The Silk Noil Skirt of Many Miracles

It almost wasn’t meant to be.

This skirt was my second project, and I was, for reasons I do not now comprehend, feeling over-confident–all in a fervor to modify a pattern into something amazing.

I thought this was “raw silk”–that’s what it said when I ordered it. But I was killing time at the library one evening, reading the Threads Sewing Guide, when I discovered that what most people call “raw silk” is actually “silk noil.” So. . . okay then. I don’t really argue with Threads.

I pulled out this lovely, buttery embroidered silk noil of which I had two yards. Of course, I planned to make a skirt. I decided to try Simplicity 2512, part of the Cynthia Rowley collection. But in those golden beginning days of sewing, I wanted everything to have a full skirt. Everything. Clearly, this skirt is fuller around the hips and tapers at the bottom. What is that? A tulip skirt? After pulling the pattern out and staring at it for a quite a while, I thought, why don’t I just flip the pattern upside down and get a nice A-line? So that is what I did. And really, it wasn’t such a terrible idea.

Except it didn’t work at all.

Do you see that fantastic yoke there? So amazing. And so amazingly terrible looking on me with my ridiculously high waist. So, I chopped off the top of the yoke to make a regular waist band and ended up with–I don’t know–it just didn’t fit right. The top stuck out in a V. It was weird. So, I dismantled and put it away.

Oliver. Such a little helper. This is the first version of the skirt that had to be put down. Of course, you can’t see it because of my assistant. But, doesn’t that blue lining look lovely with the yellow?

Recently, I’ve been trying to finish all my UFOs (UnFinished Objects for those who, like me until recently, don’t know what that is). So, I pulled out this failed skirt and tried to make it work. I decided on Simplicity 2564, but in trying to salvage pieces, I realized I didn’t have anything that was wide enough. (BTW, I did a terrible job of cutting up the fabric in the first place.) Somewhere in the middle of all of the trying to fit pieces together, I thought, “Why don’t I do a little flounce instead of trying to put in a vent?” (the vent was a major problem). I started thinking about it and then remembered, “Hey–I actually have a pattern that will work.” I pulled out Simplicity 1919, which I didn’t think I’d ever use because the styling is so cheesy–and did I ever really think I could pull off that blazer? Well–now I’m thinking, maybe just maybe. . .

Anyways, I obviously ditched the full skirt idea long ago–I’ve gotten a lot of that out of my system so that I can think clearly. But, the little flounce in the back is adorable, I think. And really, the fabric would look better–and less overwhelming–with more structure. Plus, since the skirt is make of 5 smaller pieces than a skirt with just 2, it seemed possible that I could find enough fabric to make it work.

And I did.

Completely ignoring grain (oh well) and adding a seam in the flounce (oh well).

And somewhere after stitching the itty-bitty darts in the front, I went off the reservation and started winging it. My method for inserting the zipper is always different from what the pattern tells me to do–and the instructions on this pattern were particularly baffling. I still don’t know what was going on in those pictures.

Those seams clearly need to lose a few pounds. . .

The rest of the construction actually went fairly easy. When I tried it on after inserting the zipper (easy peasy!), I was very pleased that it wasn’t too small. There were, however, some problems with fit in the back. Also, the seams were so bulky–so much so that I think they may have been causing some of the fit problems. I decided to start by un-overlocking (or edge stitching? I’m not sure which is what I’m doing. . . ) the seam allowance, iron it flat, and hand stitch each side down. No problem–since the fabric is so very textured, you can’t see the stitches at all.

So, it’s a tiny bit clumsy, but it works. And I’m happy that I managed to salvage a terrible, terrible job with a mediocre job and produce something wearable. Now I’m just shopping around for fabric to make a cute blouse to go with it. I’m thinking a nice blue? Maybe a Swiss dot?

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