I struggled with this challenge; partly because I didn’t think this style would do anything for my curves, and partly because I made the skirt from one piece of fabric – with just one seam (at CB). This meant I had a multitude of issues to resolve.
Let’s hear from expert Mary Funt who kindly wrote to me about this issues I was having.
Any reason you are draping this from one length of fabric rather than drape the back and front separately?
You are right that combining the front and back of a pegged skirt will rotate the center back onto bias grain (or even further to the cross grain depending on your pleat depth). This assumes you place the center front on the lengthwise grain. The waistline pleats on a pegged skirt radiate from the side seams. If you eliminate the side seams it will be very difficult to get the pleats to hang correctly. The back pleats also misbehave because you are now trying to make the warp threads, which are woven under greater tension than the crosswise threads, fold softly. To see this better try pleating a length of fabric on the lengthwise grain and then on the crosswise grain. Your crosswise pleats will pouf out more. I’m also not sure how eliminating the side seams will allow you to peg the skirt. At best the back hem will be off grained and there would be some type of sharp angle where the side seam should fall.
Now this is priceless advice and I while I am not sure everyone will understand what we are talking about I have learned my lesson to some extent. I guess that is the point of trying something new – if you experiment with things you have not done before you are more likely to understand why something will not work so well.
However my biggest suprise was that I love the shape! I really like this skirt and think it “has legs” as we say. I was introduced to an American phrase the other day – “this dog hunts”. I have no idea if these phrases are comparable, but what I am trying to say is that, with work, I think I can produce a very nice skirt.
This version, the prototype, has a number of shortcomings. On the plus side the hip level fullness isn’t really a problem, although my bum does, unfortunately, look pretty big in the skirt with its narrow hem. This effect could be corrected with a lighter colour of top, or by wearing a jacket, for example. I think I got the length about right and the 2″ waistband (about double what I would normally wear) is balanced. On the negative side it is crying out for pockets (I did try to drape some but failed). The main weakness is the back where the darts are too “pokey” and the waist band should have been sewn at least half an inch lower – there is buldge of fabric under the belt which should have been eliminated. It was hard to get the symmetry and fit right as the position of the waist band seam was never on the straight grain.
So I will try this again. At our class we were encouraged to drape from the CB to CF creating two pieces joined at the centre lines. Mary’s suggestion is for a side opening, ensuring that both the CF and CB are on the straight grain. I also had some advice from my dear friend Marianna of Sew2Pro. She has a nice tutorial for a adapting your skirt block to a pegged skirt, which is more straightforward, but useful. Her hem retains the same circumference as before whereas this skirt is significantly narrower at the hem – measuring 35″ all round (compared to the 60″ at the waist). I love this skirt partly because it is the opposite of a circular skirt, if you know what I mean.
My next version will be
- cut in two pieces (not sure yet if I will do side seams or CB/CF seams).
- similar dimensions (in terms of length, pleating and depth of waistband)
- transferred to paper so I can get the fit spot on, and then replicate it.