Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Skirt, a Seam Ripper, and Me

I'm back from the holidays, I think.  We'll see if I can actually get this post out with two bored kids in the house...

Didn't I say recently the sometimes I learn things the hard way?  I just did a quick Google search of my brain and I believe it was in reference to my bum pear sauce.  Still seething over that one.  Anyway, when I sew, I sometimes learn things the hard way, too, because I rarely use a traditional pattern and instead lean on my seam ripper and innate sense of spatial relations.  The first never fails me, which is good because the second sometimes does. 

I finally got Byron to take a couple photos of the skirt I made the week before Christmas.  As with anything, this was a learning experience, and though I regret that I don't have a downloadable pattern, I do have some tips if ever you should want to attempt to make your own. 

Again, here's the skirt I used as a "pattern."

And here's the skirt I ended up with.  Notice the homey decor and lack of plywood flooring in the background. This is my parents' house.

I had wanted the skirt to flare out at the sides, but it kind of dips in.  Ironing might help, but I haven't tried that yet.
When I use an existing skirt as a pattern, I usually trace the outline of the skirt on the wrong side of the fabric I've chosen for the outside of the skirt, leaving about 1/2" for seams on the sides and the bottom, and a bit more for where I'll flip down the fabric at the waist.  The first few times, I made an exact copy, which I highly recommend, even though you may feel less than creative.  With this skirt, I made a couple changes, such as making it a big longer and attempting the flare on the sides.  It also has a zipper on the side, like the original skirt.

Before, I've sewn the lining in with the skirt, but since I was using wool fabric for this skirt and poly for the lining material, I decided to sew the skirt and lining separately.  Since the lining will be slightly more fitted than the skirt, I highly recommend stitching the lining together first and seeing how that fits before slicing into your nice skirt fabric.  I did not do this with the gray skirt and spent many an hour seam-ripping because I made it too tight initially!

If you're a professional seamstress or close to it and are cringing right now, this amateur welcomes your comments.  Remember, this is just what has worked for me.  And like I said, not a pattern, but a bit of a framework, and a way to be creative and save money.  The idea of making our own clothes is nearly obsolete, but there's a satisfaction in being creative and choosing your own fabric to suit your taste and needs.


  1. I highly recommend the book Sew What! Skirts. You can find it at the library or on amazon. It takes your measurements & has you draft your own pattern. You might find it a bit easier to use than your method Laura. Your skirt did turn out very cute though!

  2. Just the commentator I was hoping for! It looks like "Sew What" has a few different books out, too. I think I'll be requesting a couple of these for my birthday.