Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Anatomy of a Skirt

I'm the kind of person who likes to take one basic foundation and change it to fit my mood.  One sweet bread recipe that I can use to make zucchinni, banana, rhubarb bread, whatever I have on hand.  One pant pattern that I can use to make shorts, pedal pushers or wide-leg Katherine Hepburn trousers.  Here is my one skirt pattern that I use to make cotton, wool, narrow and wide-waist skirts.

It is a basic four-gore skirt on a waistband with a back zipper.  The two major pattern pieces are pie-shaped wedges, two panels make up the front and two panels make up the back. 
This was originally taken from a 1930s DuBarry pattern.  It requires two and a half yards (of 44" wide fabric), folded cross-wise.  The total sweep (or hemline) on this measures 112 inches which fits nicely over my chiffon crinoline.
When cutting out, the grainline runs down the side seam.  The center front and back seams are on a slight bias.  This adds a bit of movement if I'm working with a striped fabric.
The total length of the skirt includes an extra inch for a rolled hem.  I prefer my skirts to hit just below my knee.  Yes, I'm only 5 feet tall!  lol
When hemming a gored (or circle) skirt, try to avoid a deep hem as it's near impossible to ease in the extra fabric.  Wide hems are appealing because they add weight to the skirt, giving it better hang and drape.  But I always end up with too many puckers on the underside.
I use a 9 inch zipper with a center placement down the center back seam.  And typically I grab the used zippers first!  I like the old metal zippers with their paint chipped off because it gives the piece a more vintage look.  Mend and Make Do afterall!  :)

I've made several versions of this pattern.  Mostly cotton but some in wool for winter.  It's an easy skirt to wear, dress it up or down.

A must-have basic for any vintage wardrobe!

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