Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A new skirt and discovering my waist

I made this a couple weekends ago as a muslin for a skirt I'd like to make out of this fabric:
There isn't enough of the bicycle print, so I'm going to patch something together with the purple stuff. Both are remnants. I don't think this pattern is the right skirt for that fabric. I was thinking of something like this skirt Katherine made, but I saw this pattern that used to belong to my mom, and I thought pleats aren't much different from gathers, so why not try that? Well, it turns out that pleats are quite different from gathers, and I think the bicycles would get lost or look like a shopping bag or something. I'm thinking about making my own pattern for that one since I want a pretty simple pleated skirt with a waistband.

I have quite a few of my mom's old patterns. This one is from 1969, and I'm assuming that's when she used it. Old patterns only came in one size, and conveniently, my bust is the same size as my mom's was, so the patterns are always the right size. (Of course, my waist and hips are way bigger than they "should be" for that size, but waist and hip adjustments are easy.) My waist is 4 1/2 inches bigger than the sizing chart on the back of this one, and my hips are 6 inches bigger. I just added 4 1/2 inches to the whole pattern because it's so poofy, so getting the right size on the hips was not necessary. It was very easy to do because both the front and back are on the fold, so I just pinned the pattern a little away from the fold.

Since this was a muslin, I didn't work too hard on finishing details. Also, I can't find my regular zipper foot and I didn't have any invisible zippers in the right length, so I set a zipper without using a zipper foot. I don't recommend this.
I saw a girl on campus wearing a really cute dress with a gold zipper that was completely visible, and I tried to make that happen for this, but it didn't quite work, in part because of the zipper foot issue, and in part because I didn't take that into account when I placed the zipper. I got something halfway in between. But I think it's cute anyway. The waistband is fastened with two snaps, but I'm thinking about sewing a decorative yellow button on top. I've also been thinking a lot about adding words to clothing. T-shirts usually have slogans, but I'm thinking more along the lines of poetry, Bible verses, maxims to live by, etc. I might be decorating this with a favorite poem written around the hemline. The issue is that my handwriting isn't that good, and I'm worried about being too pretentious. But I think customizing clothing with favorite words would be a nice way to make my creations more personal, and that's one of my long-term sewing goals. Also, if I made this again, I would add a pocket on the non-zipper side. A skirt this roomy could accommodate a pocket with no trouble, and I find pockets very convenient.

This skirt is way out of my comfort zone. I grew up at a time when wearing things at the natural waist was not fashionable at all. (I know because my jeans came up to my waist, and I felt like a total loser. I can't say for certain whether those are related, but I think the cool kids had hip-huggers.) I have taken that aesthetic into my adulthood, but it seems like clothing that emphasizes the waist is getting popular again, so I decided to give it a try. I definitely feel like this is hugging my armpits, but I think it works. I don't think I want a lot of skirts that are this poofy around the hips, but I'm glad I have this one to play around with. I have been going through my closet and discovering that a lot of the skirts I have but don't feel beautiful in are greatly improved by taking in the waist and wearing them higher on my waist. Often, that makes them hit at a better length and emphasize my hourglassy bottom half. (I prefer "hourglassy" to "pear-shaped.") I have also been discovering belting. I have very few belts, but look what a difference it makes to the jet lag dress:
I think this outfit would be even cuter with a narrow orange or orangey-brown leather belt. But I'm working with what I've got. I was so amazed at how much better I thought this made the dress look that I was immediately sold on the idea of belting. Anyway, that's my big revelation: I have a waist. It is narrow and womanly. I feel beautiful when I dress in a way that emphasizes that.

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