Friday, March 19, 2010

Circle Skirts and Vertical Stripes: An Unhappy Marriage?

What was I thinking? Last night I sat down to wash the fabric and tape together the skirt pattern for my mini-wardrobe contest entry--it's an elastic-shirred waist circle skirt in a purple lawn print, which I planned to make reversible by lining with a black dotted swiss cotton lawn. Here are the flats and planned fabric again:

Burda 7910 flatsMaggie London Purple, Black and White Cotton Lawn

As I ironed the fabric dry last night, I realized that the bold motifs ran in vertical stripes down the fabric--how would I ever lay this out with my bagel-shaped pattern pieces?

In my doubts I turned to one of my favorite fashion reference books, "Everyday Fashions of the Fifties: As Pictured in Sears Catalogs" (second in my heart only to "Everyday Fashions of the Forties"). My worst fears were confirmed--there was nary a vertically-striped (or otherwise vertically patterned) circle skirt in sight, though there were a few horizontal or chevroned striped numbers. All the vertically-striped gals were wearing full or fitted skirts:

I trust the Sears catalog ladies, so I'll be "drafting" a full skirt (i.e. taking a big rectangle and gathering it around my pregnant "waist" with shirring elastic.)

As a bonus, how much fun is the 1952 children's circle skirt spread the top image came from? If I ever do make any circle skirts, I will be sure to take every opportunity to pose sitting on the floor with my perfect circle spread out around me!

I'd love to be proven wrong here, by the way--have you ever made or seen a workable vertically-striped circle skirt? Am I just not thinking creatively here?


  1. I've never seen stripes that were vertical all the way around a circle skirt unless the fabric was printed that way.

    But I have seen them done horizontally across the circle so they curve across the front -- just like the one up there (view A, next to the striped dirndl). I don't see any reason you couldn't do the same thing, and just have the stripes go up and down in the front and back, arcing at the sides.

    Although, I don't know if you want either effect, as they'd both probably exaggerate the belly. It's worth a try though -- maybe drape it and pin it to see what it looks like? (Just the front half, so you don't have to cut.)

  2. Yes, there are also horizontal stripes on one of the little girls in the lowest image if you click to enlarge... but you're right that horizontal wasn't what I was thinking what with the belly.

    Maybe I'll try the drape and pin--but I do like them running vertically. And a full skirt might be more easy to adjust to make smaller when I'm post-preg than a circle skirt anyway--I could just tighten up the elastic shirring, I'd think.

  3. You could even do buttonhole elastic (like kid's adjustable jeans) so you wouldn't have to open it up later, just have a buttonhole opening on the inside and a button, so you could adjust as you went.

  4. Eek, I just enlarged the little girls, they look so nervous!

    I can see running the stripes the same way, but making a half-turn so they are vertical in the front and back but still...probably not a good look for pregnancy. And an elasticized skirt would be a lot easier to tighten, definitely - I think buttonhole elastic is a great idea!

  5. Thanks everyone! I'm doing some tests today of different ways to do the elastic-shirred skirt--I've definitely decided to go for full instead of circle, but will have to look into buttonhole elastic.

  6. I just LOVE the poses of those little girls! Look! They're doing Lady GaGa's claw hands!


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