After one week of intensive tutoring, marking, checking and re-marking, cajoling and encouraging I was really ready for something different - I needed a release. So I went into the sewing room this afternoon (Friday, I reckoned I'd earned some time for me) pushed the exams papers to one side and got to work.
A few weeks ago Frabjous Couture posted about boho skirts. Now these ones are expensive - YSL no less and I'm guessing made in silk or other luxurious type fabrics, all I had was a fine printed cotton stashed from the winter. I love long, flowing skirts - I think I'm having a hippy revival or else having my hippy moments now in middle age! Amazingly, I didn't have a skirt pattern that was plain enough or hippy enough for this look, so I made my own. I like a semi-fitted hip and waist on my skirts, gathers just don't work for me, but I also like a big flare, so this self-drafted pattern fits the bill.
Pay attention! Here comes the details so you too can make a Boho skirt. This one has 4 panels all exactly the same so it's real easy. No darts but you do need a zip. I'm going to release my actual measurements - so NO JUDGEMENTS please.
Honestly and accurately measure the widest circumference around your hips - in my case 40".
Next measure your waist, or where you want the top of the skirt to sit. I went for a hip bone height, even though I haven't seen them in years. For me this was 37".
Now measure the distance between these two points, typically 5-6".
Divide the hip and waist measurements by 4. Let's take my hip measurements 'cause that's easy.
40/4 = 10" + 1" for seam allowances. 1/2" either side.
I've found paper table cloths make the most wonderful substrate for home made patterns. They cost very little, are huge and you can buy them in supermarkets.
Decide on length and amount of flare you'd like on your skirt. Remember, the flare will be multiplied by 4. If you'd like a guide, mine has 25" around the bottom on the single pattern piece, so that's 100" hem!
On your tissue (tablecloth, whatever) draw a long grainline to match your chosen length - remember to include hem allowance. I suggest a deep hem as you'll need a bit of weight at the bottom to make the skirt hang well. I went for 3". Everything will be measured from this grainline so leave enough space either side for the skirt flare.
Draw a perpendicular line from the grainline, half the measurements on one side and half on the other. Using my hips, I marked 5 1/2" either side. then measure up from this your 5 or 6" to the waistline and draw in the top of the skirt. Once done, curve the centres of the pattern down by 1/2". You don't need a fancy French curve to do this you can mark it in by eye. This skirt is Core Couture by SewRuth, not YSL couture!
Measure from your hips to where you'd like the flare to start from. In my case I choose high on the mid thigh which was about 8" below hip and draw another line. From this mark draw an angled line to the required length, aiming to have both sides symmetrical.
You should end up with a pattern piece that looks something like this.
Now fold your fabric selvedge to selvedge and double over so you have four thicknesses. This really only works for fine fabrics. If you are working with thicker then cut 2 and another 2.
Here's mine on Doris to see what the end result might look like.
Now the easy peasy bit.
Sew the centre fronts and centre backs together. They're both the same so it doesn't matter at this stage which is which.
Sew the right side seam.
Your skirt should start to look a bit like this.
Mark on the left hand side seam the length of your zip and close the remaining seam.
You could opt to put in a back zip, just do whatever you feel comfortable with.
Insert the zip. I did a lapped zip as I happened to have a normal cream zip in the bits box, but an invisible zip may be the best option. I was sorting hoping for 1970s originality when invisible zips hadn't been invented yet - that's my excuse.
Make a band long enough to go around the top of the skirt about 4" wide. Technically this should be on the bias but I cut mine on the straight of grain and it worked just fine. Go for the cross grain for an inbetweeny effect. Press in the seam allowances on the long edges of the band and press in 1" at either end. Attach the band to the top of the skirt catching the skirt's raw edges inside. Leave the ends of the band open - do not sew closed.
You may notice that I lined my skirt. I usually line all my garments - it's my thing - and may not be necessary for your fabric. I used a very fine cream muslin which doesn't detract from the shell fabric's drape. If you are lining your skirt, just make a second one in the lining fabric from the same pattern piece. This waist band hides all the raw edges.
With any fabric scraps make a tube to fit through the wasitband long enough to go round your waist and tie on the outside. Using a safety pin, thread the tie through the waistband. This will act as extra safety at waist and gathers in very, very gently any excess fabric as we didn't add darts for shaping.
Hem the skirt and wear!
Boy, did I need that!
This took less than 2 hours to draft and sew.
If you do make this, I'd love to see your versions. If you have any questions or would like some bit explained better, just leave a comment. I'll be more than happy to answer.
E-mail me your postings or pics of your skirts and I'll showcase them.
The old ballet classes still have influence!
I've notice that the cat seems to be creeping into more and more photos. I could start a "Spot the Cat" competition. What do you think? Patterns as prizes?
Thanks for reading. Ruth