Making a skirt for Esme

My daughter has asked for me to make her a skirt. The photograph she has supplied, by way of inspiration, is this.

Pink neoprene circle skirt
Neoprene circle skirt

It’s said to be Neoprene, it is a full circle skirt with an invisible zip and it appears to be hemmed rather than cut. I hesitate to call it Neoprene as NeuCarole has written a number of useful blog posts on this question. I am guessing this dress is made from Scuba knit instead – the notes on say that the fabric is 95% Polyester, 5% Elastane. As I prefer natural fabrics this is not a subject I know much about. I did get Leo at Simply Fabrics to show me real neoprene (with a rubber layer sandwiched in between two jersey layers), and the scuba knit they have in the shop. I would say Neoprene is too stiff and heavy for daily wear outfit, and would probably be good for bags (and scuba diving). Scuba knit is easy to sew and is available in bright, shiny colourways. To my eye they are garish and clammy, but I am told it sells well, especially as it can give structure to skirts and evening dresses.

Esme wants a colourful skirt with a loud pattern – including turquoise, red and blue purples, bright blue, pinks and reds, white and navy. I am not sure I will find a scuba knit in a colourway to suit her. Something like this from the undercover lingerista.

colourful undies
Cleo Panache bra

So I am thinking about making a skirt

  • made from silk if I cannot find scuba knit in the right colour
  • in satin or habotai silk so Esme can paint a design in the colours she loves
  • that is mounted on a firmer underlining
  • that is a full circle skirt with a concealed zip and fairly deep waist band
  • with a net underskirt to give it poof

What do you think?

20 Responses

  1. Sheree

    My thoughts are that this skirt has to be in neoprene or scuba. If in silk with all the added underthings it loses the modern edge. Well, that is my opinion anyway. Last time I was in Walthamstow, Saeeds seem to have a lot of plain colours in scuba. I admit it was not of any interest to me, so I didn’t pay much attention. Prices are so cheap there, I am just thinking, is it worth risking buying a white piece (providing they have this ) and letting your daughter unleash her painting skills.

    • fabrickated

      Thank you Sheree I think you are right. The actual look above needs a very determined synthetic! I may have to go and have a look in the shops and on the market.

      And great suggestion to create your our own handpainted scuba. Polyester doesn’t work with the fabric paints I have at present. It can be printed (very well as it happens) with a heat press and special heat transfer paints. But I don’t have a heat press at home. A silk skirt would not be the same as this, but it might be nice anyway!

  2. Toya

    Have you been into Simply Fabrics this week. They had a huge delivery of new scuba fabrics last friday – mainly plain neon type colours. There was also a nice pink rose doublesided print and a couple of other florals and geometrics. Nothing quite like this abstract print unfortunately. Personally I would always prefer a silk skirt and if you chose something with a lot of structure you could get a similar effect?

  3. Joyce Latham

    Could you not use the scuba material as an underlay for the structure, and the silk on top for the print of choice?
    Joyce ??

  4. Sox

    I also prefer natural fibres -scuba and the like makes me cringe -so I would go with the silk idea. Has she actually tried on anything made from such a heavy synthetic? It sounds clammy to me -wetsuits aren’t the most comfortable things to wear once you get out of the water.

    • fabrickated

      Very good point. There is alot of this stuff in the shops so I will urge her to try one on.

    • fabrickated

      Resource investigator, enabler, cataloguer – you are amazing. As for the prints – hmm – too much for me but I will ask Esme for feedback before we continue.

  5. neucarol

    Based on my experience, the Inspiration skirt is most likely neoprene; it’s the foam that provides the structure. Anything less than 2.0 m is thin enough for wearability. Demented Fairy has it right. I’d also recommend making it in neoprene as it is the trendy thing and much cheaper to make than purchase.
    I’d prefer a silk skirt too but am several decades older than Esme. ?

  6. Stephanie

    I was in some trendy shops just yesterday and was surprised to see the number of dresses I did that were made with scuba – brightly coloured scuba, jacquard scuba, etc. It’s definitely a huge trend. I wouldn’t wear it myself, preferring natural fibres, but I touched a number of the dresses and the scuba is structured but softer than neoprene. You could give one a try and then try another in silk. It’s funny though – looking at the hem of the skirt in the photo it almost looks like a stiff but soft-to-the-touch cotton – what the Italians call fustagno (I can’t think of an equivalent fabric I’ve seen in a store and I can’t find a definition but on wordreference I saw “fustian or moleskin”..though I don’t know if you’d get quite that volume with that fabric… You’d still get a lot of volume though with the circle shape, although I think it would be difficult to find in a bold pattern.

  7. mrsmole

    Add an applique of a French dog and you have a poodle skirt minus the crinolines…just add saddle shoes and bobby socks in a 2015 version. It seems this style and fabric will be something we older folks will have to tolerate until the next fad comes along.Good luck, Kate!

  8. helen

    Do you think there could be more than 1 circle in that skirt (1.5??) – it does look very full especially as it is quite a short length?

    • fabrickated

      It does look very full but I think that is the fabric Helen. If I do it in silk I may need to experiment.

  9. Maria crowe

    Esmé will look fab in the skirt. She has the pins for it. Can’t wait to see the end result. Silk would be nice but would have to have net underneath to give it volume.

  10. Lesley Scott

    I love scuba on the ‘youth’ if not when they’re young then when? I know my daughter would love this skirt and really rocks this look as I’m sure yours would.

  11. Kbenco

    I don’t think it necessarily needs net underneath, or has to be scuba for this shape. I’d try horsehair braid in the hem for regular woven bottom weight fabrics if you want to hand paint. Warning – little skirts like this do flip up given any wind at all, my daughter wears hotpants underneath her version. I’ve not seen many printed scuba fabrics, but you would have a lot more choice in London!

  12. Alli

    I agree with those who said that it’s the scuba knit that makes it look trendy. But I’d love to have your classy silk version! 😉

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