Tuesday, June 11, 2013

DONE: Short striped & piped Hummingbird skirt (Cake Patterns #0289)

Cake Patterns Hummingbird Orange Skirt Collage

Until I made this skirt, I hadn't inserted an invisible zipper in EIGHT years. It's probably been just as long since I wore short skirts regularly, too—I got into a rut in 2005 when I decided all skirts MUST BE KNEE LENGTH.

But that is old news now because I LOVE my new Hummingbird Orange denim skirt AND I inserted the invisible zipper with no issues on the first try with help from a little video tutorial linked in the pattern.

But screw zippers. What I really love about this skirt is the fit. Which is, well, PERFECT.

Hummingbird Orange short piped denim pencil skirt:  Pockets & piping

And now that I have a perfect fitting woven skirt, it just emphasizes how ill-fitting most of my RTW woven skirts are—gaping at the back waist, droopy in the rear.

In fact, while wearing my Hummingbird peplum tops (and now the skirt) I've had a number of people spontaneously ask me "Did you lose weight?"

While the body image warrior in me wants to be cranky and ask why that should be a compliment, I do think it points to the perks of wearing well-fitting, flattering clothing. (And no, I haven't lost weight—in fact I've gained quite a bit thanks to oral steroids I had to take while I was ill. But thank you anyway.)

I also love:

  • The smartphone-sized panel pockets, just right for my so-old-it-can't-run-any-apps first generation Apple iPod Touch. Of course I lined my Hummingbird Orange pockets in, well orange:

    My Hummingbird Orange has orange pockets!
  • My striped piped seams (try saying that five times fast)—they look like a dotted line! Yes I should have made them more even and no, I don't care. I cut 1 1/2" wide strips, pressed them in half, and basted them to one edge of the fabric (raw edges to raw edge) before stitching the seams:

    Applying flat piping to my Hummingbird Orange Skirt

Anyway, on to the juicy details:

The pattern: Cake Patterns Hummingbird Peplum Top and Straight Skirt 0289. (Disclosure: I draw illustrations and flats for Cake, but I don't get paid to sew, blog or otherwise promote Cake!)

Pattern Description: Hummingbird view "Orange" woven skirt with no gape panel pockets sized for smartphones, back zipper and simple straight waistband. Optional back flounce, aka Hummingbird "Pink". (There's also a knit top with sleeve and neckline variations and optional dickey and cuffs which I have made twice already.)

Pattern Sizing: Full hip sizes ranging from 35"-57", with waist size cut by actual size. I cut the size 40" with a 30" waist. (My full hips are 38.5" and my waist is 29").

There is a "fit check" step in the instructions where you baste the side seams to check and adjust fit, and I ended up taking in the waist by about 3/4" on each side (or 3" total), the hips about 1" (4" total) and the waistband about 3". This is mainly because I was working with a stretch woven—I think in a plain woven I would have taken out half that. After that, it fit PERFECTLY and I made no adjustments to the darts or anything else.

Hummingbird Orange short piped denim pencil skirt:  Back view

The skirt is designed for this side-seam adjustment, and can be taken in up to 1" on each piece (4" total) without distorting the pocket design. Here's a photo of me pinning the waist and hips in to fit—can you see the chalk and pins?

Hummingbird Orange: Pinning the side seams to customize fit

Fabric: All from the stash, aren't I a good girl?

  • Dark pinstriped black stretch denim I've had since high school—less than a yard.
  • Scraps of orange stretch cotton sateen for the pockets from a $1/yard FabricMart sale three years ago.
  • Bits of gray and white cotton/lycra blend knit, $6/yard from Spandex House a long time ago (also used for panties and my Tiramisu test top).

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I added flat knit piping to the front and waist seams to create a dotted line effect. If the piping hadn't been so uncooperative and shifty I would have gone all out and done the pockets and side seams too, as in this lovely Milly skirt.

Wear for: Work (with flats or boots) or weekend (though maybe not going down a slide on the playground or riding a bike?) and definitely for a date with the husband.

Cake Patterns Hummingbird top and skirt

Successes:

  • My first invisible zipper in EIGHT years. Smooth and perfect!:

    Hummingbird Orange closeup back flat view
  • First time attempting flat piping—it totally works, even though it's not perfectly even.
  • Second waistband EVER. (I used a hook and eye closure).
  • First time sewing with stretch wovens. I used a small zigzag stitch (1 mm wide, 2 mm long) for most seams to prevent popping.

Cake Patterns Hummingbird top and skirt

References used (in addition to instructions of course):

I can't wait to make my next pencil-style Hummingbird "Pink" with fancy back tailfeather flounce during the sewalong (join us! orange envelopes are in my House!), in a nubbly turquoise linen blend from ancient stash.

Hummingbird Orange short piped denim pencil skirt:  Pockets & piping

So, do you wear short skirts? How short is too short for work (or equivalent social settings?)

P.P.S. Notice the new red flats, after my agonized blog post on my search for bright and comfortable shoes? Little Z calls them my "Dorothy shoes!"

33 comments:

  1. What an excellent review! Very entertaining - and your skirt looks just perfect- nice! :-)

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  2. I think this looks very flattering on you! Nice job on the invisible zip and piping.

    Hope this doesn't go straight to the spam filter with the links, but I wear my skirts just skimming the tops of my knees after following the formula described here:
    http://jcauncmom.blogspot.com/2009/09/part-2-how-to-decide-your-ideal-skirt.html

    And of course, there's the infamous skirt length photo here:
    http://roseaposey.tumblr.com/post/39795409283/judgments

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    Replies
    1. Love these links! I may investigate your formula. And according to that skirt length photo, this skirt is between "cheeky" and "flirty."

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  3. I can't wait to try the Hummingbird skirt (already made a top... in polka dots. I WANTED TO BE LIKE YOU, OK?!), but I'm a bit hesitant because I worry that the style might not be something I find myself wearing a lot. I definitely don't wear my pencil skirts often, as much as I like them... they're too restricting for me to sit on the floor or ride my bike with! But I LOVE the way it looks, so maybe it could just be for work times... or winter wear. Or I could figure out a hack to make it bike-able :)

    I love the piping that you added to yours! Really makes those seamlines pop!

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    Replies
    1. Can't wait to see your top! Hmmm... if you made this skirt a wee bit longer and added a back vent, it would totally be bike-able in, I think. And I'm pretty certain the back flounce version might be less restrictive, too!

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  4. Faboo! Love the piping. I used to think I should only wear knee-length skirts or below after I hit 40. Recently I decided to hell with that!

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  5. Absolutely fantastic. Everything about this skirt is perfect, and I just love it with your peplum tops!

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  6. AAAAAAAAH, it looks FANTASTIC! I need this pattern, especially after my recent total-skirt-failure with Sewaholic's Crescent pattern (I had such high hopes!). I love love love Cake patterns.

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  7. Wow! You are stylin' in this! Nicely done skirt.

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  8. The flat piping adds so much fun to the skirt. Very nice!

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  9. Gah! Striped piped seams!! I love it! You look fantastic.

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  10. DUDE!! You look amazing!!! You totally rock a fitted silhouette!! This has me SO anxious to get started!! Denim skirts are my thing!! I have two 56 inch yards of stretch denim ready to go.

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    1. I know, you were one of my inspirations for this with all your denim, black and white for Me Made May! :)

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  11. I love the look. I do have a question (rant?), though.

    Whenever I wear a fitted woven skirt it rides up like crazy. I'm continually pulling my skirt down. I'm sure it doesn't help that my waist is 1.5" higher than average and I have a 12" difference between my waist and hip.

    Do you know how I would be able to keep a skirt like this in place?

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    Replies
    1. Hmmm... Even when you wear one that really fits snugly at both waist and hip, and isn't an ill-fitting RTW fitted skirt?

      My waist-to-hip difference is slightly less than 10" and I haven't had that problem with this skirt but even though it's fitted it's not quite a pencil—it's straight, so there's a bit of walking ease in there.

      Anyone else have any ideas?

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    2. Maybe that's my problem, I'm not having my skirt go all the way to my waist. Since my waist is so high and my bust is so big (34F) having a skirt that high makes me look very short-torsoed. It's very empire-waistish.

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    3. Well, this skirt hits slightly BELOW the waist—it starts about an inch below, though if you make it in a stretch you could go an inch or two lower. I'm a 32E (and was a 34H at one point when nursing!) so I have the same issue with looking short-torsoed!

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    4. It seems like part of the problem is the tight-fitting hips. I'm a larger gal and when I have a skirt fit my hips the walking action will cause it to ride up. Unless, of course, it's well fitted at the waist so my ribcage can stop it's ascent. But it will still try to migrate and wrinkle oddly.

      I'm wondering if I'm just not wearing the right size. (Totally possible)

      Thanks for trouble shooting with me. I've always admired your sewing and the way you explain FBA is so clear. You're certainly one of my muses.

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    5. This is EXACTLY the problem I have. Long hip-to-waist distance, high waist, skirts riding up all over the place. My current theory is that maybe some kind of full-butt adjustment (bigger hips/butt and deeper darts, basically) is the answer to my problems, but I haven't had a chance to play with it yet. (See discussions of this problem on this post.)

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    6. Yes, I think the long-hip-to-waist-distance has a lot to do with it. I just measured from my natural waist to the fullest part of my hip and it's 11" Whoa!

      I love that skirt, but I see what you're saying about bunching/full butt adjustment. It's making me inspired to finally figure all this out. I have some amazing leopard print that I bought for a pencil skirt and I really deserve to have it.

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  12. I'm so glad you are back to sewing and blogging! You are one of those bloggers who make me want to copy everything you make! Keep up the inspiration, m'kay? ;)

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    1. Aw, thank you! I'd love to see a copy!!!

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  13. Can I echo Gillian and say that I'm so glad to see stuff from you popping up in my blog reader so frequently? I love that you're back! And boy are you back with a vengeance; I love the hummingbird makes you've been posting. I never would have given a short fitted skirt another thought, but after reading about yours and seeing how fantastic it looks on you, well...

    Also, the first thing I noticed in that last picture is that the RTW top's side seam stripes don't match.

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    1. You are so awesome! I am SO happy to be sewing again, I think it's pretty obvious. I have a sewing queue like a million miles long though I do need to pace myself before I pass out.

      And yeah, I love the shape/idea of that RTW top and want to knock it off at some point but they did not even TRY with the stripe matching. It's H&M from four or five years ago... the way it's put together is super smart but I try to avoid fast fashion nowadays (though I will still buy former fast fashion items from the thrift store).

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  14. This skirt is so cute! I just love the striped piping. It's a nice length on you, too.

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  15. PERFECT fit! And I love all your fabric/trim/pocket choices. So fun!

    I don't really do short skirts these days. I'll do above the knee length in the winter with tights but definitely not in warmer months. But that is more because I am tall and think that the most flattering hem on me is a little longer, rather than any modesty objections. I think that so much of what is appropriate depends on individual bodies - a petite woman can wear a shorter skirt without it looking so short, for example.

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  16. A really cute outfit. My favourite combo is with the spotty top.

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  17. Just wanted to say, that skirt looks great on you! Isn't it great that you didn't have to make any alterations? Love that feeling!

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  18. This skirt is adorable! I love the skirt with your polka dot top. The piping definitely makes it. That kind of detail can be sooooo worth the extra effort. I'm really looking forward to making this pattern!

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  19. The skirt is awesome, and it looks fab in all the outfits you've posted! I really, really like the straight skirt/peplum top look on you! Really cute!

    To answer your skirt length question, I love to wear skirts at least a couple of inches above the knee. It's fun and youthful, although definitely not the best if you drop something and need to bend over!

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  20. Oh, so awesome! Thanks for making it out of a stretch woven, too! Now I have a better idea of what size to choose for my fabric. :)

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