Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Miss Vivienne Finds the Spot: 3/4 Circle Skirt

Good evening, friends! As with every other Wednesday this semester, Sam is teaching a late night capstone class (The Allegory of the Cave: Rhetoric and Film*) and won't be home until after nine. While I miss the bearded one, this means my Wednesday nights are filled with sewing, blogging, and catching up on The Paradise. There are worse ways to spend an evening!

Tonight, and many nights recently, I've been musing over personal style. My thirtieth birthday is later this year and I keep catching myself saying things like "This dress feels too young for me" and "That's a lot of pink, yo." While I think the ageist way we approach style is ridiculous, I do find myself naturally gravitating away from certain pieces of my youth. (Not florals. Florals for life!) I'm craving saturated colors, a little more sex appeal, and heightened glamour. Hell, I've even been building a Pinterest board and stalking my style icons (specifically: Heather and Ulrika) for inspiration on the matter. 

What's more, in March, I'm spending three days on camera and was specifically told to wear business casual outfits in solid colors. So, of course, I just sewed a polka dotted circle skirt. Nothing says adult glamour and business casual like GIANT POLKA DOTS OF DOOM. 

Nope, there's nothing super twee here. 

*Doesn't this class sound fascinating? I helped brainstorm the film screenings and readings for it, which was a blast. Tonight, they're discussing An Education and a piece by bell hooks, as related to feminism and educational inequality. Undergrad Mary would've been ecstatic over that pairing. 

Who am I kidding? Polka dots will always be welcome in my wardrobe, increased attention to glamour or not. Some loves you can't and shouldn't outgrow. Polka dots are timeless! This particular fabric was bought, at least, seven years ago at Hancock Fabrics and is a non-stretch cotton pique. My original intention was to make a pair of retro shorts with it, but I never ever wear shorts, so it sat in the fabric closet instead. When I decided to make a quick 3/4 circle skirt last week, it seemed the perfect choice. 

Unfortunately, it was printed just a hair off grain. With any other fabric, this wouldn't be such an issue, but the eye notices dots that have gone askew. That would have driven me insane! To mitigate the matter, I cut the skirt itself mostly in line with the dots, while the waistband is completely on grain. Trust me, there is nothing more uncomfortable than an off-grain waistband! No pattern placement is worth that sort of twisting. I did a two-piece outer waistband, so that the dots wouldn't march off quite so horribly and it turned out pretty well. An untrained observer, so used to RTW shenanigans, wouldn't even notice! Or so I'm assuring myself, anyhow. 

I didn't have quite enough fabric to perfectly match those side seam Vs. Circle skirts are such fabric hogs. 

After figuring out how to finagle those dots, this was a cinch to sew up. There is nothing easier than a circle skirt with a straight waistband. I've become so accustomed to the complicated rigors of shirtdresses that this almost felt like cheating!  There's an invisible zipper at the left side seam and the insides are all serged in dark gray, as a finish. I even took the quick route on the waistband, securing the inner facing by top-stitching the outside. So easy! 

The hem is also machine-stitched, instead of my usual handsewn finish. If a fabric betrays me by being printed off-grain, I'm not spending two hours catch-stitching an endless hem on it. Plus, this pique is pretty damn hefty and took the machine stitches beautifully. Woohoo!

There is some sick part of me insisting that navy-and-white polka dots are so classic that they're basically a neutral. I don't need the rationalizations, however. I really love this little skirt and its grandiose polka dots. It goes fabulously with my collection of bright sweaters and the coral Keds I'm currently obsessing over. Besides, my kid sister turns 18 this weekend (Happy Birthday, Lainey Love!), so clinging to my youth is an expected reaction. I'll ride it out a little longer. 

My chicer aspirations can attack the box of pretty, bright pontes that just arrived on my doorstep. I'm contemplating a few versions of this 11/2014 Burda dress, but we shall see...

Note: If you, too, would like a 3/4 circle skirt, check out Devon's new tutorial over at Miss Make. It's an exquisitely detailed guide to drafting something similar. (I use a side zip, instead of a center back.)

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