Ruffles ‘n Stripes: One Skirt Story. Part 1.

Category: Sewing Story 01 July 19

Open notebook pages with notes and a skirt image

October 2016.

“Stripes are always in fashion, but now especially aggressive ones. Horizontal and vertical at the same time, wide and narrow in super-bright colours.“

Wrote the Vogue magazine on top of the vivid photos from the shows of Fendi, Miu Miu, Proenza Schouler in an article about the fashion trends of the upcoming 2017 year.

Snow is already falling in the morning, the sun gently shines through the window and it’s cold. I drink tea with a raspberry toast, trying to stay warm, and look through online magazines for a splash of inspiration. In the mental checklist, I note what trends mentioned by Vogue, have already appeared in the wardrobe:

  • A man’s jacket with wide shoulders is already hanging in the closet. The 52nd-sized BOSS, a warm one, found at the flea market, I’ll put it on instead of the coat when spring comes, but it will still be chilly.
  • A jumpsuit with a zipper is here too. Bright blue – colourful pumps will make a match to it, so I don’t look like an employee of auto service.
  • Polka dots – white on black are trending, and mine will be white on grey. Ah, a bit of rebellion.
  • Drapes and frills – hmm. Only one sundress is hanging in the wardrobe. It’s rather suitable for sunny Italy and not for this white and grey landscape outside. And those stripes, bright like the pictures of pop art times, remain imprinted in my head.

At the end of the day, I fall asleep and keep spinning in my head: frills, stripes, frilled stripes, striped frills. For a couple of months I flip through hundreds of photos, and here on the phone’s screen, there is a skirt. It must be one of a famous designer, not otherwise. It’s daring and simultaneously feminine, white in red stripes and multilayered. Eyes light up: I want to sew a skirt as elegant and well-made as the one on the photo.

The Idea

Skirt and Blouse pattern pieces and Fashion Flat sketch

It’s easier to think of a design with a pencil in my hand. So, I immediately draw a sketch: asymmetric A-silhouette, flounce, ruffles or a gathered flounce? I’m looking for other photos to clarify what’s what. Suddenly, in the address bar, I see that the dream skirt is from … wait for it … ZARA and does not look as it was supposed to: it is made of thin cotton, flounces hang down sadly, the stripes do not match on the sides. My inner perfectionist is boiling up. Well, then I’ll make it myself, as I planned.

Now, once the idea has been shaped, the further path is clear: patternmaking, cutting, fitting, sewing. This process sounds to be fast, but in fact, I spend weeks searching for fabric only because it should have strips and good drape. I look at the shelves of my favourite fabric store for the third time and I finally see it: rayon satin. It is milky with orange strips, they are not smooth and have little scuffs – such a slight touch of carelessness.

The satin weave makes the fabric soft on the right side and smooth as golden silk on the wrong, but even the wave does not reduce the crease of the fabric, which is not good for a skirt. Also, drapes need more volume. But I’ve already fallen in love with this fabric. So, it seems that this is not a problem, but I’ll talk about it later. Without a doubt, I take one and a half, no, 2 meters of fabric, because some details will be cut on the bias.

The Pattern

The pattern set consists of 7 details. There are a front and a back, a waistband, two halves of a flounce and two halves for ruffles.

Skirt Pattern Set

To create a pattern I turn the Basic Skirt Block into an A-line one and draw an asymmetrical hem. On the right, it starts below the hip line and smoothly descends to the left knee. I see the ruffles as a long rectangle. In fact, it is possible to cut them as a stretched out skirt’s hem. This thought will come in my mind at the end of the work. So, I cut it out as a rectangle.

Each flounce is cut in the form of a semi-circle. There the length of the inner circle is equal to the length of the skirt’s hem. On the outside, the width of the flounce changes to enhance the multilayer effect. Then I add seam allowances, marks and notches that help to speed up the work.

The cutting and Interlining

The cutting of an equal number of details does not usually take much time. In this case, it is important to match each strip on the side, flounces and ruffles. Also, the fabric creases so, that once I blink all the results of ironing are gone.

Skirt pieces cut from the fabric

By a cup of hot tee, I think I could solve this problem by interlining the details.

Interlining is the fabric added between the fashion fabric and the lining of a garment. It is used to provide warmth, but it also helps to change the properties of the fashion fabric: it reduces the crease, adds body and drape.

Since I don’t have a lining, my interling will act as both, I guess.

In the next part of this story we’ll see if my idea worked. Maybe I’ll even tell a little secret.

#fabrics #patternmaking #illustration #interlining #story