Welcome back to this project! I really loved making and wearing this and I am pretty chuffed with the result. So with the blouse and the vest completed, I moved on to the skirt.
The skirt is made of the pink fabric I showed in my previous post. I am not exactly sure what the fiber content of it is, probably something poly, but it drapes like rayon. It was £5 p/m in Goldhawk Road, and I bought five meters. I decided to do a double full circle skirt for this project. I love circle skirts but I wanted this one to be super extra. A double full circle skirt is essentially two circle skirts in one skirt, which means it eats up a lot of fabric.
This was my first time making one, and I made a rookie mistake I will mention further on.
If you don’t like maths, By Hand London have an awesome circle skirt calculator. Otherwise, I also recommend Angela Clayton’s circle skirt tutorial. For a double full circle skirt, select full circle skirt in the calculator put only put in half your waist’s measurements.
Then cut the pattern out! I did some folding magic so that I only had two pieces to unite, so I only had two seams.
However, here was my mistake: after drawing out the pattern, I got too excited and cut it immediately. Without adding seam allowances. So the skirt is a little tight around the waist. Don’t forget your seam allowances!
After cutting out the skirt, I let it hang overnight so that the bias could stretch.
I then rearranged the pattern to be shorter, for my overlay. However I now realized that I didn’t buy enough fabric of the overlay to make it a double full circle skirt so I drafted a new pattern for a full circle skirt (originally I’d thought it’d make it a gathered overlay). I cut out the overlay and let it hang overnight too.
The next day, I arranged the patterns over the respective fabrics and made sure the hem was even.
For the skirt, I sewed up both side seams with a french seam, leaving a 7” gap on the left hand side seam. This will be the closure.
For the overlay, I used my over locked and did a rolled hem on all edges. Then I positioned it over the skirt and tacked them together at the top, leaving a one inch gap at the center front. However… the closure isn’t at the center front. So I went ahead and put in the zipper on the skirt side seam. Then I cut a slash on the overlay that matched the position of the zipper and very carefully turned those raw edges under and sewed them down by hand. Then I machine stitched the two layers together across the top edge, where I had previously hand-tacked them together.
I realise that the more trouble-shooting I have to do the less photos I take!
I made a waistband for the top of the skirt. It was a long rectangle equal to my waist measurement plus seam allowance, which I interfaced and ironed in the half (width wise). Then I sewed the edges together, right sides facing each other, and turned them out. Then I sewed the waistband to the skirt top, right sides facing together, with a half an inch seam allowance. I ironed the waistband up and slotted the fabric into the fold, finishing the inside by hand with a whip-stitch (pretty much the same method I use for any cuffs ever, also described in the Angela Clayton tutorial I linked above).
Because the skirt was a little tight at the waist, I thought the side closure looked a little awkward so I decided to add some ties that I could make into a pretty bow. For this, I cut two long and thin rectangles of fabric, which were then sewed into tubes and turned the right side out. I finished the raw edges and then sewed them onto the skirt side seam by hand.
The last thing to tackle was the skirt hem. Unfortunately I didn’t check again to see if it had warped some more, because I think it did and so the hem is a little uneven. But at the time I just went ahead and finished it with horsehair braid. I sewed 2” wide horsehair braid to the right side of the skirt hem, with a half inch seam allowance. Then I ironed it towards the inside, pinned it and sewed it down by hand using a herringbone stitch.
I also made an impromptu 1950s inspired petticoat to wear with this (my Sakura petticoat was too short and fluffy for this skirt).
The petticoat consists of three layers: a waist panel (to keep bulk off the waistline), a shorter gathered layer and a longer gathered layers.
For the waist panel, I draped it on my dress form, shaping it by adding side seams.
For the first layer, I ripped several strips of organza that were 8” wide. I did this by marking them all in a row and then ripping. This isn’t the most accurate method, but it was quick and it got the job done.
Then I seamed all the edges together, making it one long strip. I then sewed two rows of gathering stitches along one of the long edges and gathered it down to match the bottom edge of my waist panel.
I repeated the same method for the second tier on the petticoat, but I think this one was 12” or something wide. The only difference was that before sewing and gathering, I finished the bottom edge with a mix of bias tape and ribbon.
I think I prefer the bias tape to the ribbon as it gives it a bit more body, but I ran out so I used ribbon for some of it.
Then I gathered the top down to match the second tier of the petticoat and sewed it together. Then I used ribbon to cover that seam.
Then I sewed it to the waist panel and also finished that seam by covering it in ribbon. I threaded some ribbon through the waistband channel and it was done!
And the costume was done! I bought a wig from WigIsFashion and made small flowers from scraps of fabric and buttons, which I then hot glued to some bobbin pins. I styled the wig by dampening the hair and then using medium sized hair curlers. I left them overnight and removed them the next day. Paired with my American Duchess shoes, the costume was complete!