So long ago I can’t even remember the year, I bought a black tulip skirt from Table Eight in Australia. It was perfect. It hugged my waist and flattered my hips; its hem kissed the most attractive point of my knees. It went with everything and I wore it everywhere.
But, like us all, it aged. I loved it and so I looked past the slow greying of its once glossy black. I barely noticed the slow but steady decline of its lining. I darned the little hole that appeared above its vent. It was only once that little hole shredded into a giant rent that I accepted that it was time to let the skirt go.
Knowing I needed to replace it, on the recent Goldhawk Rd meetup of the London Dressmakers Club I bought 1m of a heavy black cotton with a shine and a slight stretch. I also spent ridiculous money on 1m of beautiful printed silk for a lining.
One evening of unpicking in front of Orange is the New Black and I had my original skirt to use as a pattern. Sewing the skirt shell was easy–I already knew it fit so I jumped right in and French seamed the side seams. The waistband is in three pieces (plus three facing pieces), all interfaced. I guess it is the pieced waistband that makes this skirt fit so nicely. I’m going to use this as my standard waistband pattern from now on as the single piece rectangular waistbands always stand away from my waist at the top.
I did a beautiful invisible zip. I had never sewn one before and was all psyched out about how hard it was going to be. Especially as I don’t have an invisible zip foot. But it was easy. So easy. Easier than a regular zipper. I fear the invisible zip no more. All credit to Sew Serendipity‘s tutorial.
Everything was going so well. But alas, the trouble started with the lining. The original skirt lining was so shredded I couldn’t use it as a pattern so I just used the shell pattern. You can see where this is going, right? Yes, indeed. Not enough ease. The beautiful, delicate, expensive silk started to rip at the centre back seam on the very first wear. I have salvaged it by unpicking the centre back seam and herringbone stitching to the shell seam allowance, but it’s not pretty.
I wanted to fully line the vent in the skirt. I used Sunni’s tutorial, as well as the Fashion Sewing Blog but could I make it work? Could I hell. Despite the excellent tutorials, it just doesn’t make sense in my head, so I was blindly following along without any grasp of the overall picture. I think I may have stitched my shell vent to the wrong side and so my lining didn’t match up. But I may have gotten something else wrong instead, or in addition. I have no real idea. I ended up just cutting a horseshoe shape in the lining to fit around the vent and leaving it at that.
I have already worn this skirt to work twice. It’s fab. Despite the lining debacle, from the outside the skirt looks cute and professional and fits me beautifully. The weight and very slight stretch of the fabric are perfect for this type of fitted, structured shape and the silk lining feels amazing against my skin.
I’ll leave you with a gratuitous shot of my arse, so you can see the vent. Just try and pretend it’s a lined vent, okay?