November 2, 2012

Emergency Red Skirt

The other day I was dressing in one of my favorite tees, a little knit Breton stripe number, and it occurred to me that my life would be greatly improved by the addition of a red skirt to my wardrobe. I'm pretty sure that thought can be directly traced to the influence of Zoe and her fantastic nautical style, but when I started thinking about it, I became convinced that everyone had a red skirt except me (Jane even has two! Here. And here!) and that needed to change ASAP.

I could see what I wanted in my head: a straight silhouette, pockets, and leaning toward casual- so probably denim or twill or corduroy. I went to my pattern stash and came up empty. Everything was too A-lined for what I was envisioning, or was just too straight and boringly pencil-shaped with no pockets. Then I remembered a great skirt that Nikki of Fancy That had made recently. Straight, casual, made from a vibrant yellow corduroy with adorable pockets. It was pretty much perfect.

Luckily, my emergency coincided with the 50% off bottom-weights sale at JoAnn, so I didn't feel too bad about breaking my resolution to only sew stash-busting projects for a while. I picked up a yard of basic red twill for $6 and a copy of New Look 6030, and I was set to go.

Incidentally, it's highly likely that I needed this skirt so urgently because the next project on my to-do list is a total bummer. I find that I can really invent a long list of things to do when I want to avoid a boring or unpleasant project. Do you do that? Or do you prefer to just get things over with and out of the way? I've always been a terrible procrastinator. I think every paper I wrote in college was started and finished the night before it was due. It's a bad habit, I suppose... Really should be working on that project now, in fact, but don't you need to see my skirt? Thought so.

New Look 6030

I decided to make View B, with the basic slanted hip pockets for this attempt. I love the curved, ruffly pockets on View E, and the cargo pockets on View C, but that wasn't what I had in mind for this skirt. And sorry these pictures are so blown out- the light in Seattle in fall is crappy and unpredictable!

Red Skirt Back

Although this is pretty much the skirt that I pictured when I decided that I needed one, I'm not really happy with the way this fits and will have to make some changes if I make up another view.

Emergency Red Skirt

The skirt is designed to fit 2" below the waistline, so obviously there was no waist measurement on the envelope or the pattern tissue to use to determine sizing. Everything needs to be based on the hip measurement, and there's (in my opinion) a lot of ease built into this pattern for a straight, slim skirt. Based on my hip measurement (37.5") and the way I thought I wanted the skirt to fit, I was planning to cut out a size 8, which has a hip measurement of 38.5". Then I thought I had better check Pattern Review first to see what others had to say about the fit, and then I saw that Andrea had made this skirt too. Nikki made a size 10, and Andrea originally cut a 14 but took it in a bunch and said next time she would mix the 10 and 12. Somehow, it logically followed in my brain that therefore I had better be safe and cut a 10 too, because obviously these women who I've never met or seen in real life but whose blogs I read must wear the same size skirt as me. Because obviously.

New Look 6030 Back

I could tell as I was stitching up the side seams that there would be too much curve built in for my cereal-box shaped lower half, but I pushed through and didn't even bother to slip it on and check the fit before I added the waistband. Because it was an emergency, and I needed to finish it up rightnowhurry!

Once I had it all assembled and the zipper in and the hem pressed up but not stitched yet, I decided I really had better do something about the hipline. I ended up shaving off a wedge of about 3/8"-1/2" from each side (tapering to zero) starting right below the waistband and ending a couple inches below the bottom of the pocket. There's still a lot of poofy fullness below the waistband, but it's not that noticeable when it's belted and I'm standing and the skirt is pulled down onto my hips.

Red Skirt

I really want to wear it a little higher on my waistline though, but in order to do that I have to do this:

New Look 6030

It looks fine from the front (the top picture was taken like this), but something tells me that from the back it's not so good! I recognize that this is my dumb fault, and a skirt that is drafted to be worn 2" below the waistline should, in fact, be worn 2" below the waistline to fit properly. Also I should have gone with my first instinct and made the size 8, knowing that I feel perfectly comfortable with just an inch of ease around my hips.

New Look 6030

So, now I have to decide if I'm going to wear this as it is belted low and move on, or if I should rip open the waistband and take it in to fit better higher up. I suspect that will cause more problems with the poufing that's happening below the waistband, and quite frankly, I have no idea what to do about that. More darts? Which means that probably I'll just have to leave it. I would like to make another version of this though, and I think I have some light pink corduroy that would make an adorable View E (with the ruffly pockets like Nikki's).

But first, I have another project that I really have to go do. No more fun projects until I've cleared my conscience.