Thursday, 20 June 2013

SONP Week 4: Pieced Striped Satin Skirt

My final project for the Summer of No Pants!   Yay!!!

Pieced Striped Satin Skirt by Cicely Ingleside

I made this one without a pattern again - v. proud of myself because I am still a beginner sewer. However, I learned some lessons and I am going to write them here so I don't forget:


I had intended to write up a tutorial for this skirt, but I did some unusual, fixing-it-up stuff after my mistakes (see lesson #1) so maybe I'll just stick to explaining the steps!

First, a word about my inspiration. When I was shopping in a 'big city' recently (Toronto.  The Gap is the fanciest chain store here in St. John's), I saw the skirt (below left) in J. Crew. I loved the blue and pink stripes so much I was almost (almost) tempted to buy it for $200. Fortunately, they didn't have my size. Phew. So I thought I would try and make it.

After buying the pink and blue fabric, I decided to try, instead of doing a wrap skirt, to mimic the Anthropologie skirt on the (above) right.

Pieced Striped Satin Skirt by Cicely Ingleside

Here're the how-to basics:
Cut a length of elastic for the waist, to fit comfortably around.

Now, you want to cut your stripes and sew them together to make one rectangle that will be the front, and one rectangle that will be the back. Each rectangle should be about the same width as your waist elastic. (So, after putting the back and front together, you will have double the width as your waist elastic.) The length of your rectangles is as you desire - mine were about 18 inches long.

In order to compose your rectangles, you will cut your fabric into strips, and piece them together.  My intent was to do eight strips of 2.5 inches wide each when sewed together.  That means I should have cut each strip to be 3.5 inches wide, to allow for a half inch seam on the top and on the bottom. The length of each strip should be the desired length of your rectangle. 

So, I messed up with my measuring and sewing, and made the strips too small, so instead I decided to make them gradually wider as the skirt got longer. If it doesn't work, make it a design feature, I say!

To sew the strips together, place them right sides together and sew. Then place the next strip right sides together with the last one and sew. Continue. Here's a photo to illustrate:
Pieced Striped Satin Skirt by Cicely Ingleside
There's a blue strip underneath this pink one that I am sewing.

You will probably want to do a lining for this, to cover up the seams. My pink fabric was horrible in terms of fraying - I understood why it had been on sale for $2/yard. Sew on the lining to the fabric. Then sew the back piece to the front piece along one side. With pins, pleat the top of the skirt so that it is the same width as the elastic band. (Here is where I should have measured twice and cut sewed once. Ooops. Made the skirt a little too tight.) Sew a seam through your pleats, then sew on the elastic band.

Pieced Striped Satin Skirt by Cicely Ingleside

And you're done!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Poufy! Ethereal! Light! Tulle Skirt Round-Up for SONP

Hi everyone!  This is my first Round-Up for the sewing series “The Summer of No Pants”, hosted by Marigold of Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky! Today, I’ve got some links to inspire you and help you to integrate lovely summer light-weight fabrics like tulle into your sewing.

Full-Tulle Skirts - Tutorials and Patterns

A full tulle skirt can be nice and dressy for going to weddings, or birthdays, or any of those many occasions we’ll have over the summer. But you can wear it every day, too. To dress it down, try wearing it with a casual t-shirt or sweater and flats.
These links will give you full instructions on how to make a tulle skirt, so you can choose your favorite method. 
Clockwise from top left:

  1.  DIY Tulle Skirt Tutorial by Cotton and Curls 
  2. DIY Tutu Skirt: Must Make Party Skirt by By Hand London. This skirt has a top layer of patterned sheer material – another option to consider.
  3. Tulle Skirt Tutorial by Sew Much Ado
  4. Tulle Skirt Tutorial by Melly Sews (She also has a tutorial for making that velvet blazer!) This woman really knows her sewing.
  5. Estelle Skirt Pattern by Violette Field Threads (downloadable PDF for purchase). There is also a pattern for the same skirt in Girls’ sizes, called the Ellie. 

Top Layer in Tulle

For a more subtle, less full effect, you can add tulle as the top layer of a skirt. Clockwise from top left:

  1. The Sheer Thing Skirt Tutorial by Leafy Treetop Spot
  2. Amalia Tulle Skirt by Anthropologie. This skirt has a layer of tulle on the top. The shape would be relatively simple to sew, and a similar mottled pattern could be achieved with some fabric dye and creative tie-dying to your under-fabric. Or you could just buy a patterned fabric! Hmmm, yes, that’s a little simpler. I’m getting carried away here.
  3. Ballerina Dress by Kojo Designs

Coloured Tulle

Don’t be scared to try colour!

Top two photos:  Add coloured tulle as a surprise underneath a plain or patterned skirt. (Photos from Pinterest. Sources unknown.)

Bottom left:   Shoreline Dress Ombre Bodice Tutorial by iCandy Handmade. Shows you how to achieve this ombre look on a dress bodice – all using the same colour tulle. Just do this on top of your own bodice pattern.

Bottom right:   This skirt I made (unfortunately before I saw all these great tutorials) uses a few different complementary colours of tulle in its layers.

Bits of Tulle

There are other ways to use tulle, other than making a full skirt. I’ve been seeing a lot of sweaters and knits with lace popping up in unexpected places, and tulle can work in that way too, such as in this photo. (Pinterest, source unknown.)

One small line of tulle at the bottom of a skirt can give it volume and kick. I can’t find any online inspiration for this, but I’ll show you the inside of one of my own favorite skirts. On the left is the official photo of the Galloping Filly Skirt from Anthropologie (circa 2010), and on the right is my terrible iPhone shot of the layer underneath. Bad photography aside, this shows a cotton lining, with some gathered tulle sewn at the bottom. I think this extra detail is why I bought the skirt in the first place. I still wear this all the time.

Glamming It Up

Now, if you are going to a wedding or something and really want to go all-out, you can glam it up. 
  1. You could add some embroidery patches, for this kind of effect. (Left photo: Oscar de la Renta Spring/Summer 2013) To do this the inexpensive and quick way, buy embroidery patches cheap from Etsy, or find an old tablecloth or garment, and cut out the embroidered bits you like. Then use double-sided fusible web from your local fabric store to iron it on.
  2. Or add some sparkle detail – sew them on, or possibly use a glue gun. (Right photo from Pinterest - source unknown.)

Finally, you can check out my Tulle and Taffeta Pinterest board for more links.

Now, seriously, you have enough links to keep you busy, so I'd better stop here.  Happy dreaming, and sewing!  

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

SONP Week 3: Nani Iro Simple Skirt - Semi-Tutorial

Nani Iro Simple Skirt Semi-Tutorial by Cicely Ingleside

Wow!  So I think this was the quickest sewing project yet. AND I didn't use a pattern. Woot!

It is week 3 of the Summer of No Pants, and I made myself a skirt. A while back, I had made my daughter a  dress with double gauze cotton and thought it was incredibly nice material. It really does feel just like two layers of gauze. It's super light and soft - perfect for summer. So, I thought I would make myself something with it too.

I had bought 1.5 yards of this material; it is called Fuccra: Rakuen by Nani Iro - a line by the Japanese designer Naomi Ito. I don't really know what that name means, except that I now know that there are a number of really fabulous Japanese fabric lines. This was purchased from Miss Matatabi on Etsy.

Nani Iro Simple Skirt Semi-Tutorial by Cicely Ingleside

I thought about making a bubble skirt with pick ups, but decided I didn't want to obscure the fabric pattern. By now, I had read a number of DIY-Easy-Skirt Tutorials, and I thought I would take the risk of improvising.

I have a number of these tutorials bookmarked on my Pinterest board for Women's sewing tutorials and for Girls' sewing tutorials - in case anyone else wants some references. 

Here's what I did:

For the waist, I had this ribbed material in my stash - I think it might be for t-shirt necks. I measured my waist, and made it loose, cause I like my skirts loose, and find it is more flattering if they sit lower on my waist. The piece was twice as tall as what you see. I put right sides together, and sewed one seam so that it became a circle.

Then I cut the skirt material into a rectangle. The width was a little over twice my waist size. The length was as long as I wanted.  Had to do one seam on each side to put two pieces together and construct the rectangle. Super simple. 

I decided to do a gathered waist - I had some practice recently from doing dresses for my daughter. If you've never done this, then you just put your sewing maching on the longest stitch length, and without backstitching, stitch a line along the top of your skirt - say, 1cm (3/8 inch) in. Then grab the thread which is hanging off the end, and pull it so that your material gathers to the size of your belt. There is a very good tutorial by An of Straight Grain here.

I folded my belt in half lengthwise, so that it's 'height' is what you see in the pics. I placed my skirt right sides together with the belt, lining up the raw edge of the belt with the top raw edge of the skirt. (Both raw edges were facing up, with the skirt sort of inside of the belt.)

Then I pinned and sewed. Opened it up and I was done!  I didn't even have to hem the bottom, because I placed the selvedge there.

Nani Iro Simple Skirt Semi-Tutorial by Cicely Ingleside

You may notice some very boring taupe walls behind me in these pictures. Taupe walls, your days are numbered!  I just took delivery of some Mr. Perswall wallpaper - am very exicted!!! It may take until the end of summer (I'll be too busy wearing no pants), but will post some pictures when done.

Happy skirt wearing.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

SONP Week 2: Art Deco Summer Dress

Art Deco Summer Dress by Cicely Ingleside

It is Week 2 of the Summer of No Pants - a skirt and dress making challenge. My project this week came about from me, once again, drooling over the fabric designs on Spoonflower

I was admiring all of the art deco inspired fabrics that people had designed, and I decided to make myself something with one of them. I picked this design with the peacocks on it, and ordered it in organic cotton sateen. I just tried to find its page on Spoonflower, but the system says this fabric is no longer available. Strange. 

Art Deco Summer Dress by Cicely Ingleside

I had also been admiring this pattern for the Burda Bow front dress, which I downloaded online. I thought that the loose fit was kind of 20s-reminiscent and so it was suitable for an art deco theme.

The pattern was nice and simple, and the fact that it had once-piece front and one-piece back made it easy for me to center the design on both sides. But hoo-boy!  I understood almost nothing of the pattern instructions!  I was guessing what they were trying to say, and ended up pretty much just making up how the dress went together. Maybe someone more experienced than me might find it easy to understand, but if you are a beginner, beware! 

One more reason that patterns by independent bloggers, Etsy sellers, and smaller companies are a better way to go than the big commercial companies!

The dress is comfortable, though, and after this photoshoot, I decided to keep it on and wear it for the day.  Here's a pic of me, de-glammed (pony tail, cardigan, sneakers) ready to take my daughter out for errand-running. (Don't pay attention to the messy bedroom.) I think I might like the dress better all casual this way!

Art Deco Summer Dress by Cicely Ingleside

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