If the skirt I made last week were the Sarlaac, it would eat needles instead of unfortunate bounty hunters.
As part of my Spacey Summer Sewing Series, and in honor of Star Wars Day, which was yesterday, I recently made myself a geeky reversible skirt using two fabrics I purchased, one with a Star Wars theme an one with a Star Trek theme. When I asked what I should do with this fabric on Facebook, my friend Karen suggested a reversible bag. While my bag making skillz are questionable at best, I LOVED the reversible idea since there has always been so much angst between followers of the two series. Personally, I love both, and that was an even better reason to pursue this project.
I read these tutorials as a starting place for my skirt:
1) http://www.danamadeit.com/2008/07/tutorial-the-circle-skirt.html (I used this one back when I made the underskirt for the Rainbow Dash costume)
Since I love high-low skirts, I decided to try to modify the circle skirt pattern a bit to make the back of the skirt longer than the front. It wound up being kind of a teardrop shape. In retrospect, I might try for a bit more of an egg shape instead of a teardrop next time, but the general idea worked fine.
I had a bit of trouble cutting the pieces – the fabric was of a smaller width, closer to 42″ or so, and my 1/4 skirt pattern piece did not fit on them folded longways. I managed to finagle the pattern onto the fabric and cut … only to discover that the words on the opposite side were going in the wrong direction. Le sigh. This mistake made me actually need to cut five pieces of skirt in the Star Wars fabric instead of four. Grumble. I worked really hard to line up the print pattern on the fifth seam so that it would be nearly invisible. It kind of made me want to do this more often, but alas I would spend so much more money on extra fabric. Not worth it.
After cutting, the first step was to stitch all the pieces for each fabric together. When done, you will have something that looks like this:
I’m not gonna tell you where the mysterious fifth seam is, though if you look closely you can see it. Here is a closeup of it:
Once both sides of the skirt are stitched into your teardrop shape, put them right sides together and pin along the outside edge. I had a bit of a difference in my two pieces, noticeable in the right side of the picture below.
Normally, you would just stitch around the outside of the teardrop at this point. However, I wanted to add a piece of white eyelet trim to the bottom of the skirt. So I repinned with the trim in between the two pieces, with the bottom of the trim pointing towards the waistband of the skirt, like below.
Since I played around with the eyelet trim stuff before, I decided to leave myself a good 6 inches of extra trim, in case things shifted during the sewing process. I was quite glad that I did. I had a bit of extra trim left, but wound up needing to take in one side of the skirt along a seam line. Also, when I cut the excess trim at the end, I almost didn’t leave enough. I think a good rule is to always leave more fabric/trim than you think you need when cutting.
I then turned the skirt inside out and ironed it. I love the addition of the trim! Very cute. Also, I love that with reversible circle (teardrop?) skirts, you don’t have to HEM! *does the happy dance*
Next it was time for the fun part – the waistband. First, pinning. This waistband had to be done slightly differently than Dana’s circle skirt tutorial because I didn’t want one side of the skirt to have messy edges and seams. So as I pinned, I folded both sides of the skirt over a tad, and shoved the elastic band in between. I pinned about 8 times- front, back, both sides, and then in between each of those pins once.
Attaching the waistband was the most frustrating part. Because you cut the elastic a few inches shorter than the waist of the skirt, you need to pull on the elastic as you stitch – using both hands. One hand should hold the elastic in front of the presser foot, and the other provides tension on the elastic from behind the presser foot. It is tricky to find the appropriate amount of tension on both sides because you don’t want to stress the needle too much. Or the needle will break. Possibly three times.
Aside from breaking needles, I wound up with lots of excess fabric when I neared the close of the waistband loop. This was due to me not stretching the elastic enough during some parts of the stitching. You can see the difference in the amount of gathering in the right side of the picture.
I fixed this problem by ripping seams with Fred as I neared the closure point of my stitches, and then pulling harder on the elastic to make up for it.
It wasn’t really a fun process, but it was effective – my skirt is complete, with no extra fabric at the waistband. It twirls nicely too, though there is a bit less skirt in the back than I would like.
I love this first piece of geeky clothing! Oh, and I found out something fantastic when i turned the lights out to go upstairs to bed after sewing this reversible skirt – the Star Wars side? It GLOWS IN THE DARK!!!
Stay tuned for the next pieces of my spacey wardrobe!