You know, having recently browsed the runway shows and then written my latest trends blog post I decided to try out the midi skirt trend for myself in the form of a velvet midi skirt. I was inspired by Instagrammers and bloggers to try out velvet and it’s trending in a major way this season. It’s been a very long time since I made some up, so I thought, why not go for it? I’ve seen several pleat-effect velvets around and they look great made up in midi skirts. Just a simple piece of fabric eased or gathered up into a waistband…easy right? Well, yes, in theory, as you’ll find out if you keep reading….
I found, not a pleated fabric, but more of a crushed velvet with the crushed effect in lines that give a vibe of pleats. It came from Truro Fabrics and they still have some in stock as I write this. I ordered about 1.2 metres of it.
My skirt is pretty much self-designed and drafted using this drawing as my starting point :
My drawing shows decorative elastic around all but the centre section, which is flat, to be more forgiving over the tummy area. I changed up my design a bit more and added a chevron effect by using the cross-way direction of the crushed lines for a more striking look. Excited to get going, I cut a length of fabric for the main skirt body and then joined to it the centre section that was made from bias lengths pieced together. I was tootling along beautifully and after I basted the fancy elastic (sourced from MacCulloch and Wallis) around the top…… I tried it on…..but, I reeeaaallly didn’t like it…. It felt way too poofy around my middle and the elastic sat high in my waist making me feel and look short waisted too. Here’s a photo of it that I shared on Instagram of how the elastic was stitched at the waistline:
We all have sweet spots for how we like clothes to look and feel, and it was plainly obvious to me that this skirt shape wasn’t hitting my sweet spot. Operation SMS(save my skirt!) was the only way forward.
After digging around in my workroom waste bin (don’t worry, only fabric and no yucky food scraps were in it…well, maybe a chocolate wrapper or two :)), I found enough offcuts for some waist facing. Then a dig in my zip box unearthed a brown zip with decorative antique brass teeth. My save was to make a back seam and insert an exposed zipper, then to make two vertical waistline tucks on each side at the back, one each side at the front plus a long angled side dart. I literally just kept pinning until I made the waistline fit my waist measurement.
I attached some interfaced facings around the top of the skirt, then under-stitched and pressed them to the inside. It made for a nice smooth, flat finish which to my eye looks so much better than all the elastic poofyness. As my zipper was shorter than I would have liked I stitched it in place with a space above it and I filled in the gap at the top with a decorative tab and antique metal button. Much better! A little extra thing that I did was to sew a stabilising piece of lining across the front bias section just where it goes across my tummy. It stops the bias fabric from stretching out of shape, plus it feels nice and secure. All done!
I love how it turned out in the end and was so glad that I found a way around it to make it feel like ‘me’. We live and learn eh?
PS, a little note about pressing velvet. I have a velvet board that I bought years ago. It’s like a mini bed of pins that go into the pile of the velvet as you press. I find it invaluable, but a search online to see if they were still being made (they are) tells me that if I were to buy one today it would be rather costly. It’s probably the kind of thing that you could ask for as a Christmas or Birthday present. I’m also told that if you use another piece of velvet in place of the velvet board, you can press using that. I can’t say how good a result you would get, as I’ve never tried it myself. Let me know in the comments if you’ve made up velvet before, or if you’ve used a velvet board or a piece of velvet for pressing. Are you sewing any velvet at the moment? I really love the idea of some drapey velvet jersey knit. I have SewBrum coming up soon, so may add it to my shopping list.
Until next time then!
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