New make: Circle Skirt 2 – the woven episode

Hey all! I’m writing this from Siena, Italy, heh heh and although you’d think I’d be spending every waking moment seeing the sights, I do actually get a little downtime while the baby naps, etc. On that note, he slept through the night for the first time since we arrived last night! Yippee! The time zone adjustment issue was getting old, I can tell you. So, since I’m feeling vaguely human this morning, I thought I’d catch up on something I made a while ago, but just finished here: a woven circle skirt.


I made my first knit circle skirt some time ago and although I didn’t make it all that well, it’s one of the most commented-on garments I possess. Weird how that works. I’ve been meaning to try a woven one for ages, and when I found this brilliant blue rayon from Pacific Fabrics, it was the first thing I thought of. I can’t seem to find it on their website, so maybe it’s sold out or store-only, but it was their own commissioned brand if I remember correctly. In any case, the colours are jewel-like and the fabric is a dream to wear. Cool to the skin and swishy in that very rayon way.


I went into quite a bit of detail on how to make a circle skirt in the last post and I decided to make another 3/4 circle skirt since I like the fullness of that, so I ended up using the same pattern piece. You can read all about how to make your own here – it’s very easy! However, this being woven, I fancied trying a zip and waistband finish, rather than an elasticated waistband. I gave my books a perfunctory look, same on the web and couldn’t find exactly what I needed, so decided to wing it. Not always the best idea (and it didn’t go perfectly for sure) but on the other hand, I feel like I learn a lot when I do this since I actually have to think about what I’m doing.


I had only bought 1.5 yds for some reason – perhaps because it was wide? – and so ended up cutting three separate pieces and joining them. No biggie. On the second seam I only sewed up to where the bottom of the zip would be and left the rest open for attaching the zip. I tackled this next and did it by… following the instructions on the zip packet! Haha. It started off okay, but as you can see, went rather wonky on the second side. Oops! Ah well, it’s just one of those things I need to practice. That would really bother me on some garments, but for some reason it doesn’t on this skirt, so I didn’t bother fixing it.


Then came the real winging-it part, which was to add the waistband. I’d already decided I wanted it to be overlapping and above the zip, using a hook and eye closure or similar. I cut a waistband in that same way as with the knit version: I wanted the finished waistband to be 2″ in width, so I cut a 4.5″ by waist measurement rectangle. (The extra 0.5″ being seam allowance). I added interfacing to the fabric which was the right decision, but I think I would go for something even stiffer next time, since it’s still a little floppy for my liking. Next, I folded it in half, right side together and sewed the short ends, before flipping these out to give finished corners. Then I pressed the waistband lengthwise, wrong sides together, and sewed it to the right side of the skirt, raw edges together.


Once I flipped the waistband up, it looked pretty good, but I realised I had unfinished edges and this material was quite a frayer. I should have done that before attaching, but now just took my serger and serged the raw seam allowance edges.


This, in turn, gave me a small problem with the end of the overlap as now it was also serged. I thought about it for a while and in the end… did nothing. I considered handsewing it behind the seam allowance, and I may still, but as it’s covered by the other waistband piece when closed, you can’t see it anyway.


As far as the waistband goes, I have since found this tutorial from By Hand London, which is exactly what I was looking for, but couldn’t find. It ends up being very similar to what I did but adds in the little piece for the lapped waistband and is very helpful, so I recommend it if you’re looking for some direction.


Finally, I hemmed the skirt and then added a hook and eye closure to the waistband. Done! Almost. Unfortunately there are two problems with this skirt and both are because of the large bias-cut portion of the skirt. The hem has dropped on one side quite a bit, so I will need to straighten it up, but it’s no big deal. I didn’t hang it before hemming, so it’s my own fault really. Secondly though, the waist is far too big. I had read about making the waistband quite a bit smaller to allow for the bias, but I have read so many conflicting results I didn’t pay it much attention apart from the initial -2″ allowance I made in the pattern. I can conclusively say that if using rayon (and maybe other wovens) you need to reduce the waist by several inches. I am wearing the skirt on my hips in the pic above, which results in a rather unflattering silhouette, and by the end of the day, it was virtually falling off.


Ah well – I’ll look into fixing it when I get home because I do like the fabric a lot. Plus it would be good to try an alteration like that. If you have any good sources, do let me know! For now, I’d better go and do some sightseeing – if you know of any good fabric shops in Siena, Bologna or Lucca, do drop me a note also – I’d love to check out some Italian wares while I’m here! 😉 Ciao for now.



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