Oh, people, you make me laugh. I think the comments on yesterday's post were the funniest things I have read in I don't even know how long. Oh that was funny. Action — or even alteration — by consensus doesn't seem like it will be an option here: "Cut off the sleeves!" "Don't cut off the sleeves!" "Gather it!" "Do NOT gather it!" "Cut it off!" "Wear a belt!" "NEVER EVER WEAR THAT."
Oh, man. It was like being back in the fiction writing workshop (but much, much funnier and without cigarettes). I think my favorite suggestion was to keep the "dress" and just look at it before going to the fabric store next time. I think I might do that, but I'll let you know. . . . Still giggling.
Now. Let's move on. Here is my Clafoutis Wrap Skirt. I'm very happy with it, so if you think it is hideous, do not tell me.
Cute! The wrap skirt is an awesome invention. I have several and I love them. I wanted to make a few that were A) reversable, B) didn't have a tie at the waist, because I don't like the way that looks under a shirt if you're wearing your shirt untucked, and C) just fun and colorful.
To make a pattern, I used an old wrap skirt from Boden that fits me just the way I like. But then, just because I wanted to see if the pattern would match the formula, I pulled out my copy of Sew What! Skirts: 16 Simple Styles You Can Make with Fabulous Fabrics by Francesca DenHartog and did some calculations based on the book's instructions for the Breezy Beach Wrap (without the ties). And it matched almost exactly (mine had a curvier waist, which gives you a bit more flair). The book is really cool. Filled with simple instructions for designing customized patterns for just about every kind of basic skirt, it's got lots of great information for both beginning and experienced sewers. Once you've taken your measurements, the book makes it easy to draft all sorts of waistlines, amounts of flair, styles, and various lengths, and then you can just have fun choosing fabrics.
For a wrap skirt, you have three pieces — a back and two sides/fronts cut with extended front panels that overlap. I made my overlap a bit more extended than suggested because I didn't want to worry about the skirt opening in a high wind or when I sat down — so instead of extending each front piece by six inches past center, I went with seven. My dress form is both broken and smaller than I am, so the buttons are more in front on me. To make the skirt reversable, I made two identical skirts, one for the "front" (which is actually blue, not black) and one for the "lining." I cut the waists and the hems of the pattern to fit exactly, with no seam allowances. (I used about 2 1/2 yards of fabric for each — that's probably a generous estimate, but I don't mind having leftover calico around; the amount of fabric you need will depend on your size. Bring your pattern pieces with you to the fabric store if you don't want to buy too much.) Then you just place the wrong sides together, pin, baste the edges, and finish with about 5 1/2 to 6 yards of 1" double-fold bias binding (get a little extra and make a pocket). Add two buttonholes on the front panel, add two buttons to the underlapping front panel, and voila: skirt. To reverse it, I just turned it inside out, buttoned it on the inside, and added two decorative buttons to the reversed front panel. These don't do any work (the functional buttons are on the inside, now), but they just sit there and look cute.
What I like about lining the skirt is that it is heavy. It feels very substantial when you put it on, and I personally really like that in a skirt, especially an A-line, because it makes it hang properly and keep its nice flair, without allowing the flair to all fall back in on itself. That's just me. I like to feel my skirts when I'm wearing them.
Before basting the pieces together or attaching the binding, however, I would absolutely allow the skirt to hang (baste it across the waist, first) overnight. This way it can relax and you have a better chance at making sure, once you've put the binding on, that the panels truly match up. Trim them if they don't. I didn't do that because I was too impatient, and the navy blue side of this skirt is a teeny bit longer than the yellow side, so you can see how it sort of billows on the left (in the top photo)? It doesn't take much for it to billow a bit. I pre-washed and dried all of this fabric, so we'll see what happens when it is washed again, whether it gets better or worse. Pre-washing and drying would be imperative if you are going to bind the skirt. Otherwise, things will shrink a bit at different rates, and get very puckered and wonky.
Here it doesn't matter so much, since the patches are all wonky on their own already. This one I call Country-Club Mom. It's patchworked Madras plaid (already patchworked when purchased) and the lining is nothing special, just more homespun check, so I didn't make this reversable, but it could be. The pocket is gathered at the top with a little bit of elastic. I like pockets on my skirts. I like running out of the house with a key, a driver's license, and a ten-dollar bill tucked in there. That's my little Lulu Guinness cherry-topped straw bag in the background which I've had for years and years but I don't think I've ever actually taken out of the house. I should, though. It's cute.
These are inexpensive to make (especially if you make your own binding and use buttons from your stash, though I was hard-pressed to find pairs of buttons that matched in mine — I have about four hundred non-matching buttons) and they don't take long at all — the binding takes the longest, and you could always skip that entirely if you just added seam allowances and stitched the pieces right sides together, and turned the whole thing. Though I like the outline of the binding myself. Anyway. So that's it. No squirrels in sight, right? Unless they're on the golf course. Wait, those are gophers.