I watch a lot of movies when I iron Scott’s work shirts, because ironing is tedious as hell, but as homemaking is my full-time job these days, I really couldn’t come up with a valid reason I should not iron his shirts when he decided to give up the men’s Tucson uniform of polo shirt and khakis every day for a more stylish look. As much as I hate ironing, I have to admit, he looks damn fine in a shirt and tie.
So one day, I was looking for free movies I could stream on Dish while I ironed, and Far from the Madding Crowd was available. I’m a Carey Mulligan (who plays protagonist Bathsheba Everdene) fan, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. I liked the movie, but I fell violently in love with the costuming, particularly these blue and white numbers Bathsheba sports throughout. (Click photos to embiggen.)
So I went on the hunt, scouring the internet for similar fabrics. The ones available at the major fabric sellers weren’t quite what I was looking for, and the one I found that I loved I could have direct from China for a minimum purchase of 3,000 yards.
So I checked Etsy and less mainstream online stores, and even eBay, and didn’t find quite what I was looking for. Until I ran across a seller who had 6 different prints she was was selling in lots of six 1/2-yards. And while that wasn’t optimal, I was intrigued, and bought it, because 3 yards is plenty for a skirt, or I’d figure out something else. The first rule of sewing, much like other crafts, is, if you find something you like, buy it now; figure out what to do with it later.
But the thought of the skirt stayed in my head, in the form of a panel skirt. And what started in my head as a maybe 8-panel skirt turned into a 24-panel (4 fabric patterns repeating 6 times) concept after some internet research, and my discovery of this skirt. After looking at some tutorials that assumed that my body was completely symmetrical around my waist/butt area (which applies to a very small percentage of women, methinks), I decided to make my own pattern by modifying the world’s simplest skirt pattern which I used for my very first sewing projects when I started taking lessons in the summer of 2014. The pattern had already been tailored to my particular needs, so all I needed to do was divide the 2 pattern pieces into 6 sections each, add seam allowances, and see if, through the magic of math, it all worked.
I did half a muslin just to make sure it was working as planned, made some adjustments, and was good to go. Then, because I just hadn’t complicated things enough, I decided to finish the raw edges by folding them under and topstitching them, both for tidiness and to make the skirt lie flat in whatever plane it was moving instead of it wanting to turn in at every seam, of which there were 24. Which meant that just to piece it together, I had to sew 72 vertical seams–3 seams at every connection.
This is why when people assume I’d like to sew something for them, I laugh. I’m the only person I like well enough to put in that kind of work for. Maybe Scott, though it hasn’t happened yet. (I DID buy a shirt pattern for him, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten.)
But I’m pretty pleased, and the skirt looks nearly as good on the inside as on the outside. Which makes me feel like a fancy sewing genius instead of the novice I am. I finished the bottom with bias tape at the excellent suggestion of my sewing teacher, Jenny, and did a simple drawstring at the waist. And I finished it today!