I wrote in my previous post how I was planning to continue with skirt projects, so here I’ve done that again – one more skirt to my collection! This one was planned some time ago. When I made my most loved herringbone tweed coat there was this pretty decent although very not rectangular piece of fabric left that I figured should be just enough for a skirt. And it was.
This gorgeous lavender herringbone tweed was gifted to me by Fabworks Mill Shop as part of a collaboration arrangement last autumn. I absolutely loved working with it and made a coat that’s been worn multiple times. In the course of coat project I was very glad to realize that out of the gifted 3 meters piece of fabric I’d be able to make two garments, not one.
It is not the first time I end up making a skirt as a leftover project. In fact, skirts usually would not be my priority project, but they somehow happened accidentally. Nevertheless, by now I have made a good handful of skirts, and they have become an important part of my everyday outfits.
This project was pretty special as I used a pattern carefully drafted for me, so truly one of a kind and tailored. So here’s what has happened. My dear sewing friend Laura is a great seamstress. She not only sews for herself, but also takes orders from friends and acquaintances. She has graduated from sewing school, and now is on a mission to perfect her drafting skills. And that’s where we had agreed to collaborate. She’d draft a skirt and pants for me, and I’d make them! She’d practice drafting, and I of course would have awesome patterns for my sewing. We worked on patterns last November. At first Laura measured me carefully, then made first mock-ups. Upon the first fitting of the skirt there were quite a number of alterations needed, the second fitting was lighter, and finally I’ve got myself a perfect skirt mock-up and of course paper pattern blocks. As a side note, pants took even more meticulous care to draft, I think we did three fittings, but pants mock-up is now perfect, too. I’ve still got to make the pants!
There is something I understood in this entire process. Garments made using commercial patterns work absolutely fine, too. At least for me there’s usually no trouble to adapt commercial pattern to my measurements. But this skirt drafted specifically for me fits like a glove! It’s pretty amazing really. I’ve made like four other skirts recently using all sorts of patterns adapted from commercial patterns, and I love all of them. But not one fits as well as this one! So yeah, if you can get clothes drafted for you, take that opportunity straight away!
My basic skirt blocks are meant for a pencil skirt with a slit. This time around I wanted to make a skirt with a flounce just like I did few times before, the last one being my upcycled tweed skirt. So I needed to cut a shorter base skirt pattern pieces and add a flounce. At first I thought I’d reuse flounce blocks from the pattern used for the previous flounce skirt. But only one flounce side, the one for the back, could be reused. My new skirt front block was a bit wider, therefore I needed to draw a block for front flounce.
The usual method how one makes flounce block (or eg. bishop sleeve block, for that matter, too), is taking a rectangle of needed width, cutting it bottom up many times, spreading the bottom side as much as needed, and here it is all done! But I somehow did not want to follow that route, so instead a scientific method was used 🙂 I might have mentioned before that I am a true geek in certain things. At school and also later I was really good at math and geometry, and I think it helps with my sewing. So this time my geeky side shone again, and I used a circle length formula to draw a missing flounce block.
That’s how it was done. The complete flounce planned was a full circle flounce. The width of skirt front block was 52 cm without seam allowances. So a full circle I was interested in was 104 cm long. Circle length or circumference formula is this: C=2πr , where r is radius that I was solving for. As it was, r was equal to 16.6 cm, I reduced it to 15.6 cm to account for 1 cm seam allowance for the flounce to be attached to the main skirt. Then I borrowed my son’s compass (the tool meant to draw circles, not the other one 🙂 ) and drew quarter of a circle with 15.6 cm radius (a quarter of the circle because I’d use it for fabric on fold). This was supposed to be the upper edge of my front flounce. To draw the lower edge I could not use the compass as it was too small to cater for such a large radius. So instead I tied a thread to a pencil and holding the thread at needed length with my finger at the point were the compass needle was in, I drew another, much larger quarter circle as a lower edge of the flounce. The only last thing that had to be done was seam allowance added to one side of the quarter circle flounce to accommodate for side seam (the other side of the pattern block would not have seam allowance as it will go on center front fold). With this scientific exercise complete I was finally ready to cut into fabric.
First the flounce was made and lined. After overlocking the main skirt parts and joining them together I was able to attach the lined flounce and overlock that seam. Next, waistband went in, invisible zipper was attached. That’s how it looked at that point.
The last part of work was to attach the main lining. Since recently I no longer stitch darts in the lining, pleats are made instead. This adds wearing ease and comfort. And even though both waistband sides are cut and stitched meticulously following the same seam allowance to the millimeter, they still usually aren’t absolutely the same, therefore joining them together by top stitching the lower edge of the waistband together does not work for me. That top stitching seam would not fall perfectly into ditch from the lining side. So instead I use an invisible stitch done by hand to join two waistbands together, and enjoy this method so much more. With that final hand stitching bit my new beautiful skirt was complete!
For this skirt I used up a leftover piece of pure wool tweed that was of 140 cm width and varying length (from 50 cm at one selvage to 90 cm at another) and a small leftover piece of lining the content of which I no longer remember. The pattern was custom drafted for me by my dear sewing friend Laura. Other notions used here were: a bit of interfacing tape to reinforce zipper installation line, invisible zipper, and leftover coordinating thread (Gutermann No. 493). This skirt did not cost me anything, or 1 Eur, to be specific, for invisible zipper, as it was made from leftover and gifted fabrics. The skirt was made in January, 2023.
It is a glorious skirt really! It fits me so well that I don’t think I’ve ever had anything fitting so well. Being fully lined it is also very comfortable to wear. This Yorkshire wool has proven to be pretty scratchy. It’s an awesome fabric, doesn’t crease, is durable, warm and stable, but absolutely needs to be lined at all times. I love styling this skirt with black turtleneck and black blazer. That’s also how I wear its twin brother from last autumn. I also enjoyed trying it on with a matching coat. Not convinced if I’d wear it this way, but in the picture above I like this gorgeous color showing so nicely all over the outfit.
In my plans I had one more leftover wool skirt to make. Something happened to me this cold season that I kept on making skirts, I don’t know what’s the deal with this. But when I needed to hang this new skirt into my closet, it became obvious that I had only one remaining skirt hanger left for this one. So these are my problems these days – I don’t have any more hangers for one more skirt! 🙂 When I provided this explanation to my husband as to why I would need to stop sewing skirts, we both had a good laugh. On the other hand, it’s perhaps a good wake up call and also a sign – I really have enough skirts already and probably don’t need any more. So finally, oh finally, I’ll turn my eyes to jackets. These I need so many more of! And if I don’t change my mind overnight, the next one may be another Jasika blazer! Am really curious to see what jacket I’ll make next!
Thanks for visiting my blog and I’ll see you next time!
4 thoughts on “Herringbone tweed skirt”
This is a great skirt. I love that you used maths to draft the flounce!
Thank you so much, Elle! ❤️ Oh yes, there was this more conventional method to draw the flounce, but I chose more fancy one 😊 And it worked really well, too.
I can only begin to imagine what luxurious this beautiful fitting skirt feels like to wear. It’s gorgeous!
You are spot on, Diane! It is truly perfect match here – meticulously drafted pattern matched with this gorgeous tweed makes for a gorgeous garment indeed. I think skirts at times are underrated. They are smaller than a dress, for example, but can be truly awesome garments carrying the entire outfit.