Monday, September 9, 2013

The Sugar Plum Skirt

My Friend From the Wedding Dress Shop (FTWDS) came over so we could work on the Sugar Plum Skirt together. 

Pattern Drafting

{Sugar Plum Skirt:  Basted Side Seams}

She wanted an A-line skirt, so I drafted the fitted waist and darts as normal, added about 4 inches of ease in the hip (based on her experience, that 3 inches were not enough when she recently made herself a skirt out of a knit fabric), and extended the hemline about 3-4 inches beyond the hip point.

Based on my own experience with the Golden Goddess Skirt, I added only 1/2 inch of ease at the waist.






Cutting, Basting, and Fitting

I basted the side seams, and basted in the zipper.  My Friend FTWDS tried in on, and...

{Sugar Plum Skirt:  Basted Darts}


WTF--It's like four inches too big in the waist!

What is going on here?!

Why, after so much careful measuring, are my skirts coming out too big?!

So, I pinned out about four inches, two inches per side (one inch per seam).  I also put a pin in the hip, at the fullest point.  This way I can easily connect the new waist seam to the original hip seam.  This one will be easier to adjust than the Golden Goddess Skirt, since I only have to connect two points instead of re-drawing the whole shape.

Other than this, I'm very happy with how the shape of the skirt came out!

{The Sugar Plum Skirt:  Basted Zipper}

Sew What? Skirts!

 I was curious whether other people who used the Sew What? Skirts! pattern drafting method have had the same problem with skirts coming out too big.  I did an internet search, and found that, indeed, others have had the same problem:

There is a Flickr group devoted to skirts made from this book, and a bunch of people ended up in discussions about how the patterns turned out too big.

I'm not sure what's causing it, but I have a few suspicions:

  • Extra ease at the waistband is not necessary.  At least, not for me and my friends.  We like our waistbands tightly fitted.

    • (caveat:  you might want a tiny bit of ease if you are making a high-waisted skirt, since you do need some room to breathe, and since your measurements above and below that point will be larger, so it still won't fit if you try to move it up or down.  Remember, though, that the ease in your pattern needs to be multiplied by the number of seams.  Thus, for a two-piece skirt--front and back--1/16 of an inch translates to 1/4 of an inch overall.)

  • When the pattern directions tell you to move the waistband side seam upwards by 1/2 an inch and draw a curved line from the center up to this new point, aren't you making the line a bit longer?  Remember what I said just above about adding even 1/16 of an inch?

  • Maybe it has something to do with how the darts are added?  The method is this:  for each 1/2 inch dart, add 1/2 inch to the side seam.  This is repeated for the back also. 

    • However, I read another method of adding darts--let's say you have a 1/2 inch dart in your front pattern piece, and a 1 inch dart in your back pattern piece.  Altogether, you've already added 1 inch to accommodate the darts for the front (both halves=two darts). 

    •  Since you've already added that 1 inch to the front, you subtract that 1 inch from the amount you need to add to the side seam of the back pattern piece.  This method would have you add only one additional inch to the back pattern piece--two 1-inch darts=2 inches, minus 1 inch=1 inch.  Make sense?  (To accommodate two 1 inch darts in the back, the Sew What? Skirts method would have you add two inches to the back pattern piece.  This seems to add a whole extra inch compared to the other method.)
Obviously, I need to learn more about this.  In the meantime, I will just not add any ease at the waist from here on in.

Till next time,--Ayana

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