How to make the Skirt of Joy

As summer ended I wanted a bright little skirt to bring joy to me, the wearer, and the viewer.

Back in Spring 2014 Chanel had included a beautiful fabric, based on colour charts from 1900.

One of my favourite bloggers Karen from Fifty Dresses found a textile that is very similar to this, and made a stunning dress.

So these ideas were in my mind as I looked a small piece of white denim I had been given by a vendor who was unable to fulfil my order. So this skirt was virtually free!

I used a very basic A line skirt pattern. It is McCalls 7938, a 1960s Courreges pattern. I made up the coat from this pattern as part of SWAP but I didn’t like it. Sarah has written a wonderful post about his designs.

McCalls 7938

I cut out a size 10, used a washable felt tip to draw in the four darts and set the two pieces next to each other so I could more or less get the design to match up. I could have taken a little more time and drawn some horizontal lines across the skirt to ensure it lined up. No matter – it was a quick project. You can see the centre front in turquoise felt tip. And my bare legs…

Hand painted denim skirt
Close up of fabric

I started at the bottom with the greens, gradually adding white or blue to change it subtly. Then I did the pinks and reds, and so on. I chose colours I like to wear – the cool bright shades. Most colours look good on white or black. I included some neutrals too – greys, taupe and blue grey. As a result this skirt will go with all my tops. Then I put in a zip and that was it. The facing, hem and seam allowance are all left white so there is never a show through problem.

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

For those that want more information the paints I use are Permaset. They are water soluble, and then are fast when fixed with a hot iron. The colours mix well. On a hot day I wore the skirt with one of my table cloth huipils.

Lace blouse and hand painted skirt
Summer dressing

Now it is colder I have worn it with a jumper – my Autumn League pullover. 

Autumn League pullover and skirt of joy
Autumn uniform

And with a Uniqlo down jacket.

Fabrickated hand made skirt
At work

19 Responses

  1. Carole Jones

    That is wonderful. I love the mix of colours – even the colours I don’t like/do.
    I have some fabric paints, but so far a friend and I have only experimented with Indian block design prints on white cotton.
    Would the paint work on black or other colours? I like black, dark browns, etc. but with other-colour patterns on top, but rarely find mixes of fabric, colour and designs that I like. I want do a brown skirt with a small orange fleck, to wear with a (Frieda-style) cotton top I have made in an African fabric

    • fabrickated

      The best results will usually be with a white background Carole as this doesn’t change the colour of the paint. You can use pastel shades although they will make all the colours bluer, or pinker or whatever. With bright coloured background you can get a good effect with deeper shades eg navy or black on turquoise or pink. If you want a dark background the best thing is to use white fabric and paint the background in, once you have painted your colourful design. I did this with curtains and it is lots of work but very effective. To get a brown skirt with an orange fleck try using discharge paste which bleaches out some of the colour and often leaves some of the elements of the deeper shade behind. You may get orange with brown. If more colour comes out you can paint over a new shade. I do hope this helps.

  2. Vancouver Barbara

    Your skirt is delightful and goes beautifully with all your tops. Back in the day I used to do silk painting with French dyes. I did yards of squares as colour swatches and gradations and they were always my favourite things. I never knew what to do with them except admire them, they were a reference, of course. Now I know if I had used a heavier weight of silk I could have made a very interesting garment.
    I think your skirt looks exceptional with your blue pullover. Your huipil is breathtakingly lovely.
    And speaking of knitting top-down sweaters, I know we’re not right now, do you know the Ziggurat method. I just discovered it today on “Sigrid – sewing projects” blog. She made a beautiful sweater and also refers to Ravelry. You might be interested.

  3. Karen of Fifty Dresses

    Very clever, Kate! This is so versatile and fun – very joyful, indeed! (I daresay this fabric was a bit less expensive than the one I used for my dress… And thank you for your lovely mention and link to my blog!)

    • ceci

      Also, I think I HAD this pattern and made the double breasted jacket, if not the skirt. Of course one of the other tops in the linked article is much cooler, and wouldn’t you know that it is the hardest to find of all the patterns. Its my super power to most like the most difficult to find, or most expense, possible option.


  4. Jennifer Miller

    What a clever idea! As you said, your joyful skirt will go with any color you can possibly come up with, evidenced by the combinations you’ve pictured here. I am drawn to the yellow row…not sure why, as yellow is not so good for me. But I love it! (And I’m trying to break out my “black box” so yellow is big step for me.)

  5. Blanca

    I love this skirt in hand painted white denim! It’s lovely. May I ask, how long did you let the paint dry before pressing? Would like to try this technique.

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