14 August 2009

Gored Denim Skirt

Just remembered that I had planned to post a picture of this. This is the denim skirt made from panels cut out of the legs of jeans.

If you're interested in making one of these, you begin by measuring around your waist. If you want it really gathered at the top, add an inch or so to this measurement. Then you decide how long you want it and the fullness you want. What I do is I draw a long trapezoid on a piece of paper. This skirt used 9 panels, so you divide your measurements by 9 (or by 8 or 7 or 4, whatever you want--really depends on the fabric you're working with. If you have a lot of wide pieces of material, you can use fewer panels--I would suggest 4 or more).

At the top of the trapezoid is the fraction of the waist measurement which you have chosen, plus about .5 inches/1.25 cm for a seam allowance. When you add the line at the bottom of the trapezoid, centre the two lines or you'll end up with a lopsided panel. You should add 2 inches/5 cm (or 1 inch if you want a really narrow skirt, or more than 2 inches for a much fuller skirt) to the width of the top for the length of the bottom line, plus the same seam allowance. The distance between these two lines should be the length you want the skirt, plus a seam allowance for the hem and waist. I used about a half an inch rolled hem (fold up once, fold up again to hide the raw edge), which means you add 1.5 inches/3.75 cm each (total of 3 inches/7.5 cm) for both the hem and the waist. Then, using a straight edge, draw two straight lines connecting the right and left sides of the trapezoid. You will have a tall, fairly narrow trapezoid pattern.

Cut out the number of pieces you need for your skirt, using the pattern, and pin them together. Try it on now or baste it first and check to see that it fits. If it's too small, you can add another panel if it's needed. If it's too large, you can take in the seam allowances or allow the elastic at the waist to pull it in. Sew the panels together, narrowest parts at the top, and then try on again to make sure it's right. Surge or zigzag stitch the raw edges of the seams.

Fold down the waist about half an inch, and fold over again to hide the raw edge. Sew this down, leaving a gap of several inches unsewn.

Now, you're going to put in the elastic around the waist. Fasten a safety pin to one end of the elastic and then, inserting the safety pin into the waistband, work it around until the safety pin comes out the other side. Then pin the ends of the elastic together, trying it on and adjusting the elastic until it is the tightness you want. Trim the elastic to required length, leaving extra to sew together. Lap ends of elastic over each other and sew together. Let go of elastic and sew up gap in waistband.

Hem the skirt with a rolled hem, as for waistband (but without the elastic).

You can do this with most fabrics, although I don't recommend this type of hem with satin or sheer fabrics. Cotton, linen, maybe wool or hemp would work well. I've done this with cotton remnants, or like here, with old jeans. It's useful if you don't like doing pleats or if you want to minimize the amount of fabric you're using. This technique, with the panels that are small at the top and large at the bottom, is called goring, hence the name at the top.

I hope this pattern isn't too confusing; if you try to use it and get really lost, let me know and I'll try to fix it.

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