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Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Self drafted black circle skirt - Part 1

My first sewing post! 
I'm excited because as much as I love painting my nails, sewing is my true love, I just need to find the time for it! Since my sewing machine went off to the doctor to be serviced (the foot control stopped obeying me and my machine was sewing all by itself) I had to start a project that could be mostly done on my overlocker (that's a serger, but in Australia it's an overlocker so that's what I'll be calling it).

I bought some black ponte knit at Spotlight over the christmas break as I wanted a swishy skirt that I could dress down or up depending on what I was doing. The black ponte knit has a sheen on one side and makes it night time appropriate as it's not a dull fabric but it's not completely synthetic feeling. I bought 2 metres of the stuff, so needless to say I have a lot left over, maybe for some shorts. I will add a gold exposed zip to dress it up a bit.

For the pattern, I have a self-drafted waistband that fits me quite well which I traced from my favourite pair of ready to wear (RTW) shorts. The circle skirt is also self-drafted as you don't need a pattern for that as long as you know your waist measurement and the length you'd like to skirt to be. I bought some whisperweft interfacing which I have heard good things about but never used. I though I bought one especially for knits, but it turns out it's woven so I'll be using it on the bias to keep the stretch of the ponte knit. 

All my materials and equipment! Black ponte knit, gold metal
zip, stretch pins, shears, interfacing and chaco pen.

First I started off with the waistband which I traced onto the ponte knit and onto the interfacing. Tturns out the ponte knit is a b!tch pain to cut through and i could only cut 2 layers at a time with my shears. So I had to trace each piece twice. When tracing onto the interfacing, I folded a corner over so that I could have my waistband pieces cut on the bias. Because my ponte knit is stretchy I didn't want to lose the stretch or have weird pulling due to the interfacing.

Interfacing on the bias to allow for stretch.
I used my overlocker to stitch the waistband and facing together. I used a 3-thread overlock (I removed the left needle) to allow the seam to stretch. The 4-thread is stronger but eliminates the stretch, so I opted for the 3-thread. I probably should have removed the right needle to get a wider stitch but this seems to work for now. I made sure my fabric was lined up well so I didn't miss any which would have resulted in holes.

3-thread overlock stitch on waistband.
When the waistband was done, I started on the skirt. There's a bit of calculating involved in a circle skirt, but it's quite easy. I've included a photo of my sketch and calculations in case anyone was interested. This is a full circle skirt, for half or three quarter circle skirts different calcs are required.

Full circle skirt calculations. All measurements are in inches.

Once I have the inner radius (R1) I used a tape measure to draw my pattern onto the fabric. The fabric is folded in quarters which will give me one large circle so no side seems are required. Next I traced on the outer radius (R2) which will dictate the length of my skirt. I wanted the skirt to be around mid-thigh. 

Drawing my pattern on to the fabric for the skirt.
I used a rotary cutter and cutting mat to cut out the skirt. My shears were having difficulty with the 4 layers of the ponte knit and I didn't want to unfold the skirt.

Skirt cut out using rotary cutter and mat.
Once everything was cut out I cut a slit in the back for the zipper and then matched the waist seem on the skirt with the waistband. I had about 1 inch of excess fabric for the skirt, so I eased the fabric into the waistband to make it match completely. This way I don't need to take in the skirt at the back. I then overlocked the two parts together using the 3-thread stitch again.

Pinned waistband seem with easing.
Once all the pieces were overlocked, I then put the left needle back in and overlocked the bottom of the skirt to make it easier when I hem it.

Skirt hem overlocked.
I also overlocked the facing to make it a bit neater. I will stitch it down to the maistband by hand to conceal all the interfacing and make it pretty :)

Waistband facing overlocked.

That's all I was able to do on the overlocker. I'll wait for my sewing machine to get back before I insert the zip and stitch everything down.

I'm not sure whether I want to add a lining as this will make it wearable with tights which is good for winter but the skirt is already so heavy with the ponte knit. I can always attach a lining to the facing though, what do you think?

This concludes my first sewing post. I hope you enjoyed it. Stick around for part 2 of the ponte knit circle skirt.

Pins, Patterns and Polish

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