Monday, April 13, 2009

Green Cookie Stamp Pleated Skirt

There really is nothing quite like changing directions in the final stretch, which is what I have done with my swap. The due date is this coming weekend which means I have four days to finish up. But since I do everything at the last minute, it didn't seem so odd to throw in one more project. Because really, as much as I love it, my print linen skirt simply doesn't go with the rest of my plan. Sure, black and white go with everything, but sometimes it's a stretch. Besides, I found some really cool fabric for $3/yard and couldn't pass it up.

This is a cotton stretch vertical stripe herringbone, a texture that has always reminded me of the underside of store-bought cookies. I have seen this weave a lot in coatings, but was pleased to see it in a light bottomweight. The green is a nice bright grass color, which of course reminds me of spring (should it ever truly arrive). To tie it in with my jacket, and just because I'm stubborn, I used the yellow cotton thread purchased for the Dress that Wasn't for construction and topstitching.

I used a pattern which I had purchased several years ago and finally made up for last Thanksgiving, but decided this time to make the shorter length. I really liked the idea of making this a pleated skirt since the body of the fabric was begging to be structured. Looking at the line drawing for the pattern, what really drew me to it in the first place was the interesting belt detail so I decided to do that instead of the tabs and purchased belt shown with the pleated version. (I will get a scan of the pattern when I am able so you can see what I mean)

Since I was spending the day running around Portland on Tuesday, we stopped in to Josephine's Dry Goods (go there if you can!) as I was looking for a small buckle for my belt. I didn't find one I wanted, although I did find a YKK invisible zipper (again with the invisibles) and a few patterns. While we were walking back to the car, I was trying to put together in my head how a skirt with a side zipper could have a double-wrap belt that closed at the front. This would mean taking the belt completely off every time it was worn, and of course the cool crossed detail in the back would shift around while wearing. So I got to thinking, like ya do, about ways to make this work.

The first thing about the pattern's intent is that it wants the belt to be made of a purchased ribbon. Ribbon is (generally) on the straight of grain, and won't make the nifty curves pictured on the envelope. Sneaky, huh? Second, this is a distinctive shade and I knew better than to think I could match it with ribbon. Heck, I was using a yellow zipper in a green skirt (better to miss by a mile than try to match and fail). Using self-fabric bias would solve both of these issues, but that left the question of anchoring the belt in a way that wouldn't interfere with the zipper.

My end solution was to make this not a belt at all, but instead to apply the bias as a faux belt. My intention all along was to topstitch the edges, defining the lines and mimicking the stitching on the jacket, so I chose to simply topstitch the 'belt' to the yoke of the skirt. This added an hour or so to the construction time, but it gave to desired look without the headaches of the original design. To further mimic the look of a belt, I included an overlap with a button and used the belt loop details which also provided a vertical line to break up the horizontals at the hip. At the side closure, just extended the trim to overlap and secure them with two small snaps.

While the pattern called for a narrow facing along the waist edge, I chose to line the yoke as well as bring it up to natural waist. To be sure the trim was even along the top, I applied the yoke lining before the trim, waiting to slipstitch it into place until all of the detail was stitched down. To keep the look of the belt crossing itself and going under the beltloops, I broke the stitching on the underlaps. After the belt was stitched down, I topstitched the belt carriers down.

I was able to wear this for Easter with the striped tangerine top, and got many compliments. With this done, along with all three knit tops, the only things remaining are the tan trousers and the green and chambray blouses. I just may get this done!PICT0011


  1. I love the way you used the matching bias strips to create a faux belt. At first I thought the crossover was in the front, until I saw the bottom picture. But I agree the belt loop in the front does break up the horizontal lines at the hips. Great job!

    I believe you have until April 30th to sew SWAP garments. "All garments must be made between November 1/08 and April 30/09." You can start sending in pictures on April 19th....if I am interpreting the SWAP rules posted at SG correctly.

  2. What a beautiful skirt! I like the structured look of it. This is a skirt after my own heart.