Self-Drafted Copper-Brown Velvet Midi Skirt

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. I was inspired too by Instagrammers and bloggers to try out velvet. Velvet is trending in a major way this season and 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?

Velvet board in action. Velvet board in action.

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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14 Comments

  1. October 20, 2017 / 6:38 pm

    What a save! You’d never know from the finished garment that it had to be rescued. I much prefer facings or stretch waistbands to elastic too – I am already short waisted and I don’t like to emphasise it so I was nodding in recognition at that part! I love your velvet press – I am sewing with velvet jersey at the moment and I use a pressing cloth but have to go very gently. I love the midi length on you too, it suits you so well!!

    • Diane G
      October 20, 2017 / 7:07 pm

      Thanks for the lovely words Helen xx. We have similar feelings about waist finishes I see :). And you’re working on velvet jersey? I would love to know where you bought it, Helen.

  2. October 20, 2017 / 7:40 pm

    Oh Di what a save … and thank goodness because I can’t tell you how much I love the look of this fabric! But now all I want is a velvet press!!!! (I’ve got plans fir a velvet dress for the Christmas celebrations…) oh and a clapper. Maybe Santa will be good to me this year?!

    • Diane G
      October 20, 2017 / 8:04 pm

      Ohh, you’re so kind Sarah. Thank you for the lovely words xx.
      I think you absolutely deserve a visit from Santa to deliver a velvet board and clapper!

  3. October 20, 2017 / 9:16 pm

    What a great skirt, and yey to the save! I love that zip, it goes so well with the fabric.

    • Diane G
      October 20, 2017 / 9:22 pm

      Thank you Lynne 😘 I was so lucky to have that zip in my stash. I don’t think I could have waited for a zip to be ordered. To impatient to finish!

  4. Beck
    October 21, 2017 / 12:11 am

    Great save Diane! This looks lovely on you, you just completely embody autumn in it!

    • Diane G
      October 21, 2017 / 8:36 am

      That’s really kind of you, thanks Beck. I can’t wait to wear my new Autumn look a lot more now.

  5. Sarah Liz
    October 21, 2017 / 6:16 am

    I really do like the pleats and zip with this – and certainly with a roll neck, you need a slim waistline on the skirt. Fantastic skirt, and there is just something so nice about midi length skirts – they move as you walk.

    • Diane G
      October 21, 2017 / 8:35 am

      Thank you Sarah Liz, I’m relieved that the pleats worked. I agree, a skirt like this needs to fit slimly at the waist. Good job I persisted with the changes. It does feek nice when I walk 😊

  6. Elizabeth Farr
    October 23, 2017 / 12:39 am

    It’s beautiful Diane, and what a save! It looks so much better without the elastic, and the center panel is really striking and adds so much depth to such a rich looking fabric. I always use large scraps of the same velvet if I’m working on a velvet project. Same for corduroy. I’ve got a colorblocked velvet dress planned with no firm dates attached to it, but it’ll be a day I want to take the time to sew slowly.

    • Diane G
      October 23, 2017 / 9:54 am

      Thank you, Elizabeth! I’m glad you like it. It was fun to play with the direction of the fabric, so I’m pleased it worked.

  7. Karie
    October 25, 2017 / 12:23 am

    What a great save on your skirt! The end result is gorgeous. I always want to like elastic waist skirts, but in the end I prefer a waistband with a zip. I’m not sewing anything with velvet at the moment, but I hope to make something this coming winter.

    • Diane G
      October 25, 2017 / 10:30 am

      I’m glad I stuck with it Karie, thank you so much. And I look forward to seeing what you make in velvet too. I’m after velvet jersey for myself at the moment.

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