circle skirt sew along

I fully intended to finally put the ideas of making your own petticoat that had been floating through my head into an actual tutorial for the sew-along. But the general busyness that seems to have taken over my life the past two months pretty much pushed a lot of my sewing to the wayside. So for now, my sincere apologies that this tutorial never reached fruition (though eventually I’d like it to—I’ve filed away all my notes for later!), and I decided to round up a number of links from around the web on making your own net petticoat.

Petticoats are one of the quintessential components of 1950s dressing; and if you want to add a bit of authentic “pouf” to your circle skirt, are a much. (You don’t have to wear a petticoat with a circle skirt though—I wear mine without all the time to no ill effect!) You can generally find them online (Ebay is a great place as well as the many vintage reproduction stores online) and in costume shops. But if you have a specific hue, length or size in mind, then making your own is probably the way to go. Let me just say here as someone who attempted to make a petticoat years and years ago: you can not be afraid of dealing with miles of netting. These garments use a lot.

This tutorial at Sugardale is probably my favorite out of the bunch, and approaches petticoat-making in a similar way I would.

BurdaStyle has a pattern you can download for a net petticoat. I haven’t downloaded and looked at it, but it looks nice from the picture and several members have made it.

Someone sent me this link ages ago, but it has a few loose details from the 50s on making a petticoat and how to achieve a very full, fluffy effect.

If you have access to it, the June/July issue of Vogue Sewing Magazine had a how-to on creating a net crinoline petticoat. I bought the issue and was impressed with the article (though like Gertie, I thought the resulting petticoat was a bit short for most of my 50s dresses and skirts—but easily adjustable!).

Speaking of the amazing Ms. Gertie, she also has a pretty fantastic petticoat tutorial here, using organza or organdy instead of net. (Also less scratchy!)

For a less poufy look, check out this how-to on BurdaStyle for making a petticoat from a sheet.

I think these links cover the various methods of petticoat-making out there! Best of luck for those of you tackling the project (wish I could… but again it’s the specter that is looming of late called Time. lol.)

Don’t forget that the Circle Skirt Party is this coming Monday! I’ve already received a handful of entries (and will be emailing you back to confirm shortly). Don’t forget to send yours if you haven’t already! I’m also extending the deadline to 12pm Saturday afternoon as well, so that gives you a bit more time!

October 6, 2011 · 13 lovely thoughts
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Are you ready to show off your finished skirt(s) for the Circle Skirt Sew-Along party? I am so excited to see what all the circle skirts look like! Last time we did a sew-along I used a link-widget to add your links to the list. But this time I’d love to do a show-and-tell type post with selected pictures of your creation featured here! Please read the following if you’d like to participate, as there is a deadline for submissions.

  1. Send me an email with link (no attachments, please) to your finished circle skirt photos. (This can be to just the images or a blog post.)
  2. Please include a few lines about your skirt: inspiration, materials, construction, etc. (Please know I may edit these a bit for length in the final post).
  3. In the email please specify how you’d like your name to appear in the CSSA Party post, as well as a link to your blog (if applicable).
  4. All submissions for the CSSA Party must be received no later than Saturday, October 8 at 12pm (EST). That gives you nearly a week to get these in, which will hopefully be more than enough time!

Submissions will be compiled into a post that will go live October 17. Please feel free to share on your own blog about your skirt and a link back to the party post as well!

I know I still have to post about the petticoat, but please don’t let that stop you from sharing your finished skirt pictures! It seems like most of you have finished your skirts, and I don’t want to wait too long to do the CSSA Party.

Can’t wait to see your pictures! Let me know if you have any questions about participating in this!

October 3, 2011 · 10 lovely thoughts
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Wow—can you believe we are this close to being finished with our circle skirts? I hope you all have enjoyed making these; I always forget how quickly the style comes together until I get to the end and think “Am I done already?”. Today I have three hemming options for you; you can pick which one will suit your fabric best. These, of course, are not all the hemming techniques possible for a circle skirt, but the ones I tend to favor. So feel free to deviate if you have another method you prefer!

First, before you even touch the hem, you’ll want to let the skirt hang for about 24 hours. Because of the bias element in the skirt, this can sometimes stretch a bit, and you want it to stretch now, rather than after you’ve hemmed the skirt. Try the skirt on post-stretching, and mark the hem an even distance all around from the floor. My favorite way is to use the handy hem marker I picked up a few years ago at a rummage sale (they’re still available though). But you can also have someone else mark the hem evenly around the bottom using a ruler/yardstick. Use pins spaced every few inches to mark where your hem will be. (Or try this solo-marking technique.)  Just keep in mind you’ll need at least 5/8” below that pin for the actual finishing of the hem.

Take the skirt off and measure down from each pin 5/8” (or more, if you’d like a deeper hem. But stay about 1” or less.), and mark the cutting line. Trim the hem following those cutting-line marks. I usually find it helpful to baste the hem fold-line in at this stage, which can be done on machine.

Non-Woven Hem

09.29.11 | hemming techniques

If you are working with felt, which is a non-woven and does not ravel like wovens do, then your hemming is relatively easy. Follow the directions for marking the hem, and trim to 3/8”. Turn the hem to the wrong side, pin, and top stitch around the hem for a narrow finish.

Turned-Up Hem

This is just your basic hem, turned back an stitched by hand (or machine—though I only recommend that for casual styles and non slippery/thick fabrics). The real trick is how the raw edge is finished.

09.29.11 | hemming techniques

For firmly-woven fabrics and casual styles, you can get away with pinking the edge, or serging/zig-zagging over the raw edge. (Use thread that matches your fabric as closely as possible, so if the hem flips up it won’t be as noticeable.) Keep in mind that if you’re working with a wider hem, you may have to ease the top edge a little to conform to the curve of the skirt, and prevent those folds/tucks that can warp the finished hem edge.

09.29.11 | hemming techniques

Another method of hem finishing would be to use a narrow seam binding or hem lace to cover that raw edge. You’ll need to make sure your hem is fairly narrow (1/2” to 5/8” at most), to avoid the puckering/excess ease I mentioned above. You can finish the raw edge if you’re working with a fabric that likes to ravel a lot, and them lap the tape over the hem (wrong side of the tape to the right side of the hem) by about 1/4”. Straight stitch over the area where the hem and tape connect, being sure to turn under the tape at the end, and overlapping the starting raw edge (for a neat finish).

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Once you have determined how to finish the edge, turn the hem to the inside of the skirt along the basted hem-fold line. Pin. You can either evenly machine stitch around the hem (use a slightly wider stitch for this), or you can slip or catchstitch the hem to the inside of the skirt. Hand hemming may seem daunting on a circle skirt (be prepared to spend a few evenings doing it), but the result is far more subtle and soft—suited to fabrics whose surfaces show machine stitching too easily.

09.29.11 | hemming techniques

Machine Rolled Hem

This is my favorite hem for a circle skirt, and one that is recommended in a few of my sewing books. This will work well on most light to medium weight fabrics. You will need a hem of 5/8” wide for this.

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Begin by staystitching 3/8” from the raw edge of the hem. Press the staystitching to steam out any ease in the hem curve. Press the hem to the wrong side of the skirt along this staystitching. Pin if necessary.

09.29.11 | hemming techniques

Stitch 1/8” away from the fold line along the hem. This can be tricky with slippery/thin fabrics, so go as slowly as you need! Trim the excess above this line of stitching, right alongside the stitching line, trimming as close as you can (without clipping the stitches of course!). If you have a pair of applique scissors, this makes the process go a lot quicker.

09.29.11 | hemming techniques

Fold the hem again (to the wrong side of the skirt) a scant 1/4”. Press and pin if needed. Stitch 1/8” from the hem fold around the entirety of the hem. Press again.

Horsehair Braid Hem

This is probably the hem I’m most excited about right now, since this sew-along gave me an excuse to finally try it! If you want a skirt that has some form and structure without wearing a net petticoat, this is the way to go. You’ll need horsehair braid, though (Sunni of A Fashionable Stitch kindly sent me some to try out for this!), which can be a bit tricky to find at your local fabric shop (unless you live in a big city with good fabric stores).

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Rather than reinvent the wheel, I’m going to direct you to Gertie’s excellent tutorial and follow-up post. This is the basic technique for apply horsehair braid to a simple hem. For my skirt, I opted to forgo the machine topstitching along the top edge, and instead am using a hand-worked catchstitch to secure the top edge of the braid to the skirt. (Yes, it’s taking a bit but the result is hardly noticeable on the right side!) Let me just tell you: I am completely in love with how full the hem is!

That’s it for the construction of your circle skirt! Post-hemming give it a good press and step back to admire your handwork. I’m going to try to get my petticoat made and a tutorial written up over the weekend, and posted next week. If not, I’ll just have a round-up of tutorials online to direct those of you who want to make your own. Then it’ll be time for the circle skirt party! Stay tuned for details…

September 29, 2011 · 19 lovely thoughts
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I’ll discuss two methods for attaching your skirt waistband today. The first will be using a modern fusible interfacing and the second is for sew-in interfacings (such as organza or hair canvas).

Fusible Method

For this method you’ll need your fabric waistband piece, fusible interfacing that works with the weight of your material (see the supply post for suggestions), an iron, and press cloth. (Note: You may want to first “shrink” your fusible interfacing if you so desire. There are various methods for doing this from soaking the interfacing in warm water to steaming the piece prior to fusing. I suggest trying a couple methods and seeing what suits you best!)

Begin by cutting a strip of your sew-in interfacing the length of your waistband and 1/2 the width. Fold the waistband in half lengthwise, wrong sides together and press. (If your fabric doesn’t hold a good crease, thread trace this center line.)

With the wrong side of the fabric waistband up, place one long edge of the interfacing along the stitched traced/foldline down the center length of the waistband (about 5/8” from the bottom edge). The fusible side of the interfacing strip should be facing the fabric.

Place the press cloth over your waistband. With your iron set to the appropriate settings for your interfacing and fabric, fuse the interfacing to the waistband. Remove the press cloth, let the fabric cool and check that the interfacing has properly fused.

Sew-In Method

For this method you’ll need your fabric waistband piece, a sew-in interfacing fabric (see the supply post for suggestions), and silk thread in addition to your other sewing supplies.

Begin by cutting a strip of your sew-in interfacing the length of your waistband and 1/2 the width. Thread a single strand of silk thread on a needle. Fold the waistband in half lengthwise, wrong sides together and press. (If your fabric doesn’t hold a good crease, thread trace this center line.)

With the wrong side of the fabric waistband up, place one long edge of the interfacing along the traced line/foldline down the center length of the waistband. Secure with a few pins. Baste the long edge along the foldline with long basting stitches (these will be removed later).

Using the silk thread, tack at one end with a few backstitches. Catchstitch the short sides and bottom of the interfacing. Only catch the interfacing (not the waistband underneath), and then in the seam allowances of the waistband.

Now we’re ready to sew the waistband to the skirt! First, make sure that the top stop of your zipper clears the seam allowance area. I generally like to make sure this is about 3/4” below the cut edge of the waistline (my 5/8” seam allowance, plus 1/8”). Either way, make sure you sew carefully around this area as we sew through all the layers!

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September 23, 2011 · 39 lovely thoughts
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Just a quick edit to yesterday’s zipper post. One thing I forgot to mention is to be sure to position the top stop of your zipper below the waistline seam allowance. Generally I like to do this the width of the seam allowance plus 1/8″ (meaning if I have a 5/8″ seam allowance, the top stop of my zipper should be 3/4″ below the cut edge). Make sense? We just need to make sure there are no bits of the zipper in the way of the waistband insertion!

September 20, 2011 · 7 lovely thoughts
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