Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sewing Dare no. 1:
My Jazzy Aristocats Circle Skirt

Jazzy circle skirt
My happy picture: too bad you can't see the
 whole skirt and my shoes that I wore just
for the pictures...
The Stitchy Details:
  • Challenge Theme: #sewingdares
  • Pattern used: Self drafted 
  • Fabric: My pretty Aristocats cotton, bought from Etsy and no longer available
  • Notions: Zipper and 2 snap fasteners
  • Did you make any pattern alterations or design changes? No changes, since there was no pattern...
  • First worn/Wear again? Worn today to work. Will wear again for sure. Probably even dancing on the weekend, if I don't feel that the petticoat waist is too bulky.
  • Total price: ~49 €
  • Time to complete: 14h 15min

Jazzy circle skirt
Front view without
a petticoat
I decided to go for the Monthly Stitch format for all my finished project entries, although I added the time to make, which is pretty accurate, but I always round up to closest 15 min. I'm a bit anal of doing things in a consistent way... Maybe it's the scientist in me, or the accountant. Who knows. In any case, I thought it was a good one, so I'm stealing it for my blog.

So, I didn't have a pattern this time. I almost said it's my first time without a pattern, but that's not true. I've done self drafting before (from old clothes), like the top here. And I did sew a skirt in high school with the same method and that actually turned out quite well. But I've never done it on my own before. So, without my mother's help, that is. But I'm really getting more confident with my skills. I have a great machine that I pretty much know how to use (I used to have my grandma's old, which brought me to tears every time), and then there's the internet. And I know where my weaknesses lie (read: fitting).

So, I had made all these calculations as I wanted to make as long circle skirt as possible to have the more authentic vintage look. Well, I know Aristocats don't really fit into that as the film was made in the 70s (1970 to be exact: I just had to google...) but in any case. And hey: they liked jazz, I like jazz, I'm making a skirt for dancing to jazz... But I'm going on a tangent here. So, I actually calculated how long it should be and stuff and when I started actually making the skirt I realized that I did these calculations for nothing. Nothing wrong with the calculations themselves, but I didn't think that I have one way design on the fabric, which means I have to cut the both sides the same way and I can't use the sideways cutting...

Pockets - what a happy idea!
But after that it was pretty much a breeze. I wanted to have pockets, like I always do, but I just used the same pattern piece I drafted for my Réglisse. I even used the same fabric as in Réglisse, the one that was left over from Pastille that never came to be... I also am not a fan of an elastic waist. So, that meant a zipper and a waistband (waistband being the reason it has taken so long for me to get to this: I wanted solid black fabric for it). I found great help for this as I was wondering how to put the zipper in as I didn't want to add a pocket AND a zipper to the same seam. But Casey over at Elegant Musings has a series of circle skirt tutorials (it was a sew-along). I used her method to add a slashed zipper and also the instructions on the waistband. Well I did make some mistakes in the waistband originally, so I ended up cutting a new one. Luckily I had a bunch of the black fabric: it was super wide, from the home decoration side of the fabric shop and you had to buy at least 50cm. Well, there's a lot of it...

The hem finish
Only thing that really took time was hand stitching the hem. But I think it was worth it. I was a bit annoyed how that turned out on my Réglisse and I really wanted this to look good and not go wonky. And I think I achieved that, you can judge from the picture. I also used the bias I had left from Réglisse, so I could have a longer hem. I don't know about the hem calculations, but this ended up being almost as long as I originally wanted (maybe it's my waistband that lowers the hem). But I would've been finished a day earlier if I had stitched it with the machine (it took me like 4h to do the whole hem...). But as I said, in the end, I think it's worth it. And when it was all finished, I realized I had a problem with the waistband, so I changed it back to the original that I had already discarded and actually that one worked really well :) I actually wanted to put in a skirt hook instead of the snaps for fasteners, but I realized that the ones they sold me were for pants and they were huge. So, not really great for my kind of flimsy waistband. And the other hooks I have were too small. But luckily I have a lot of snaps... I always buy them thinking I don't have any, but I have a lot, even some black ones.

So, my pictures today didn't turn out so great, but at least you can see the skirt. In the side view pictures you can really see the difference when wearing a petticoat or not. I have one with a bit of tulle, my mom made it for me for a 50s skirt when I was in high school. It's a cheap version, but actually quite accurate for what was worn at the time (my mom still remembers).
Jazzy circle skirt
Side view without a petticoat
Jazzy circle skirt
Side view with a petticoat
Thanks Clare for challenging me to do this! And of course Gillian to arrange everything in the first place! It was fun and I'm really happy about my new skirt! Here's some compulsory swirly pictures where it's really advantageous to have a petticoat!

Jazzy circle skirtJazzy circle skirt
Jazzy circle skirt

And on the giveaway news: I never reached the Colette Sewing Book winner, so I chose a new winner:
I will mail all the prizes this week. I hope you enjoy them!


  1. Lovely skirt. So classic and flattering. And a great reminder that I need a few of these in my wardrobe!

  2. Thanks! I find it very satisfying when swirling :)

  3. Terrific job! Drafted and sewn yourself, very satisfying. Love your fabrics for both skirt and facings/pockets. I think I lie it best with the petticoat, it twirls fantastically!

  4. Ya, 'like' it best, not 'lie' it best. Huge thumbs, small phone keyboard.

  5. Yes, definitely looks best with a petticoat, but I'm so not wearing a tulle petticoat to work (it's not the most fun thing to sit in). So I'll save that for dancing :)

  6. Well done! it's such a cute skirt - and will be a great conversation-starter at dance nights! I love the contrast bias on the inside, and I'm impressed with your handstitching! I'm so glad you enjoyed your sewing dare!!!!

  7. Pretty skirt.. Just love the way those circle skirts flare out when you spin. Very feminine! ~Laurie

  8. Thanks! I'm actually more comfortable with hand stitching than with the machine... I'm definitely more accurate, but I'm actually improving with machine stitching as well :)

  9. I know! Although sometimes in dancing this is a drawback: if you have a skirt that looks good while spinning, guys make you do that a lot...

  10. Lovely skirt! I can't believe you hemmed it by hand, so much work!!

  11. Yes it was... But I'm happy I did now. I was so annoyed in the end that I didn't line my cape, so I decided it's better to do it the hard way (my way). Also, gave me an excuse to watch Star Trek TOS, that I have on my computer... :)