Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sewing a basic drawstring skirt

Ever since I made a new dress for the Regency ball, I keep thinking about all the things I can make with my sewing machine. I love clothes but they're hard to find and I'm poor. That means I also need to find ways to make sewing cheaper--that Regency dress cost me almost $200 in materials. So, I checked out my local thrift store, where I found a single curtain panel for $3.99 (pictured left--on the right is a $7 skirt). 

The material is very sturdy. It has a slight stretch, and it also won't rip easily. I like the plaid pattern--if I had more of the material I would have turned it diagonal for some movement in the design. This is the "skirtain" I made: 

The skirt is made from two panels, one for front and one for back. The back panel goes slightly higher (for my booty). If I had wanted a walking slit in the skirt, I would have made 3 panels rather than trying to sew in a placket. I decided against a slit because (1) this was only my second attempt and (2) the material is strong. Also, I was able to use the former side seams of the curtain for my bottom hem, so it looks beautifully finished. 

I didn't use a pattern. I researched different web pages and videos to get guidance, then I measured at the waist and hips, measured how far down I wanted extra ease at the hips and how low I wanted the skirt to hit (length was adjusted from the top because of the original hem). I also looked at one of my other skirts to see how wide it should be at the bottom (same as at my waist, incidentally). 

The easiest step was sewing the panels together. Then it was time to make the waist. After folding down the waist material to see where the ribbon should fall, I put in two eyelets in the back centerI decided only to put a drawstring in back, because I wanted the skirt flat in front--this was hard. After sewing one end of each ribbon to the side seam, I fed each through an eyelet. That was easy. What wasn't so easy was making sure I didn't hit the ribbon when I sewed down the waistband. I'm pretty sure there's an easier way to do it, but this worked. 

I've sewn one more skirt since then. It's made of grey material and has a decorative stitch on the hem, thanks to the fancy new machine my mother gave me. I cut just one panel that I seamed in back, and I put in a slit. I think it would have been better to use 3 panels to make the skirt fall better. I'll try to get a picture later. 

My next sewing project will be an actual dress. I learn a little more with each project, so we'll see what lessons are waiting for me.