handsewn skirts

If you missed it last week, I have a pile of new patterns out – the Davenport Collection and Stoddard with Harrisville Designs! That one will get its own blog post this week.

In the meantime, non-knitted finished objects! I finally got off my lazy behind and made a couple of skirts. I love them. My sewing machine is still out of commission, so they’re completely hand-stitched.

stripey skirt

I didn’t want to use “special” fabric for the first one, so I used this random cotton stripey fabric that I bought at the Textile Museum earlier this year. I even managed to line up the stripes at the sides! I used this circle skirt grading worksheet to draft my pattern onto some big paper, which worked perfectly. This one is a half circle, made from 2 pieces sewn together at the sides.

The waistband is organic cotton jersey – it isn’t the stretchiest stuff, this particular one, and it’s a bit bandage-y looking in the natural colour, but it is super comfy. I used this tutorial to make the pattern piece, but sewed it down a bit differently.

I wanted the edge where the woven and jersey met to be covered, so I sewed one edge of the waistband to the top of the body with right sides together, then folded it in half to the inside of the skirt with the edge tucked under to cover the edge. For both waistband seams, I used herringbone stitch – easier than it looks, and maintains the stretch. The second waistband seam is on the outside of the skirt, which I quite like. The thread is white, so it’s pretty subtle.

stripey skirt

The hem was just rolled under, then sewn with a running stitch. I like the way it looks over a blind hem stitch. Bonus: very mysterious, weirdly angled photo of me wearing it.

stripey skirt

stripe skirt modeled

My second skirt is a full circle, which I meant to cut out as half-circle pieces. I used extra-wide fabric though, and folded it twice – so I ended up with just one piece for the whole circle! I could’ve cut them apart and sewn them back together for the stability of a seam, but I’m okay just trying this one out. I guess it might droop?

blue full skirt

I used the same tutorials for this one, but I shortened the waistband by 1″ (total, so the pattern piece is 12″ deep) and used interlock, which came out a touch big. Note to self, really cut stretch stuff small! My backup plan is to add elastic inside the waistband if it’s really too big after some wearing.

The skirt body is chambray and the waistband is random interlock from the Textile Museum sale. For this one I actually used the guide on my dressform to pin up the hem properly before hemming it. I also just used a straight running stitch to secure the outside of the waistband.

blue full skirt

I’ve gained weight over the last year or two, and I find myself pretty well between straight and plus sizes these days. It’s been frustrating trying to shop for clothes! I whine about it plenty, but sewing my own pieces, even if it’s just a few things, has been a really empowering way to view my size objectively rather than judging it (ugh, my stomach/boobs/arms are too huge for all these stores). Plus, these skirts are unique, comfortable, and totally fit me. And even with the handsewing, they didn’t take too long – about 4-5 hours for the striped one, a little longer for the blue one (since the full circle skirt hem is so long!).

I know I’m lucky to be able to have the time to make these things myself, and I’m really grateful for that. Now I just want to buy oodles of fabric!



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3 responses to “handsewn skirts”

  1. Sierra Avatar

    This post was very empowering. I love both pieces and the fact that they are hand sewn. I also appreciate how candid you are about the difficulty of shopping for a body that stores don’t match. I think that many of us has been there, and it is lovely to know that beautiful, talented designers experience it, too! In the same vein, I love that you model your own designs. It is fantastic to see knits on women who look like me with a direct connection to the sweaters. Thank you for everything you contribute!

  2. Margie Avatar

    I began sewing before I learned to knit. Making your own clothes is so empowering. It’s difficult for most people to find what they want to buy in a size that fits well. I would never have thought to sew clothes by hand, though! I am in awe of your patience and determination.

  3. Celly Avatar

    I’m stuck in the lull between straight and plus sizes, too! I feel your frustration with that. You came up with beautiful solutions!

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