Fall-Winter 2014 SWAP … batch 4 designs

OK, talk about indecisiveness, this batch is the worst.
And I blame it on all on Chanel.

batch 4 designs
batch 4 inspirations

This one starts with the fabric. Dark olive bouclé from B&J I believe. I can’t remember why I got it. topshop-boucleIt may be been inspired by a Top Shop coat with fake fur collar that I wore to death. (The lining is in tatter. I’ve meant to redo the lining for the longest time. But who like doing such mend & alteration right?) Anyway, 8 years later and I still haven’t done anything with the fabric.

Now bouclé is a fabric with such heavy cultural baggage. Have you seen much that isn’t the Little French Jacket? And the Little French Jacket has been so done on the sewing blogsphere that I feel I’ve made thousands of them already even though I’ve made none. Besides, this green doesn’t really scream Chanel to me. I have another bouclé (a magenta) that I might eventually make into a Little French with a Twist. But only after the craze has died down. (Any chance of that?)

The only alternative I’ve seen a few times is biker style jacket. I’m not really feeling it with this color. So trolling through my magazine clippings I uncovered a couple of gems that seems like the perfect (literal) matches (I’m very imaginative that way wink wink). They’re the inspirations for Design 1 & 5.

  1. I really like Design 1 from Peter Som. I can’t quite decide if it’s edgy or dowdy. I like that tension. I’m even inspired to incorporate chamomile organza contrast binding into mine.
  2. Continuing on the slightly retro theme is Design 2 inspired by an Advance sewing pattern illustrated in Blueprints of Fashion: Home Sewing Patterns of the 1950s. I like the sack in the back with slim belting in the front. Best of both world? But Croquis is not looking lovely.
  3. Another retro look is Design 3 a proper 60s (?) suit for the Lady who Lunches. I’m sure I got that yellow suited inspiration photo from Tatler the UK society mag. But Croquis is looking tubby.
  4. Design 4 is my reluctant attempt to give LFJ a go. I won’t I can’t do bog standard LFJ uniform. This shrunken one featured in Vogue (?) at least is a tad rebellious. But not sure about the buttons on the breast pockets. Might be a bit too in your face. And I’m not sure it works in the dark color I have.
  5. Design 5 I like (probably partly because it’s shown on an Asian model that I can pretend to be). But I can’t see the rest of it. So I’m imagining that it looks something like Simplicity 2508. It’s a design that I can potentially add a detachable fake fur / shearling collar to (if I have enough left over from the fake shearling aviator hat!) But do I have enough of this bouclé fabric for a coat length jacket? Because I do also want to make…

Tada! Another princess pencil skirt. Don’t ask. I don’t even wear them that much lately. But I did make another textured (boiled) wool pencil skirt a long time ago that again I wore to death. I’m hoping for a repeat success. I’m thinking of continuing the chamomile organza contrast binding from the jacket / coat into the skirt.

And the candy cane stripe is just thrown in to remind myself I need to make more of those classy Breton Ts that I wear to death (again).

I’m leaning towards Design 1 or 5. If I wear the Breton  stripe T with Design 1 and the pencil skirt, would I look ready for Santa’s Elf Crew you think?

Fall-Winter 2014 SWAP … batch 3 designs

So while we have the green jersey leftover out, on the off chance that there’s more leftover after the green fake suede jacket, we have more designs that make use of it. I’m really going for it now – Stash busting that is. Three of the fabrics in this batch have been in the Stash since before I even moved to London. They must be over 20 years old now!

batch 3 designs
batch 3 inspirations

So step up candidate heather blue sweater / rib jersey, dark teal jersey, and whatever’s left of the apple green jersey. I think all three were from NY Elegant.

I’ve always wanted the rib one to be a cardigan. But I’m not sure if I could make it work. Normally cardigans have two sizes of knit – bigger ribs for the hem, cuffs, and maybe collar / front button band; and finer knit for the bodice & sleeves. It’s neigh on impossible to find such made-in-heaven pairs from fabric stores. (I’ve tried recently with plans for brown and black cardigans. So many different browns. So many shades of blacks!) I’m not sure yet how I’m going to solve this one. I might just cut the hem & cuffs smaller and ease in the bodice & sleeves. Or I might try this fake ribbing technique from an old Threads article which The Sewing Diva demonstrated here.

In any case, the inspiration is Vivienne Westwood (again!). Her orb logo cardigan and cardi-short (???) I’m obviously turning the cardi-short into a cardi-skirt. I highly doubt I’ll get much wear out of a cardi-short. The skirt I’m planning fake front opening. Don’t want any wardobe malfunctioning now do we.

The dark teal jersey I’m thinking a Sybilla F/W 1989 inspired tie-front jacket. And another shrug collar top which I might be able to wear under the matching jacket? And if I’m really lucky and have enough leftover, maybe this color-blocked zip-front top inspired by Peter Pilotto S/S 2012 and based on Burdastyle 2013-06-124 zip-up tank.

Going back to the fake suede theme, the last two in this batch is for the most heavenly fake suede like drapy fabric I found in NY Elegant. So soooooft. Not sure the designs I pick are right for it. The fabric might be too limp. On the other hand maybe a limp drapy fabric would be the best candidate for experimenting with blocky oversized top like this Dolce & Gabbana F/W 2013 drop-shoulder T inspiration. Maybe it’ll mold to the figure rather than box it. And I’ve been yearning for a fake suede or leather slim pants. The inspiration here is Patrone 325 #15. (I’ve been rather unlucky with my Patrone subscription. The year I subscribed they have hardly any that seem designery or editorial. Lots of casual wear which doesn’t really inspire me or suit my lifestyle. Where did all the designer knock-offs go!!!???) In any case, OMG, imagine the feel of this buttery fabric on my legs, OMG, will I be able to get anything done while wearing it? And isn’t it about time I face my fear of pants fitting?

Fall-Winter 2014 SWAP … batch 2 designs

Now in no particular orders, the rest of my SWAP inspirations & designs batch by batch. This batch is all about fake suede!


It started long ago with an A-line real suede skirt I owned. I loved its casual chic but couldn’t cope with the exorbitant cleaning bill. So when it became unpresentably dirty I donated it to the charity shop for someone more resourceful to clean and enjoy. But I vowed to replace it with a fake suede version.

faux-suede-bolero-08The next step was getting the fake suede fabric. I found it in the home decor fabric shop that used to be in the basement of ABC Carpets in NYC.  Perhaps it’s not the best fake suede for garments – it’s a bit stiff and spongy, even after many washings. But I got seduced by the soothing colors and velvety texture. I ended up with 4 colors! One I actually already made into a self-drafted bolero jacket that I didn’t blog. It was a style without much drape, so passable in this fabric. I think my A-line skirt should be OK too. The rust color skirt in mood board above looks fairly similar to the one I’m trying to recreate.

But what to do with the leftover green fake suede? Because it was bought for the skirt, I’m not sure I’ll have enough for a full matching jacket. So I’m thinking a moto jacket like the brown one in the mood board, with sleeves cut from a green jersey leftover from this top.

For the pale blue version of this fake suede I decided to go pencil…well, because I get easily bored? Two similarly shaped skirt in the same fabric in similar tones seems too much of a good thing! I picked princess line shaping again because I’m worried darts will look pointy in this stiff spongy fabric. Again for added interest I’m going for a single front princess slit. And since this adds asymmetrical already I went the whole hog for asymmetry at the waist as well.

Actually, it looks a lot like Burdastyle 2013-09-105 slit skirt apart from converting all darts to princess lines. I might make the matching belt removable so I can get a smooth line under untucked tops and add the belt back for tucked tops. Without the belt details the design just looks a bit off. Even for me!

And since I have a bit more of this blue fabric than the green one, I think I should be able to make a matching jacket as well. But I’m undecided about which design to go for: Burdastyle 2014-02-115 structured peplum top/jacket or Burdastyle 2013-08-113 puff sleeve jacket. I’m leaning towards the puff sleeve despite being paranoid about having wider shoulder than hip (and therefore theoretically should avoid anything that exaggerates the shoulder). In my croquis drawing at least, I tried hiding my shoulder width in the puff sleeve – ie bring the shoulder points in a little bit so the puff goes over the natural curves over my arm joinst rather than stick out & away. Not sure if the fabric would behave this way in real life. But if I succeed, then maybe I’ll look as tall & trim as this virtual me. Comparing the two croquis, I think this one creates a more upward visual effect by breaking the body into a series of narrower vertical blocks. That’s it for my design theory of the day anyway. What do you think? Have you ever abused design tricks to reshape your body without the knives?

Fall-Winter 2014 SWAP … batch 1 designs

I had these design & inspiration posts lined up for ages now, but got distracted then lost the mojo to finish them. But as Me-Made-Tote the Second is from this batch, and possibly the next two projects, maybe it’s time to finish them.

batch 2 designs
- SWAP2014aw-2-inspirations

So you’ve seen the tote already.

The fake fur shawl should be dead easy. But I’m not sure how useful it’ll actually be. I love the glamor & already bought the fake fur ages ago. On the other hand, it’s so fiddly to wear & isn’t really that warm as it only covers the shoulders. I’m not one who need only spot protection from the cold. Chunky short sleeve sweaters have never made any sense to me either. The other fake fur (shearling) shawl I made a while back has been languishing in the closet collecting dust. So maybe this one can wait.

The fake shearling aviator hat on the other hand would be so timely as height of Winter approaches. This would help me use up the rest of the fake shearling.

But I think I’ll probably make the two white ‘sweaters’ next. I’m losing my sewing room to visiting relatives over the coming month. And for these two I plan to add knitted ribs to the woven gauze bodice. So I can do the knitting while the sewing room is out of commission. I would have loved for both garment to be made from knits entirely. But I couldn’t find any plain mohair sweater knit in a neutral off-white color. What I ended up getting was loosely woven mohair gauze from Moods in NYC, and matching mohair yarn to knit the collars and ribs for the sleeve and bodice hem. The sweater proper is to replace a RTW I loved that I mistakenly shrunken in the wash & dry. I’m hoping there’ll be enough left of the gauze to make the long sleeve shrug.

Lastly are designs for the loveliest double-sided mohair sweater knit I got from NY Elegant. I love both sides of the fabric. And I could really do with some black garments. I’ve been going all browns & colorful lately that my black wardrobe is in seriously neglected state. But it would be a sin to hide the sumptuous orange mohair side. So more reversible garments it is. I’m thinking princess pencil skirt to cut down on the bulk. But I wanted a bit of variety in my pencil skirts. So this one will have asymmetrical front & slit. I haven’t decided on the top. I was originally thinking another cowl sweater, but now think a sweater jacket would be more versatile. Either the Burda option which is quite simple and potentially boxy, or the Vogue option which is more shapely, but might not be as versatile as it might not look as good worn unbuttoned. The other problem with the Vogue option is that it has waist pleats. That might look weird reversed. In any case I won’t have to decide until I get my sewing room back post-holidays.

Yet another lace skirt!

First one for me, but obviously not for the internet. Skip if you’re already yawning! ;-) This one is the first of my self-drafted “straight” skirt planned for the Year of the Skirts.

Style Shots & Mug Shots

 

 

The Inspiration & Design

I normally don’t go for lace. They’re usually too dainty, or too mother of the bride conservative, or too boudoir for me.

But I loved the styling for Burdastyle 2013-03-109 Lace Skirt.

It’s so Spring like and “airy”. I know, it’s coming up to Fall. But I’m usually a season or a few years behind.

I was originally going to use this Burda pattern. But since I’m sorting out basic skirt blocks for myself, I thought I might as well test the one closest to this Burda skirt. Then I won’t have to test and alter two lots of patterns.

The Pattern

Block Used: Straight Skirt Block

This is the one derived from a combination of Kenneth King moulage and straight skirt instruction that I blogged about here.

Design Changes Made

  1. Moved the darts slightly to work with the lace’s regular repeat pattern. The darts are still within my acceptable range.
  2. Moved the side seam slightly and widen at the hem slightly, again to work with the lace’s pattern.
  3. For the lace layer, joined up one side seam at the hem just above the scallop to minimize piecing required.
  4. Went for the above-knee length. I originally planned a longer length. But after trying out on Q, I decided the shorter length looks more modern when paired with my new I’m-A-Dress-Form top. As I had already cut the lace with scalloped hem, I had to shorten from the waist.

In retrospect maybe I should have widen the hemline a bit more. Mine is not as wide as the Burda pattern at the hem. I was worried that with a straight hem rather than a curved hem (to make use of the straight scallop edge), a wider hem would dip at the side seams. But the result of my narrower hem is that my skirt doesn’t look as airy as the Burda photo.

Fabric & Notions Used

Construction Notes

Well the making this skirt was hell of a needless palava. I was hell-bent on making the skirt “airy (fairy)”. But I think my pattern and fabric combination slayed my effort. The result was a bit mother of bride-y to be honest and I could have arrive at this result with a lot less hassle.

  • Palava #1: To Underline or to Line. Almost all of the guipure lace skirt articles I found suggested underlining and even quilting the lace to the underlining with rows of loose hand tacking. That did not appeal to me. The examples all look too structured rather than “airy”. So after much agonizing I decided to treat the underlayers like linings, except the “wrong sides” – ie the side with visible darts and seam allowances – are inside / next to the body. The layers are joined at the waist but allowed to roam freely and independently at the hem. The two underlayers are also joined at the invisible side zipper.
    In retrospect I needn’t have bothered. The skirt pattern wasn’t wide enough for the underlayers to roam freely. The cotton lace didn’t help by shrinking on contact with water it seems, making the fit even more snug. So my attempt at separate closure for the lace layer with a row of eyes and hook also failed miserably with gap-ahoy. In the end I had to hand tack the lace to the zipper edge and seal off raw cut on the lace with Fray Check.
  • Palava #1.1: Lace Seaming.

    Because of my decision to treat the lace layer separately I suffered massive amount of hand sewing. I thought I’d try applique seaming that’s sometimes suggested for guipure lace. But the tiny overlapped edges looked bumpy. I was also afraid the machines will choke on the uneven bumps. So I ended up trimming away most of the seam allowances and then try to butt connect the cut edges by hand mimicking the lace design with tread bars and rather random overcasting stitches. As you can imagine it took ages for 4 darts and 2 side seams.

  • Palava #2: Underlayer fabric choices. The reason I chose Georgette on top of Charmeuse was to soften the transition from see-through lace to opaque lining, again for a more “airy (fairy)” effect. But it didn’t really work: the transition still looked quite abrupt when I hem the two underlayers different lengths. So both ended up about the same length at the top of the scallop edging. I’ve since been studying photos of some Dolce & Gabbana lace skirts & dresses I liked to see what I did wrong. But on closer inspection a lot of them do seem to show the legs, which even when paired with granny shorts seems sadly a bit impractical for real life. I love the look, but I don’t love the hassle & snarky remarks I might get wearing that sort of outfits :.( Maybe I should have gone for flesh colored China Silk instead of Charmeuse. That might have been a better compromise to preserve modesty without an abrupt transition from lace to opaque.
  • NOT A Palava: Taming the slippery underlayer beasts. For the Georgette & Charmeuse, I resorted to tons & tons of spray starch. Yeah, naughty me. But despite what the experts advice about silk (dry clean only), I plan to hand wash these. I have little space in my closet for Divas, and tailored garments have already reserved that title. So no fiddly tissue papers for me. The spray starch made these Diva fabrics much easier to handle. They still wanted to shift and slip, but at least not at a mere sneeze. It also helped to control fraying a little bit. And made it a bit easier to mark these fabrics with chalk. (I used Clover Chaco Liner. It’s the easiest of what I have that doesn’t leave a permanent mark. But I’m still on the hunt for even better marking tool / method. If you have a trick for marking slippery lightweight fabrics please do share!)
  • And the Rest:
    • The underlayer were french seamed by machine, and narrow hemmed by hand.
    • For closure I resort to my favorite – an lightweight invisible zipper.
      Mercury Handmade Fashion’s recent blog tutorial on  invisible zipper in a french seam came in really handy. I had two separate layers of french seams to deal with. So it was slow going with a fair bit of hand basting. And for waist facing I resorted to petersham + skirt eye & hook like with my other recent skirts.
    • And I finally took the plunge and tried out my hem marker. The white chalk powder worked surprisingly well on these ivory Georgette & Charmeuse. But to be on the safe side I thread-traced as soon as marked…using red threads. Yeah, me bad. But my aging eyes thanked me for it. But wait, what’s this, the Georgette layer still ends up with a crooked hem peaking out from under the lace shell! WTF!?!? I swear it was level when I marked. I’m hoping it’s my naughty ironing of the Georgette layer (yeah, me bad again) that maybe stretched that bit out. Hopefully a wash will relax the fabric and return it to the proper even length again. Worst case I’ll re-hem that bit.

The Verdict

The skirt is definitely wearable. But it sure was way too much effort for what it is. It’s nothing special design-wise — more of a team player than a superstar. Nor is it spectacularly flattering. I definitely could have simplify the process rather than let the lace bullied me into so much hand-sewing.

After I made this I checked out the fancy dress department at a local department store to gauge what seaming might work in the future. I think for a fitted look, the underlining approach is the way to go – ie handle the lace and an underlayer as one so the SA are all hidden by the underlayer. For a looser fitting look, I’d go with some sort of overlocked seam so that the SA sticks out from the seam and isn’t so visible from the outside (compared with being pressed to one side of the seam).

Flocked Denim Pencil Skirt

This is the second of my self-drafted pencil skirt planned for this Year of the Skirts. The silhouettes & patterns are basically the same. But I’m experimenting with different finishing details, fabric combinations, & maybe lengths to avoid making the same skirt over & over again. I want to see what sort of detail changes will give each pencil skirt a personality of her own.  So maybe I’ll do a comparison round up post after I’ve made all three. For now Pencil Skirt No. 2 wants her 15 seconds of fame!

Style Shots & Mug Shots

 

The Inspiration & Design

The inspiration started with this lovely flocked denim from Mood LA I bought 2 years ago. I was debating how best to showcase the large motif. Originally I was going to make the whole skirt out of it (like Oonaballoona did with her dress). But my Inner Scottishness took over. I decided to spread the love over multiple me-mades. So for this skirt, it takes center front stage. For a matching jacket I’m dreaming about it’ll take center back stage. And the bits & pieces left over will show up god knows when or where.

Now the coordinating fabric…well, it’s not as coordinated as I would like. The lovely flocked denim is the darndest shade of odd gray with a warm greenish tinge. Her sparring partner in the meanwhile is a bog standard gray denim with a cold bluish tinge, also from Mood LA. Any stylist would tell you to keep your warm & cold undertones apart. In fact, never mix them in the same outfit if you can’t resist wearing colors of different undertone to your own skin.

I searched high & low for a better match. But London yielded no result (Fashion Capital of the World my ***). So I made the executive decision that Sod the Stylists It Looks Fine Because I’m So Punk! I did make a concession and kept two fabric apart with a velvet rope piping boundary line.

0plans-skirts Silhouette-wise I decided to continue the flocked denim’s High-Low theme (formal damask pattern in indulgent velvety flock vs rough & tumble denim). Since the Substance is more rough & low, the Form went formal & high. A shapely princess pencil skirt it is then.

I kept the back details subtle & complimentary to the Diva in the front. But to stop the yawns I…

  • traded bog standard CB slit / vent for two princess vents;
  • topped these off with matching velvet buttons – my inspiration was sort of historical military jackets;
  • and tasked the CB invisible zipper with maintaining the formal symmetry.

The Pattern

Block Used: 1-Dart Pencil Skirt

This is the one derived from a combination of Kenneth King moulage and pencil skirt instruction that I blogged about here.

Design Changes Made

  1. Lowered waistline slightly (3/4″) to avoid optically widen the narrowest part of my waist with the horizontal waistline. Also remove tinsy bit of ease from the new lowered waistline so the skirt doesn’t hang even lower than expected.
  2. Convert darts to princess seam. Back princess seam is tapered below hip. Front princess seam below hip is style line only (ie seam added without tapering).
  3. Repositioned front princess line to work with the size of the motif on the flocked denim.
  4. Kept CB seam for shaping above the hip for a closer fit, and for the CB invisible zipper.
  5. Added extra seam allowance to back princess seam below mid-thigh for princess seam vents.

Fabric & Notions Used

Construction Notes

One things that slows down my self-drafted me-mades is figuring out the construction & finishing details. The design details & fabrics I’ve chosen all call for anything other than the bog standard seam & seam finishing. Maybe with more design experience the selection of seams & finishing would be second nature & more speedy. For now you’ll have to put up with my glacial speed.

  • Lesson learnt: Overlock the edges before you sew the seams, especially if the seam allowances of such bulky fabric will be pressed open.
    In keeping with the formal silhouette, I wanted seam & hem finishing that’s more formal. So no jean-style bulky flat-fell. I was going to press open the seam allowances & overlock each SA separately. But I found it very difficult to overlock once the seam has been sewn because the uneven bulk the feed dog / presser foot has to handle: 1-layer SA on one side of the seam vs 3 bulky layers on the other (1 SA + 2 shell layers). So the fabric wouldn’t feed properly. Maybe if the SA was wider so the bulk is to one side of the presser foot…But then the SA might be unwieldy where the seam is curved. I end up having to overlock both SA layers together, then top-stitch in place. Thankfully top-stitching was virtually invisible, so didn’t detract from the formal theme.
  • No lining this time. I was tempted. My default is to line everything. But as the fabric has a bit of stretch, I would have to get stretch lining. Then I start wondering why I assume lining is necessary all the time. Many of my favorite RTW skirts don’t have lining and I still wear them loads. So I jumped. It seems in keeping with denim anyway.
  • Waist finishing: I’m experimenting with petersham ribbon as my go-to light-weight skirt waistline finishing. I could have used facing as well, but it would have to be a lighter weight fabric to avoid ridges. But, erm, petersham is easier? :-) The bottom of the ribbon is only tacked at the seams & CF to make it easier to press without the ribbon’s bottom edge striking through. The ribbon also act as a waist stay of sort with the addition of hook & eye. I find it easier / less taxing on the invisible zipper if the waist is already hooked together at the waist opening.
  • Hemming: The hem edge is simply overlocked, not turned under as that would be too bulky for a more discrete hem. I decided against top-stitching here to continue the formal theme. But this time instead of standard catch stitch I tried blind catch stitch. Since the skirt isn’t lined, I thought avoiding stretches of exposed threads (eg from standard catch stitch) would be a good idea – more durable with less exposure to friction. I should try machine blind stitch one day. Maybe even on the overlocker! I don’t feel brave enough yet though.

The Verdict

I’m pretty pleased with the result. It makes me look like I actually have a bum! Probably thanks to the combination of stiff fabric & back princess shaping.

Having worn this a few times now I think if I were using the same patterns for non-stretch woven fabrics then I might reduce the back princess below hip tapering to give me a bit more hem ease. These denims have a little bit of stretch, so the shapelier tapering is fine this time, but might be a bit risky with my unladylike wide stride.

Skirt Blocks redux

Next couple of projects on my plate are two I planned for this Year Of The Skirts: the 2nd & 5th from the left below…

0plans-skirts

So I better catch you up on more tweaks (yes again!) to my skirt blocks.

A while back I drafted & muslined my Pencil Skirt & “Straight Skirt” (looks more A-line to me) Blocks. They are based on Kenneth King’s Skirts CD book. I had already derived an 1-Dart Princess Pencil Skirt Block from them and made it into my reversible teal+brown floral print pencil skirt (middle skirt in the skirts sewing plan above).

Then I got talking to Barbara, a long-time sewer who trained in fashion design & patternmaking at Pratt. She advised that I create a group of mix & match block pieces so I can quickly create new designs with minimum fuss using different combinations of bodice, sleeves, skirts, etc.

Great idea. But here’s the gotchas with my current Blocks:

  1. The Top & the Skirt Blocks were developed separately. The skirts are each drafted from scratch rather than based on the Moulage/French Block. So the waist darts don’t match. Now there’s no rule that they have to match, and in fact maybe you’d achieve better fitting separates if you can consider bodice & skirt separately. But aesthetically, I really wanted the option to continue that dart seam line from bust to hip for dresses with a waist seam. (I guess for dresses without waist seam – ie with fisheye dart from bust to hip – I should be using the hip length French Top Block.)
  2. Also, when I was fitting the pencil skirt before, I made Fitting & Pattern Alteration style protruding thigh alteration. This threw some irregularities into the side seam (front is hitched up, and the front & back side seams are different angle). The irregularities made deriving further design blocks very confusing since the instructions in my flat pattern design books don’t deal with quirky patterns of non-standard bodies!

So I experimented with…

  • Moving the skirts’ darts to match the Top Block’s waist darts.
  • Adjust the side seam shaping to reflect my hip-length Top Block side seam. This also made front & back side seam more similarly shaped / angled, with the front more uniformly larger than the back.
  • Accommodating my prominent front thigh with wider front darts instead of the F&PA method.

Here are my revised pencil & straight skirt blocks:

I muslined the tweaks again, and thankfully the changes have not thrown anything off. In fact, I think the tweaked pencil skirt block might actually look a tad more flattering. Even though the side seam has the same amount of tapering at the hem as before (1″), the deeper darts seem to have shifted volume from side-side to front-back. So from the front the skirt looks a tad slimmer.

Sorry, I forgot to take photos of the new muslins for comparison. But I liked how the muslin look so much that I’m considering turning them into vintage-inspired wearable top & skirts. So you may still see them yet!

I also discovered that I can sort of get away with different positions for the darts as long as they’re within a certain range. Most of my lower half mounds (tummy, bum) don’t have as clearly defined a peak as the bodice mounds (bust points & shoulder blades). So there doesn’t seem to be an one & only one “correct” position for the skirt dart points.

However, with my front darts, I do find I get slightly better result if I split it into two darts, one for the tummy & one for my protruding hip bone (which like the bust. does have a more clearly defined peak).

So this experiment has been productive. I now know that I have options when I use my skirt blocks to design my own skirt patterns. And that comes in especially handy for my next project – the pencil skirt with the floral motif CF panel.