Thursday, January 16, 2014

2/52: The Peek-a-Boo Skirt

I've toyed for a long time with the idea of a solid colored skirt with insets of fun fabrics.  Something I could wear to my day job without raising eyebrows, but would show some of the personality behind my business professional demeanor.  This was the test run for the Peek-a-Boo skirt.

I pulled a lovely black linen out of my stash for the main material.  I should say, a am absolutely in love with linen, especially for skirt material.  It has enough weight to keep a skirt where a skirt should be, and has a lovely drape and feel.  Obviously there are different weights of linen, but I find they are usually in the perfect range for skirts.
The contrast is white cotton printed with sheet music.  It took me a minute to figure out which way was up on the music, and I found myself orienting each piece based on the flat symbols.  I also had a pang of longing for my old piano, and resolved to start taking lessons again (she was an old upright grand my parents had fixed up, and she was beautiful!).

This is why photographing black fabric is a bad choice.

I wanted a more modern look to the skirt, so I decided on a waistband which sat down on the hips.  I'll do a tutorial on the slash and spread method I use at some point in the future.  I debated a while about making the skirt calf length or knee length, but with the chosen material I thought longer would look better.

I cut all the pieces, and started inserting the accent pieces between panels.  I wish I had taken better photos during this process, but digital sketches will have to suffice.  I was very careful on cutting everything to exactly the same size, because I knew I wasn't going to be pinning the pieces in.  I placed the accent triangle face down on the linen, and sewed from the bottom to a half inch short of the edge of the triangle (okay, it's a trapezoid, but I'm going to call it a triangle).

Next I flipped the triangle out, and lined up the next main panel face down.  I had to be very careful to make sure none of the inset material was caught in the stitch line for this piece.  I stitched from the waistband edge to the exact spot where the first line of stitching starts (I call it the pivot point).

Then I folded open the seam, and stitched from the same pivot point down the other side of the inset.  I held the bottom edge of the two materials under a little tension, so the stitching would come out even with the originally stitched side.  Otherwise the linen tried to stretch out when I sewed.

Maintaining a crisp pivot point gives the inset a perfect triangle top, and prevents bunching and gaps.  Overlapping the seams prevents the materials from laying smoothly, and any gaps in stitching become gaps in the seam.

A close up of my terribly trimmed threads.
I serged each side of the seam separately, to get the cleanest edge possible and prevent fraying during wash or wear.  You can see the top of the inset didn't get serged before it went in.

Then the process is begun again with a new inset and a new panel.  I chose four panels front and four panels back.  Each seam is pressed open, and one is left un-sewn for inserting the zipper later.

The waistband is two layers of linen with a sewn interfacing (I would have gone fusible, but didn't have any on hand).  I basted the interfacing onto one of the waistbands before attaching the two sides together.

To prevent the waistband lining from riding up, I under-stitched the full length.

I then basted the bottom of the waistband to prevent the lining from moving around before or during the stitching to the body of the skirt.  As I have said before, when sewing for myself I do not encase the waistband seam.  Rather, I leave it easily accessible, though serged, in case I fluctuate weight and want to alter the skirt later.

Next, install the zipper and give it a rolled hem.

Tada!  (Pardon, I didn't press the waist band seam, so it's a little noticeable.)

It's linen, so I expect some of the wrinkling.  It feels delightful to wear, so I've decided to not care if it needs pressing on occasion.

Here is a close up of the insets.  They all fall beautifully.

I wore the skirt to work yesterday, and adored it.  I'm not used to skirts that sit on my hips, rather than my waist, so I had a hard time choosing a top to go with it.  Maybe I'll make that a future 52 project.

All in all, I'm very happy with this one!

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