen in lots of my clothes. Chevron is probably my favorite pattern, though I can't remember if I ever bought a fabric with such a print - I've always made it by using striped, plaid and plain fabrics in various ways. You can see some of my experiments with chevron on the emerald shirt, striped pants, purple dress, heart box integration bodice, and many other of my garments.
Whenever I see a striped fabric, I think of all the ways I could arrange stripes to make interesting designs.

I made this skirt to match it with the emerald shit. The two fabrics matched perfectly, but I didn't like the pattern of the boucle - I felt I would look too old and formal if I made a plain straight skirt out of it. So I decided to play with my favorite design and make the skirt more modern.

I used the already described technique for sewing chevron. Skirt panels and waist band are cut on bias, so that the striped fabric is perfectly matched on horizontal and vertical seams. This kind matching stripes made an interesting diamond shape on the sides.

I used a very simple A-line skirt pattern that I drafted myself. It's always interesting to me to see how different two garments can look even if they're made using the same pattern, when different fabrics are used or when the fabric is cut on grainline and one bias. The skirt looks like a straight one, even though the hem's circumference is approximately 20 cm longer than the hips' circumference. But when you look at the skirt from the back you can see the flounce that falls from the rear to the hem, but when looked from the front, it looks straight.

Sewing a bias cut fabric can be tricky, since the fabric doesn't act the same way it would if it was cut on the grain. The fabric cut on bias looses its solidity which normally comes from its weft, and the fabric becomes stretchy. In some of my previous attempts to sew on bias I had problems with a shape of the skirt - I would use a plain straight skirt pattern, but the end result looked like a very tight pencil skirt, which isn't very flattering on me. The bias fabric would stretch across the hips and shrink around knees, thus making a pencil skirt look. The same thing happened with this skirt, but the extra volume at hemline gave it a shape that looks flattering on my body.

Along with the shape, sewing in a zipper can also be problematic on bias cut fabrics. When the zipper is not sewn well, the seam can get all bumpy, thus very unflattering. I had some minor issues with the zipper while working on the skirt - first I sewed it to a center back seam and got the bumpy seam. Then I moved the zipper to the side seam, which solved the problem. The body gives the zipper a support, which gives the seam a shape, and that's what was missing when the zipper was sewed to the center back seam.

Another trick I used was leaving the skirt panels to hang for a few days. I put some clothespins to the hem to add some weight to and so that the panels would additionally stretch. This way, the fabric stretched well before I started working on it (I didn't measure the length before and after stretching the fabric, but I believe it lengthened a bit after this).

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