Sunday, September 18, 2011

Skyline Skirt, Ode to Basic Arithmatic Skills

I think the reason I am calling this The Skyline Skirt is pretty obvious (if not, check out the border design), but if I were more candid, or reveling, I might call it The Design, Re-Design as you Go Skirt.  Because that's what I did.
I bought this at Golden D'Or in Dallas several months ago. I was there with my daughter Varina, mostly checking things out for future use.  She had actual needs, which this deceptively huge, labyrinth of a a textile emporium meet more than nicely.  I had no real intention of buying anything, since I currently have more fabric and patterns than time to sew.  Then we went to the bargain section in the back.  Quell surprise!  I thought the whole store was a bargain section!  wow.  Seriously: wow.  No description of mine can do justice to this store's inventory or prices; you must, if you find yourself within 100 miles of Dallas, go there.  But go in the daytime.  Not one of Dallas' finer neighborhoods.

This fabric is a cotton gauze embellished with vertical lines of metallic threads and sequins extending from both selvages. At 60in wide, I figured I had some considerable room for creativity, so I bought 2 yds.  My original plan for this was a simple, tea-length, 6-panel skirt in which one of the borders would be the hem.  Later (inspired by a skirt I saw on Dharma & Greg  --  I love Dharma's wardrobe!!!), I decided to make the back much fuller than the front, slit the CB up to the knees, and add a narrow ruffle all around and up the CB out of the solid fabric that I cut off. (Dharma's skirt was a 6-panel with 3 rows of narrow ruffles at the hem).  Then I held it up to myself to gauge for length, and that's when things got hinky.

I discovered that the border was so deep, that to achieve the length I wanted, I could only cut off the other border - leaving no solid fabric to be ruffled.   H-mmmmmmm.   A quick perusal through 25 years of Threads magazine (AKA: the sewist's BEST print resource!!!) revealed several articles on  CB skirt insertions.  Then, I was re-inspired.  Instead of a ruffle/slit on a CB seam, how about a CB panel, whose border is pleated???  The more I pictured it, the better I liked it.  Now:  to cut it out.

Of course, this design existed only in my head. So the pattern would have to be drafted.  First: some measurements.  I knew that I wanted the CF panel to be roughly the width of my knees when standing with feet, shoulder-width apart.  I don't know how I knew this.  Somethings, you just know.  My husband took that measurement for me, and some quick mental math told me that that measurement multiplied by 3 (number of panels in skirt's front) would be just about right for half of my hip measurement + a little ease. [Note how I am describing the measuring process without actually revealing the skirt's actual measurements, and thereby risking revealing MY actual measurements??  This is intentional.  Try and keep up.]

I wanted the back to be much fuller, and, I abhor waste, so I cut the CB panel to the same measurement as front panels, and used the remaining fabric for the flanking back panels.  I wanted a sleek, straight-ish look in the front, with a few surprises in the back. As my waist is, so far, smaller than my hips, I took the difference between those two measurements, divided by  12 (number of seam allowances), added 3/4 in to that, and reduced each seam allowance the resulting number at the waist, narrowing to 0, at fullest point of hips.  Taken step-by-step, this is easier than I just made it sound.  Then I cut off the border from the bottom  of the CB panel, and cut a piece of the leftover border from the first cut that was 4 times the length of the piece I had removed.  I don't know why I thought I would be reducing the width by 1/4.  I had several inches of fabric leftover! I must have been tired.

I pleated the fabric unevenly, because the embroidered lines are uneven, and I thought that was more interesting.  (maybe that explains why my math was off in the amount needed for pleating!).  Here is the  panel, during the pleating process.

At this point, I realized that the fabric was much more sheer than I originally realized, and I wanted to line it.  Unable to find a lining color that matched this funky brown/taupe, I went with pink.  why?  I can't really say.  Sometimes, these things just come over me.  Unable to leave well enough alone (or pretty enough  -- although:  when is pretty enough really enough???), I sought some lace from my prodigious stash to embellish the lining.  I thought this lovely, elegant ivory Leaver lace was just the thing, don't you? {Yes, I know -  no one will ever see it but me.  Yes, I know - satin ribbon, china silk lining edged in lace that serves only to put a smile on my face when I am getting dressed is completely impractical and decadent in the extreme.  Why, yes.  It certainly is.}

The lining was attached via serger, prior to finishing the waist, so the two fabrics were treated as one.  I faced the waist with a heavy satin ribbon (not yet pretty enough).  The front of the waist was stabilized by sewing twill tape to the underside of the ribbon, and elastic was inserted in the back half, easing in the fullness.

She is done.  What do you think?  I am wearing her tomorrow with a pale pink silk sweater, and gold kitty necklace I bought at the Smithsonian. (the necklace is a reproduction of one given to Jackie Kennedy when the First Couple visited Egypt.)    Classy enough for a Faculty Meeting??