Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Glutton for Punishment

Yes, in spite of myself, I give in to challenges and interesting projects in spite of my better judgment.  This time, after watching the ballerina skirt being created, a co-worker asked if I would use the leftover tulle to create one for her.  Hhhmmm.....didn't I just go into a tirade about selfish sewing and ungrateful recipients recently????  But,......I considered it....and thought it would stretch my abilities...so I thought about it for a few days--and agreed. 

The young lady agreed to pay me, and I could use the red tulle purchased at the same time I bought the black tulle I used for my oldest niece's birthday present.   You can see it hiding below the bolt of black I used for my niece.  Remember, both cost approximately $9-10 per bolt from the wedding/party website whose location I passed along on this previous post.

The two-layer tulle skirt was a size 6 and used 36+ yards of the 40 yard bolt.  (I will probably never sew the double-layer ruffled version again....soooo labor-intensive!)  The single length skirt, however, uses far less tulle (only about 14 yards) and only four long runs of gathers, so I agreed to whip one in red for her birthday celebration coming up the first week in August.

Each Bolt Contained Forty Yards of Tulle

Now, what I thought would be interesting was computing how I would convert the lining pattern piece (which looked like a quarter of a circle) to a pattern piece large enough to go around her waist.

The only way I can explain it is to draw you a picture of my thought process.  Take a look:
The drawing is not an exact replica of the pattern piece, but the fundamentals are basic.  I took the client's waist measurement and made sure the circumference of the top of this pattern piece was one-quarter of this measurement.  I used a math formula to compute her waistline measurement as if it were the circumference of the complete circle (indicated by the dotted line) then divided it by one-fourth to make sure the dotted line below was the same number.

I finally learned how to turn off the flash on my digital camera, so you can really see the detail on this skirt.  The young lady was outside the standard pattern size (6-22), so I used my math skills to alter the pattern to fit her.  Her waist is 58" and she requested the length end just above her knee (at 25" long).

The end result is what you see in the photographs below.  I think the skirt turned out quite well and I'm proud of my efforts.  The color is glorious, isn't it?  My co-worker was delighted.  The gathered tulle is a series of panels seamed together and gathered along the top.  To make sure her skirt looked full, I added two more panels of tulle to each layer (there are four...two are dropped about 2" lower attached to a 'yoke' ) so the gathers would cover the extra inches added to the pattern.  The only tedious portion of this work was custom-hemming the lining to cover her fullness in the back and making it gradually shorter in the front.  Hemming in this way made the skirt hang evenly all the way around.  They have tools that make this type of hemming easier.  I have one, but guess where it is?...that's right...stored with my things in Atlanta!  Ah, well!  lol

The double-faced ribbon is the most beautiful ribbon I have ever seen.  It ties so smoothly!  I'm delighted to have found the source and hate I sent the entire roll of black ribbon to my niece when I mailed her black tulle  skirt to her.   I'll need to order myself another roll, for sure!

Well, I'm off now to put the final pieces of my evening jacket together.  It is also beautiful and should be done in the next week or so.   This project was just a little sewing distraction on my normal sewing adventure, so now I can get back to my normal projects (for myself).  As you can tell, sometimes I squeeze in a project for someone else.....only if it is interesting and challenging.  Do you do the same thing?

I hope you all have been well and continue to sew whenever you can....one stitch at a time!


  1. Did you notice the photobomber in the first photo of the skirt???!!!! WHAAAA???? LOL!!! He is so sneaky!

  2. It looks absolutely lovely! But what a lot of work.
    You mention a tool for the hemming - can you say more? I've made two very short skirts for Irish dancing, for my daughter and a friend, and will probably eyeball it, but using something "standard" might make the proces quicker, so I wondered what it was. At a short length, having a straight hem and therefore a shorter back, is VERY noticeable.
    Thanks, Monique

    1. Hi Monique! Thanks for your question.
      Take a look at one example of a hem marker that uses air and powdered chalk to mark the skirt all the way around. You measure from the floor up. If your skirts are very short, you may need to place the marker on a stable box or platform to reach the height you desire.

      One place I purchase notions is Wawak.com, but it is not the only retailer to carry this product. The link is here: http://www.wawak.com/products/product.cfm/pid/13139/Chalk-Hem-Marker/
      I hope you can copy/paste it into your browser.

      Good luck and I hope it makes your sewing projects easier and even more perfect!

  3. Hi Greytone, Thanks for you quick reply!
    Now why didn't I think of that? I know the system you mention - we have them here in The Netherlands too, but I don't possess one. I have a dressform with a marker thing to get a straight hem on the form. But once you get that at a height you want, it's rigid and not very handy for more rounded hems. So I was probably hoping for something more magical taking away the drudge...silly me :-)
    Looking forward to more of your projects. Enjoy your day and thanks again,

    1. Thank you for posting to my blog from the Netherlands!
      Just keep sewing....and remember you can makeshift something to mark an even hemline by placing a chalked string across a doorway opening. Make sure the string is even on both sides and make sure the chalk (or marking medium) does not permanently mark your fabric. Thank you for stopping by!

  4. Oh my goodness, that is the cutest tulle skirt. Even as old as I am I want one too. I did get the pattern for my stash. Thanks for reading my blog!!!