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Monday, October 24, 2011

Folded Miniskirt Nr.2

UPDATE: The sewing pattern for this skirt is available HERE!

This is my outcome of the tutorial! Hm, I wish I had taken better pictures. I miss my pretty flowered wallpaper! Our wooden cabin is great but the windows are tiny, so I have to take pics outside.

I wore this outfit (minus boots, plus allstars and legwarmers) to a Katzenjammer concert the other night. I love the effect of the double layered tights: first layer is my mustard tights, second layer is zebra print tights. Although, as someone remarked, they could also be tiger tights now. Both are fine with me! What I like less is that it already has holes in it. How do you keep your tights from tearing? Do you have a trick or do you just buy tights you like in threefold?

I don't think I have much to add about the skirt. The fabric is a much better quality than the first skirt, although my machine did not really care about that. Stef laughed at me when I said my miniskirt was warm, but it is! It is double layered and the fabric is thick. Well, you know how it is made now, and I hope you'll let me know when you've made one!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Folded Miniskirt Tutorial

UPDATE: The sewing pattern for this skirt is available HERE!

FINALLY! Here it is: 8 steps to having your own folded miniskirt! The first skirt was made in a couple of hours, without any measuring. I just draped, fit, cut. Whereas this tutorial easily took me 15 hours! But, a promise is a promise, and I'd love to see you making it. Good luck! Here we go:
Difficulty: Intermediate. It's based on the Drapedrape dress no 7, and it has the same 'what am I looking at here' feel to it. At one point you'll think, 'what a mess' and then it just clicks and you have a beautiful skirt. This click does not seem to happen with everyone, showing from the comments. If you're not sure about it: wait for the pattern!

One meter/yard is more than enough. I used jersey on both skirts, but you could use anything. A heavier fabric will make bigger folds, a fabric that creases easily will make sharp folds. Just remember that with no stretch you'll need to make a closing, and the fabric-heavy side seams are not suitable for a zipper. I do not use a closing on the skirt, I sort of wriggle myself into it. Yes, it's these kind of weird things that made me hesitate to make a tutorial, because now you can all see the shortcuts I take.

Nothing fancy, just pins, maybe chalk, ruler, scissors.

Step 1: Pattern pieces & measurements
The pattern pieces for this skirt are so easy, you can draw your own right on the fabric. For this you need your measurements. Measure the circumference of the widest point of your hips. For me this is at my lower hip bones. This is what we'll transfer to the pattern. You will need:

1) front
I used my measurements as an example: 100 cm. For the width, use this formula: ([measurement]/2)+10. So for me this is (100/2)+10=60 cm. The length is 67 cm in total, including 1,5 cm seam allowance at top and bottom.

2) back
The width of the back will then be ([measurement]/2)-10, which is 40 cm for me. The length is also 67 cm.

3) lining
The lining will have the same width as the front piece (60 for me), but half of the length, which is 33,5. I used the same fabric for this, but you could use something else too, as long as it's stretch.

We are working with a few centimeters of excess fabric, so if the pieces are a bit off here and there during the assembling, don't worry.

Step 2: Cut fabric & mark with pins.
Cut the pattern pieces: front (67x[front measurement]), back (67x[back measurement]) and lining (33,5 x [front measurement]). On the right side of the front piece, mark the edges on the distances (in cm) indicated below. You could use chalk for this, but I used colored pins to indicated what part folds to what: in the pattern indicated with blue and purple.

Step 3: Start folding!
Use the image above, and start folding the skirt at the bottom. Start with the first small purple fold on the right, from 0 to 4 cm, like this:

I used yellow and red pins on my fabric. Fold the bottom of the fabric to the back (including the seam allowance). On the left, fold in only the seam allowance. Pin in place. Then, fold the small purple on the left in the same way, together with the big blue fold on the right. Follow the numbers in the drawing. The blue fold lays over the small fold. To make things clear, I made a video of folding the first three folds, so you can see how it works. The X marks are the small purple folds, the circles mark the big blue folds.

Continue to fold the pins as shown in the pattern. The small purple ones form a fold across the skirt with the big blue ones. When you're done, the fabric should look like this:

Use pins to hold the folds in place. Be careful when you move the fabric: if you pick it up the folds will unfold. Make sure the height is the same on the left and right side, 32 cm. If not, adjust the folds a bit.

Step 4: Add lining
Take out the pin at the bottom of the skirt so you can pin the lining to it. Put the lining on the front piece, right sides together. Pin the bottom of the lining to the seam allowance of the front piece, then turn it around and fold the lining over the back of the front. The bottom of the lining is at an angle, which means you need to cut a bit off the top. Don't let the seam fall exactly at the bottom, but leave 0,5 cm at the bottom of the front part. This will make the bottom of the front part look like a fold, too. No seams will be visible on the outside. The back of your fabric should look like this now:

 If it looks right, sew the lining to the front piece at the part you just pinned.

Step 5: Secure the folds
Now, you're going to secure every individual fold to the lining. First, pin the bottom in place to make sure you don't shift it while pinning. Then, move your hand under the fold, in between the fabric, until your fingertips feel the fold on the inside. Put pins along the fold right where your fingertips are. If you're doing it right, no pins should be visible on the front.

Then, sew the part you just pinned with a zig-zag. Continue this for the other folds, too. The picture below indicates in yellow where your zig zag seams should be. Be sure to sew the right side of the fold, so that it doesn't show on the outside. I'd recommend pinning and sewing one fold at a time, instead of pinning all and then sewing all, to make sure the lining is not pulling on the front.

Step 6: Add back
Lay the front piece on the back piece, right sides up, like in the picture below. You can see that I already cut the pieces according to my shape, but you will do this when fitting the skirt. I had the advantage to be working with a finished skirt so I could just transfer the measurements.

Fold the back piece over the front piece, and pin them together. The front will bubble a bit inside the back, as it is wider. Then, pull the front all the way out of between the back pieces, and turn the back piece inside out.

Step 7: Try it on!
This is where you will do the fitting. Try it on, and put pins on the places at the seam where you want to take it in. I took in fabric at the top, obviously, and at the bottom. It is now snug and follows my curves. As you can see, the bulk of fabric created at the side seams doesn't really show because the seams lay more to the back than exactly at the side. For someone with big hips like me, this is really fortunate. If you are satisfied with the fit, sew the side seams and cut off the excess fabric. There is no need to finish the seams because there aren't any!

Step 8: Add waistband
Draft a waistband according to the measurements of your skirt. Make the front piece longer than the back piece so as to match the side seams of the skirt. Unfortunately, I am not an expert on waistbands. I just drafted a standard, slightly curved 4 cm high waistband. Four pieces in total, sewn together at the top, turned, joined at the side and sewn to the skirt (with small zig-zag, or another way to keep the horizontal stretch). To secure the inside piece I stitched in the ditch of the front seam. I hope you are better at this than I am, this usually takes me some fitting turns and a lot of adjusting pins. If necessary, you can make two small pleats on the back piece of the skirt, like I did with my first skirt. For some reason, it wasn't necessary this time. Maybe it has something to do with the fabric.

That's it, you're done! 
I hope this tutorial makes sense. If you have any questions or problems, just leave a comment or send me an email so I can help you or add things. And, ofcourse, if you use this on your blog, please link back to it. Also, this tutorial is intended for personal use only.

I'm very pleased with my finished skirt, and I'll show it as soon as I have the opportunity to make some decent photo's!

UPDATE: check out my second skirt!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Yay & Argh

The good news: I've started working on the tutorial! I'm 3/4 finished, it'll really be up soon!

The bad news: This is supposed to be a zig-zag stitch.

My machine only has one speed at the moment: SUPERFAST. Which I should have fixed back home, but I didn't because I sort of got used to it. Now it's really annoying because with this fabric (very pretty heavy weight teal jersey) it keeps skipping stitches and slicing the thread. I've tried all the different needles I've got, different tensions, but to no avail. When I was ready to throw it out of the window, I took a break (tea and chocolate, always helps) and then dissected the presser foot.

I couldn't find the problem, so I guess I'm stuck with it. Good thing that this skirt has no visible seams on the outside...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

What I'm working on

It's been a while since I've posted anything, so I thought I'd let you in on what I'm working on. There's been a tug-o-war going on in my head. On one side, there is the miniskirt tutorial I promised you. I brought the fabric with me, and I'd really like to make another skirt. On the other side is a sweater which I really need because temperatures will drop below zero the coming week. So, I don't know who will win, but you'll find out next week! The good thing is that I finally have some time to actually make something because I gave myself the day off on monday.

Then, I made some sketches for another project I brought fabric for: a jersey dress. 3/4 bat sleeves, balloon skirt, matching stripes. A skill-improving project! Really excited about starting that one as well, but it's third on the priority list.

I am so happy I brought my own fabrics, since the fabric store only has quilting cotton, and everything is way overprized anyway. I need something to underline the jersey dress with though, preferebly another stretch fabric. Today I found a Norwegian online fabric store Stof og Stil. I'm really excited about their printed jerseys.

How cute are these dachshunds? I'd love to wear something with snails, but this color is really hard to match (check this, I'm actually thinking about matching before I buy the fabric! Improvements, people). The pink owls would fit in my fall palette and I've been looking for an owl print for a long time. But, maybe the fact that these designs are shown on children is saying something... Am I too old for a Dachshund shirt?

The most exciting thing is their rainclothing fabric.  They have it in six colors and one with a circle print. They even have iron-on strips to make the seams waterproof. How awesome would it be to make my own rainjacket? I wish I didn't have to choose between all these projects...