During the sale last Christmas, I found this skirt from T by Alexander Wang:
It's a rayon velvet, floor length skirt. It's usual price was about £200, but I think because of the length, they proved to be pretty unpopular so they were being sold for £10. I snapped one up! I was never going to wear a skirt this length - a bit Goth for me - but at the very least I thought the fabric alone was worth the price.
So I took it home, put it in a pile of 'future projects', and forgot about it for 5 months.
Until a couple of weeks ago, when I had the urge to make something quick. I decided to shorten the skirt, but also to add an insert to the center back seam to give it a swingy feel when you walk. Sounds easy!
But the bias construction did everything it could to slow me down. For anyone not aware, bias is the diagonal of the fabric. It gives a natural stretch to the fabric, making it great for draping and flowing around curves. But it also means the fabric moves and slips when working with it, so you have to be especially careful when handling it.
The first thing I tackled was the length. With a skirt cut on the straight of grain, I would just estimate how much I want to take off, measure that from the hem up, then slice off. But with a bias construction, the fabric conspires against you, moving and stretching and slipping all over the place, making measuring a pointless exercise. I looked at books, I consulted the web, I even had some advice from the lovely Clare at Sew Dixie Lou, but in the end I came up with my own method involving a doorframe, a clip hanger, and some sticky tape:
I clipped the skirt firmly in place, hung it from a doorframe, then measured from the top down on either side of the door frame. This is where I placed my sticky tape, running across the skirt where I wanted to shorten it. Take a step back, make sure it looks level, then cut!
And it worked a treat! You'll have to take my word for it, because I forgot to take a photo. But it left me with this piece:
This was the piece which was to be used for my back seam insert. I decided to gather it up at the top and finish it with a strip of velvet at the top:
Then I unpicked the back seam, and sewed the gathered piece in place:
|Inside view of the finished skirt|
Here it is in action, swinging away on a rooftop in Kings Cross:
And here's the advantage of a bias cut - when at rest, the skirt is slim and slinky:
But then, when the urge takes you, huge lunges can be achieved with no effort at all:
And that's bias! See you soon!