Finishing the Carolyn Crocheted skirt

Phew!

Having created a piece of fabric from over 100 little crocheted squares, each in three colours, I finally joined them together.

If you do this – for a blanket or a garment – I used the following method.

Sewing up granny squares

Decide on a design. I had one row of pink followed by one row of blue. I alternated deeper squares with lighter ones across the row and alternated down the column too, as you can see in the second picture. Starting at the hem I sewed one row first along the left and right sides, from the base upwards, sewing right sides together, and leaving a long thread towards the top. The next row was joined, left to right sewing the bottom of the second row to the top of the first row, with one long thread. Then the squares in the second row were joined to each other, right sides together, taking up the long upwards threads, rethreading each time. This approach gave me a nice even fabric. I used a small over stitch getting into the crocheted stitches. Once complete press on the reverse.

Shaping the skirt

Thank you very much for giving me your suggestions on how to do this.

The original Carolyn skirt involves picking up stitches along the top end and knitting in ribbing and threading elastic through. Although I knew this would work I didn’t want bulk around the waist. My dark green yarn (thank you Jo) is rather bulky to start with and I just have a bit of an aversion to an elasticated waist. So I wanted to create more shape and asked for your advice.

  • Linda suggested mounting the crocheted piece onto a firm linen underskirt. I have seen this done in some 1960s coture patterns and it was a clever suggestion.
  • Tina, an experienced crocheter, confirmed that this sort of fabric is best used to create rectangular garments or skirts for straight figured women.
  • Jay came up with the idea of making the upper squares in a tapered shape,  and also suggested the ribbing approach
  • Eimear, who is a competent and knowledgeable crocheter too came up with an ingenious proposal. She uses a variety of crochet stitches to create the yoke area, with decreases, ending with a slightly gathered look using a cord to pull it up. I liked this idea a lot.
  • Ceci thought of a wrap skirt – clever – or shaped squares
  • Erin Alter came up with the most creative fix, and it was one I really warmed to. She suggested using fabric to create a yoke in a harmonising or contrasting fabric – such as a tweed. I love this idea and I do want to do it – inspired by the Burbery pictures. I don’t have fabric to hand, so may just let this one cogitate. It depends on fabrics and yarns that just demand to come together. I do want to combine knitting with stitching at some point.
  • Cynthia from Swindon, similar to Linda, thought about mounting the crochet on a stretch fabric and doing the Alabama Chenin approach to shaping. Let’s have a look at an A line skirt.
Alabama Chanin Bloomers swing skirt

What I don’t like about this skirt is way the pattern breaks at the CF (and presumably CB too). I wanted to avoid an obvious seam in my skirt. Otherwise the skirt is worn low down, almost on the hips. This is great if you have a young, flat belly. Otherwise it is not a great, or even comfortable, look.

So what did I do?

I went back to the lace skirt as my guide. I  thought seriously of mounting the fabric or underlining the skirt. I may still do this if my skirt doesn’t wear well. But right now I want the skirt to feel flexible and casual. With the lace skirt, inspired by Mrs Mole,  I created the shaping by carefully moving the motifs around. I thought this approach might work with the crocheted skirt, so that is what I have done.

The waist line has four squares removed from it at the side seams. The second row going down has the dark background taken up into the seam, tapering down towards the hip. The third row had take up of the colourful flowers and I used the lace technique. I carefully cut away one of the flowers and blended two squares on the right side. To be honest my work is (as ever) a bit bodged.

Waist band

Finally I added a waistband the same size as the waist minus two squares to bring in the skirt some more. I decided to line the waist band and insert some stiffening. I used this stiffener that I won from William Gee. I zig zagged two strips together to create the relatively wide waist band, then wrapped it in lining material (also from Wm Gee). I hand stitched the squares to the waistband, using a strong button-hole thread from Wm Gee, creating a kind of belt

 

As I had decreased the number of squares by two I knew this blue row would not line up precisely with the pink row beneath. So I lined it up at the CF and eased the waist line into the lower edge of the waistband. Then I inserted a nice mauve zip (also from Wm Gee) by hand.

Finally I got the effect I wanted. You can see the definite curve in the pictures below.

And here are the glamorous model shots!

Granny square skirt
Granny in her skirt with toothy grandson bonus picture (stop press second tooth now with the fairies)

I really like this skirt. It is a nice weekend skirt, and really warm and comfortable.I like wearing it with opaque tights. It goes brilliantly with my dark green Heavenly cashmere jumper.

I don’t think this is the end of crocheting for me. Or knitted skirts.

 

 

 

15 Responses

  1. Carolyn

    This looks so lovely Kate! The colours you chose are gorgeous, perfectly “you” and your crocheting work is immaculate. I just want to point out a small thing; the waist treatment I devised for mine is not folded over at all, it is just a single width, wide ribbed area, and I laced black elastic in and out through the ribbing around the top. So there’s not much bulk at all really, actually less than a waistband! Thank you so much for mentioning me here, and I would love it if you linked to my project here 🙂

    • fabrickated

      Firstly – thank you for your inspiration and pattern. Secondly I am sorry I misunderstood how the waist was achieved on your skirt. I have since corrected the text. And sorry I forgot to link. I had meant to link to everyone’s websites, but somehow forgot to do so
      – it’s now done.

  2. Chris

    It turned out beautifully Kate, the shaping at the waist worked out nicely too. Carolyn’s blog is one of my favourites, she has such a professional finish, but I also love that she works with fabrics that vary from silk to shower curtains!

  3. Ellen Miller

    What a great skirt! It fits you so well and I can see just where it fits into your wardrobe. “Wicked Cool” as we say here in New England.
    It inspires me to look anew at some things my husband’s grandmother made that I have stashed in a cedar chest… 🙂

  4. mrsmole

    I like your sturdy waistband with all these loosey-goosey squares. Thank you for the mention with the lace skirt which I love that result as well! It makes you think that we women have so many different options to work into our custom designs and there is no “one way” to finish anything so individualized as a cool knitted/crocheted/lacy skirt. Reading your blog today with all the suggestions makes me feel as though I am sitting with a group of wise women and picking their brains for solutions…how cool is that? Your total outfit will bring you compliments and questions asking about where you bought it…just give them a big smile and say yoiu created that baby from scratch!

  5. Michelle

    What an ingenious solution! Great fit, and the skirt looks lovely with that jumper.

  6. erin alter

    that is one sassy skirt. very nice! and i will look forward to see what comes of the mash up idea in the future:)

  7. ceci

    The skirt and jumper combo makes a very cool outfit indeed. Isn’t it interesting how those snuggle teeth are so adorable on little kids and so sad on adults? I’m thankful for my access to good dental care!

    ceci

  8. Kim

    Great solution. Your skirt looks great, and I know from experience just how warm and comfortable they are. Enjoy!

  9. Sue

    I really like your granny square skirt, which, I have to admit, previously haven’t appealed much to me. I look forward to future skirts.

  10. Linda

    This is so cute! It makes me want to start crocheting again. Although I don’t think I could make something as cute as this, not without a lot of practice and time. Love the idea for the waistband! (Thanks for the mention!)

  11. talliswoman

    Great solution! I once saw a crocheted cushion cover that inspired me to create an immediate replica. Wouldn’t be surprised if this had the same effect.

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