I bought this poly shantung at Joann’s a couple of years ago, with a plan clearly in mind. Then I promptly decided I hated the plan and this piece has been sitting around ever since. I’m sure that never happens to anybody else, right?
After letting this piece ferment in fabric purgatory, I decided to use McCalls 6706, which has a hi-lo option (View C). The goal was something fun for the weekend that felt both elegant and attention-getting, but also casual enough to wear without needing an occasion. I thought the texture of the shantung combined with the pleats would result in a skirt with some appealing volume and structure.
I typically cut a straight pattern size, often a 4 or 6 with no muslining or tweaking. My body type is close enough to the Big 4 standard blocks that it works out okay. Buuuut, my body’s changing. I had a couple of Vogue patterns come out tighter than I wanted, so I was like, “I’m going to be a real sewer, and measure myself and actually use the size chart on the pattern. Aren’t I official?”
But I measured out a size 12 on this McCalls. I’ve never gone over a pattern size 8, so I was taken aback and assumed there was just an excess of ease that was included in the measurements. (Any time I’ve tried to go by pattern measurements, I end up with a crazy amount of ease and end up taking the whole thing in anyway.) So I split the difference, and cut a 10. Pretty generous, right? I mean, I went up 2 whole sizes from my usual…
After basting all the pleats and inserting the zipper, I tried the skirt on. What was supposed to be sitting at my natural waist was instead sitting directly under my ribs, or rather *on* my bottom ribs. My first thought: Oh shit, this is way too tight! My second thought: I don’t know how to fix this with all the pleating, and I have other high-waisted skirts that fit similarly. I bet once I get the waistband on, it’ll be a tight fit, but will still work.
Cut to me sewing in and then ripping out the waistband, and cursing myself for trimming the seam allowance prematurely. It would’ve been technically possible, but a real stretch to fit in the skirt comfortably. I could’ve added a hook and eye, and just had the waistband come together with no overlap. But then I came to my senses. Tight skirts that crush your ribs are not fun. I’m not likely to get much smaller in the waist anytime soon. It was time to do the thing I avoid at all costs: alterations.
I took out some of the fullness of the front pleat (thinking that the place I want the least fullness is probably my belly). I also inserted a band of fabric into the lining (yeah, ivory skirt, definitely calls for adding a lining…). It’s not pretty, but I could not care less what the lining looks like. I also took the lazy way out of the waistband, just adding on a chunk of interfaced fabric. I really did not want to recut and re-interface the whole piece, and I’m planning on this being a weekend garment anyway. So not a perfectionist when it comes to sewing. I don’t think it detracts much at all:
I also questioned the hi-lo hem. I’d added four inches to the bottom of the front and back when I was cutting out. Once I tried it on, though, it looked, well, weird.
I took some length off of the back, brought the front hem up a bit too, and just played with it until it looked right. A lot of the issue was that the hem length doesn’t change gradually; it goes from hi to lo right at the side seam. Creating a smoother curve went a long way toward achieving the look I was imagining.
One hand-stitched hem and a couple of snaps later, and I had my skirt ready to wear! (Okay, it actually sat there for about a week between those things because UGH sewing snaps on.) I think it plays on the idea of a tulle skirt with the color and volume, but stays firmly planted on this side of adulthood. (Grown women who wear poofy tulle skirts in real life, if you exist outside of Pinterest, I question your judgement.)
Regarding budget, this fabric came from my stash, as did the zipper. I estimate I paid $6/yd for the fabric, because I know it was a sale that got me to pull out my wallet. At 2 yards with the zipper and lining, this is approximately a $16 skirt.
Now, let’s see how quickly I can spill red wine on this garment!
Update: I wore this to the symphony, and loved it! It feels special and unique. We were wine tasting before our pre-concert dinner (you know, when you have half an hour to kill in Carmel, what are you going to do?). End result: no spills! However, I’ve only worn it casually once, and I’m not sure what to pair with it. A fitted scoop back tee? Time to find something in the pattern stash and put this skirt to use before summer’s over!