Friday, April 24, 2015

Rocking the Polka Dot Circle Skirt

April 23, 2015 marks the day I first realized I could stick a flash behind my head and look like Jesus.
And verily, I say unto you:  Thou shalt press as you sew.
Oh, the joys of rim lighting.

Let's talk about circle skirts.  This was one of my first really successful projects, and I pulled it off with a minimum of problems.

The fabric, a white, mid-weight linen with polka dots in light and dark purple, lime and Army green, and black, was purchased at the late lamented Silk Road Fabrics in Austin, TX.  The linen originally had a fairly stiff hand, but has gotten soft and drapey as the years have gone by.  It was also one of the survivors of the Great Apartment Mold Disaster of Grad School.  Long live the linen skirt!
I didn't have a circle skirt pattern, so I adapted the skirt from a re-issued 1950's Vintage Vogue pattern, V2902.  The skirt in the pattern is a circle skirt formed from two half-circles; I didn't have enough fabric for that, so I used a half-circle for the skirt front and two quarter-circles for the back, with a center back seam.
I generally prefer to use as few seams as possible when I'm working with a print, but in this case, I think the back seam is hardly noticeable.
I added an invisible zipper as the side zipper, and inserted it by hand.
From there, I made a waistband out of a rectangle of fabric and sewed it on.  The width of the waistband was more or less dictated by the amount of fabric I had left.  At the time, I didn't have hooks and eyes for a closure, so I used snaps.  Conventional wisdom would suggest that this is bad, but I've had this skirt for years at this point, and I've never had problems with the snaps coming undone while I was wearing the skirt.
From there, I hemmed it with a narrow-ish hem (1").  It's just turned and stitched; nothing fancy.  It's important to keep the hem of a circle skirt narrow so you don't have to deal with too much fullness.  It's also important to let the skirt hang for a while so that the bias can stretch out.  If you don't let the fabric stretch out beforehand, the hem on the finished skirt won't be even, and can actually distort badly.  After the fabric stretches out, you'll probably need to cut additional fabric off at the bottom of the skirt to make the hem straight again.
So, when the skirt is hanging straight down, I feel like it's not all that remarkable, and that it falls at kind of an odd length.
It has a lot of fullness, though, which is really fantastic.
But the best part is that IT'S GREAT FOR TWIRLING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Did I mention that it feels awesome to wear?
EXTRA TWIRLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You know, I think I actually can't fault the length-- the weight of the fabric keeps the skirt from flipping up too much when I twirl.  Horray for the polka dotted circle skirt!

In other news, I have to pass along this article featuring color portraits from 1913-- I love how the clothes are more than 100 years old, but still look modern and timeless.