Monday 7 March 2016

Two-lip skirts


One of the very first fabrics to go into my stash was an incredibly soft grey brushed cotton that I bought in Classic Textiles. I had a vision of the supersoft trousers I would make with it in six months' time when I'd learned to make trousers. When I went to a trouser-making class, I took a different material instead, worried about messing this one up after hoarding it for so long.

Eventually I realised that I didn't actually want trousers made of this fabric, because incredibly soft though it is, it looks a bit... school uniform-y. I rifled through all my patterns that used less than 2m of fabric and came up with nothing that wouldn't emphasise this unfortunate quality. Trousers, nope. Pleated skirt, nope. Cambie dress, noooooo.

Then Sew Over It announced they were releasing a tulip skirt PDF pattern, and I thought that might do the trick. Very few school uniforms come with a tulip skirt.

Presenting Sassy Work Jen.

I love tulip skirts. They're about as close as I can get to having a fitted skirt, given my shape and extremely rudimentary alterations skills. There's meant to be five and a half inches of ease around the hips to give the slightly exaggerated shape, but on me it just... fits. It's not tight and I still have an inch or two of wiggle room, but basically this is the way for me to get a decently-fitting skirt without having to grade between three sizes.

I cut the knee-length version which, as you see, did not come out knee-length. Sew Over It patterns always come up short on me, so I was expecting that, and I actually really like this length. I might consider doing a shorter one, but I think I'd have to make some alterations to do it - I worry that if I made the mini straight from the pattern it might come up a tad indecent.

If I hadn't been cutting this out at a time when I should have been asleep, I would have made the pockets out of a lighter material. I find these a little bit bulky, and contrast pockets are just better anyway. That aside, I really like this skirt, and I'm glad the fabric became something wearable after sitting on it for so long. I say wearable, it's already awaiting broken zip repair after its third time out. I think I now have conclusive proof that I just need to stop buying cheap zips already. This is an awesome work skirt, though, so I will be fixing it ASAP.

A couple of days later, when thinking about stash-busting, I cut out a second one.

This is made from a remnant of the Dairy Milk purple cotton I used for my first ever skirt. This has been sitting in my stash since before I even had a stash, waiting for me to do something with it, and I'm really glad I kept it - I love this colour so much, but the construction on First Ever Skirt is of questionable quality and as such I don't often feel comfortable wearing it outside (yes, I could take it apart and remake it, but anyone who thinks I'm going to unpick and restitch the entire hem of a circle skirt must be new here). It's really nice to be able to compare skirts in the same fabric and see how much I've improved since May.

I'm definitely preferring the slightly more streamlined silhouette to the floofy one right now. Whether I'll be more inclined towards floof again in the summer I don't know, but as I've been taking the time to think about what goes into my pattern hauls and the kind of thing I want to be wearing, I've been drawn more to the hip-skimming and less to the hip-obscuring. When I do want to wear a bigger skirt I tend to go for something like the Tiramisu, which feels like a really substantial skirt but doesn't have as much material bulking out the waist and hips as a full circle skirt.

(Burlesque class update: I have learned that it looks attractive to stand with a bevelled foot, so I am now doing that in every single photograph. I need to work on my range.)

Having learned a lesson from skirt number one, the pockets on this one are made from a lighter fabric; as it happens, remnants of the cherry print cotton I used for my second ever skirt.


I wear this skirt constantly, as you can see from the fact that it clearly hasn't been ironed. I love the way the shape looks on me, to the extent that I sometimes get cross when I have to wear something else. It's great to have something that follows the lines of my actual shape without making me feel self-conscious by being all tight. I think this might become my default silhouette. I have plans for at least another two of these (a red one and a mustard one with navy topstitching, both of which I'm going to attempt to line), and I'm going to make tops to go with them so I can stop wearing black jumpers with everything. Though if anyone can tell me how to clone this particular jumper, I would love to be able to do that. It is my favourite jumper in all of life.

All subsequent tulip skirts will also have ridiculous contrast pockets. It has been decreed. 

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