Thursday, January 9, 2014

Announcing: The New 52! Project 1/52: The Corduroy Skirt

Nope, not the DC relaunch that made me love Aquaman (an article that pretty well sums up why).  This is a project I'm undertaking for 2014.

I have been going through and updating my pattern collection, which is honestly pretty massive.

I collect patterns the way some people collect shoes or comic books.  As I was cataloging them, I realized the majority of the projects I'd done in this last year had been for other people.  I did only small updates to my festival costume, and barely squeezed in a drindl and an R2S2 dress in October.  I miss sewing for myself.  Besides, that's how this whole sewing business got started.

So, I decided to sew one new item for myself each week for the year, and blog about it.  Some weeks may get bigger items, some smaller, and there will probably be a lot of skirts, but I'll sew something every seven days and blog about it.

This is my first project: the plaid circle skirt.

I've had this purple and green corduroy in my fabric stash for at least eight years, probably longer.  I've been dying to make something with it!  It's also been colder than Fort Briggs this last week, and I wanted to add something fun to my winter wardrobe.

So I started by measuring my fabric, which came to 43" wide and 4 yards 4" long.  I hoped to be able to get a full length skirt out of it, but when I did the math the longest I could get was roughly 39" long.  I thought that would be a perfectly acceptable length to wear over leggings and with boots.

First I laid out my fabric and drew the circles.  To get the most of the material I offset them, which means the nap of the fabric will be a little different front and back, but only I would notice.  My standard circle skirts zip up on the side, but I wanted to add pockets to this one so I added a center back seam for the zipper so the side seams would be free.

This was roughly my layout.  I didn't include the seam allowance for the hem, as I was going for maximum length, not a specific number.

I went ahead and cut out the main skirt pieces, then turned to the leftovers to cut my pockets and waistband.  Since I was doing a skirt sitting at my waist, the waistband is just a straight cut.  I prefer a 2" waistband, but couldn't get a solid 5" piece to fold over, so I cut two 3" pieces (I use 1/2" seam allowances).  After stitching the top seam of the waistband together, I pressed the seam open, the folded it over and pressed it again.

I use the same pocket pattern for most of my skirts.  It looks a little like mittens to my eyes, and is the perfect depth.  

Each pocket piece gets sewn to the top of a side seam, right sides together.  I then pressed them open with both seams folded towards the pocket.

It was cold in my studio, hence the gloves.
The next seam goes around the edge of the pocket piece, then down the side seam.

I always put a pin directly through the seam at the pockets, effectively closing them off to be treated separately from the main part of the skirt.  (I hope that made sense)  The pockets get folded to the front when everything is attached to the waistband.

For customers I encase the seam in the waistband, but for myself I do a single serged seam.  I know I will fluctuate weight in the future, and that makes the skirt easier to pick apart and re-sew to another size.

I set in the zipper next, leaving a small gap at the top for a hook and eye.

The final step I didn't take any pictures of is a very thin rolled hem on my serger.  I love those hems, as the wrapped thread gives a thin stripe of color (I set mine on the lowest stitch length to get the maximum amount of thread) and the edges get a little wavy and look slightly scalloped.

Aaaand we're done!





Glimpse of inner pocket
I'm going to try and take some pictures wearing the skirt, but I can tell you it's comfortable and warm!  I paired it with a button down shirt today and an elastic belt.  The corduroy does like to catch on other fabric, as corduroy does, especially when I put gloved hands into my pockets.  However, I don't like making pockets of contrasting material (I think it looks funky when you catch a peek at it) so I will live with it.

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