Thursday, September 5, 2013

The skirt from V1324 - a wearable, if imperfect, muslin

As I've mentioned, I'm intending on entering the Mini-wardrobe contest on  As part of this plan I am making a pencil skirt out of a pearl finished lamb-skin leather.  Now I don't have a great deal of experience working with leather, but I do know that you can't judicially utilize a seam ripper... any needle holes will be visible forever.  So instead it is crucial to get things right the first time, therefore I decided to test/muslin my pattern before trying my hand at the skins.

Now I wanted a high waisted classic pencil skirt with some interesting seaming.  After looking through my stash (which has been significantly pared but is still waaaaay too large) I settled on a Donna Karan for Vogue pattern, V1324

As much as I love aforementioned interesting seaming, it definitely creates some challenges insofar as standard alterations.  This pattern has no sideseams to take out or in and the waistband across the back does not continue across the front, instead stopping at the angled front darts.  Now before tackling this pattern, I looked at a few reviews from other seamsters who had completed this pattern.  However, nobody seemed to have any suggestions as to my particular fitting issues.  Generally speaking, I need a waist measurement at least a size smaller than my hip measurement.  However, the front of the skirt typically fits and I need to add volume and deepen the darts in the back.  Here, with front, side, and back panels, I was at a loss.  So I just cut everything in an 18 from some gray suiting in the stash and called it a day.  I figured this would give me the opportunity to adjust if needed and hopefully end up with a wearable, if imperfect, skirt.

Shockingly, this skirt fits surprisingly well!  While it's a little tight across the widest point of the hip/thigh which leads to some smile lines unfortunately highlighting the lower belly, it otherwise fits and is comfortable.  I actually wore it today at work with a longer sweater  And the fit on my dress form (customized to me a few dozen pounds ago) suggests that the fit will only  improve as I lose a few inches.

Other than the fitting issues (which I think I can manage but just adding some additional width to the center back pieces and shifting the darts) the hardest part of this pattern is the waistband.  The horizontal waistband fits at an angle into the front center piece which is solid all the way up.  I interfaced the waist with organza  to add some extra structure. 

Now on the next version, I plan to adjust the order of the steps to create smoother waistband. I think that the waistband into the darts will sit smoother and be easier fit the seam and dart are sewn as one solid entity rather than trying to match the previously sewn dart to the seam.  Likewise, I plan to assemble the entire outer shell and the the entire lining and then attach along the waist in one go which I think will eliminate the slight scalloping that this version suffered from.

For the lining, I used a silky polyester in a peacock print that I had in my stash from a now long-forgotten project.  I have enough to cut a lining for another skirt as well so both the gray and leather versions will be lined in this lovely print from JoAnns. 

Like I mentioned above, I wore this skirt today and only have a few limited complaints.  Despite my interfacing, the high-waist still wrinkled and sagged after a day of sitting in a cubicle.  On the bright side, after a few hours of wear, the tightness in the hip stretched and relaxed to a better fit.
Depending on how the leather version turns out, I may also try this skirt in a heavy double knit.  Overall, if you like a pencil skirt this fits well and comes together easily while still providing a constructural challenge this is a good bet.  Additionally, the angled seams and tapered seam emphasizes the hip in a good way.  I think the seams visually widen the hip but in a sexy, curvy way.  Who doesn't like that?

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