Saturday, June 27, 2009

Silk 10yd Skirt and my sister the sewing genius!

you're wondering what the fabric was that was so distracting yesterday, right?

silk! mmmm, silk. gaaah, silk!

my little sister is, as usual, incredibly overbooked and frantically busy. about a week and a half ago i took pity on her and asked if there was anything i could do to help her. she's finishing up several custom projects, including several weddings, and still needed to finish her own costume for a big annual costume "ball" that friends of hers organize every year. considering that a lot of her clients are within the same social circle, she tends to really go out with her costumes (plus, she's like i used to be, when i had the energy - any excuse to make an elaborate outfit!) she asked if i would make her a gathered belly dancing skirt, commonly called 10 yard skirts, because the bottom tier is 10 yards around. it was something that i could do without her corset making expertise, plus i have a ruffler foot, so it would take me much less time than it would her.

i, in my typical procrastinating way, left it to the last minute. not entirely on purpose, because this has been a pretty crappy week, but i could have started the first steps on wednesday or thursday, but didn't. i kept thinking "it's just a skirt. how long can it take?"

a LONG LONG time!

first, math is so not my strong point. since i was using the ruffler foot, i needed the gathering to be about the same amount for both lower tiers. i added up the total length, considered that i had 3 strips that long once i'd cut them, and then figured out how long each tier should be. it took me way longer than it should have, but that was partly because i couldn't find a calculator and everytime i sat down on the computer to use google (i love using google as a calculator, i'm a geek, i know!), i'd get distracted by other things. plus, i tend to forget how many breaks my body needs now. you'd think i'd have learned, but i'm in subconscious denial or something.

anyway, i wanted the difference between the layers to be x2, so the final measurements were 86" for the top tier, 172" for the middle tier, and 344" for the bottom tier. not quite 10 yards, but pretty close.

the fabric she had was a 6yard length of sand washed emerald green silk. GORGEOUS. (sandwashed silk is sometimes called sueded silk too) she found it at value village for $5 or $6. she has amazing luck finding fabric at value village!

so super gorgeous, super soft, and super duper slinky and slippery. i had to pin every 1/2"-1" all the way along the selevedges, and even so, it didn't cut straight. the last time i sewed with sandwashed silk was cutting up my parent's worn out shirts to make barbie clothes, at the height of the sandwashed silk trend - late 80s, early 90s!

eventually i just went with it, because there was nothing i could do. luckily with a skirt like this, minor curves are minimized by the gathering anyway. the ruffler foot worked super slick once i had the setting and the stitch length down, so that was awesome.

this morning she came over, and we realized that the silk had really stretched from the weight of the gathers, and the skirt was way too long. blegh! i had to unpick the waistband and redo it and the buttonholes 4" lower before i could put the elastic and the drawstring through.

but i got it done! and it looks amazing. i went through 3 needles (i used fine sharps needles, but even so, the silk seemed to dull them really fast, and the fabric pulled once they were dull), and a crapton of thread, but it turned out gorgeous.


none of the pics i took managed to show the colour perfectly, so just imagine a super deep emerald green, okay?



it is so so full! it doesn't look super bulky, since the silk is so thin, but it billows out fabulously behind her when she walks fast.


i'm really happy with it, but slightly rethinking my plan to make myself a knee length tiered skirt....

while she was here, i took some pics of the custom corset and chemise that she finished up this morning. (she made an awesome period accurate pair of bloomers too, but i didn't get a picture of them)

(we were in such a rush to take the pics, we forgot that the chemise seams and hem hadn't been pressed yet, so ignore that!)






isn't it gorgeous? her corsets are AMAZING! the amount of work that goes into each one is mind boggling. she does have an etsy shop, if you'd like to see more of her corsets,but she keeps selling them locally, so there's only a few left in her shop. i keep telling her she needs to take pictures and show them off more!


Jennie said...

Wow, your sister really is a genius! And your skirt looks fantastic. Such a talented family!

amy dame said...


she's amazing with corsets and period pieces! it's funny though - she's so used to doing the period stuff that when she has to do something like an invisible zipper, she comes to me!

we both sew like mad, and my mom used to, though never to the extent we do. definitely a creative family though!

Natasha said...

So gorgeous! I need to figure out my own ruffler foot!

Related Posts with Thumbnails