Sunday, January 23, 2011

FO: Cold War pinstripe skirt

Last weekend, I made another skirt from my fab 1952 "rockabilly" vintage skirt pattern.
It should have been straightforward, as I sorted out the fitting issues with the rose prototype... but the phone rang as I was cutting it out and when I picked up the scissors again I sliced through the extra 5/8" I had planned to add to each side of the back seam - duh!
However, I got away with this schoolgirl error: it just means my waistband is slightly higher up my body than before, and it is perhaps a more authentically-vintage shape as a result.

I tried it on before hemming and realised that the original length works really well with my new shoes. I had just watched "Cracks" (twice!), so my eye had become accustomed to a longer silhouette.

My daughter has made me wary of longer skirts - she thinks they are dowdy-looking. And now that I am in my late 40's (eek!) that is not the sort of image I want to project!


Simplicity 3983 from 1952, View 1.

Fabric: 1 metre of "superfine worsted wool", bought as part of a 5-metre bundle of remnants from British Fabrics at eeebaaay, so it only cost about £4.

It is a rich midnight blue with a fine charcoal pinstripe at 1 cm intervals. It is lovely fabric - it drapes beautifully and has a subtle sheen. I pre-washed it at 30 degrees in the washing machine, just in case of shrinkage, but there was no visible difference.

I used grosgrain ribbon to line the waistband again. This brand wasn't quite so stiff as last time, so I used iron-on interfacing to back the main fabric for added stability.

Polka dots!

I also used polka-dotted lining for the pockets, just because!
I was ridiculously excited when I tried this on for the first time! I was all fired up to sew something special after watching "Cracks", so took extra care with little details like sewing on three hooks and eyes to fasten the waistband, instead of just a single snap fastener.

I made myself STOP before stitching the hem, as I knew that I was in danger of ruining the whole thing with a last-minute rush-job. I put it away for the night, and came back to the hem
a week later.

The detail I love most about this skirt is the shaping at the top of the pockets. When I made the rose version, I cut this as a simple curve and found I needed to stitch the buttons on through the top of the pocket to stop it from sagging.

However, the peaked shape of the scallop seems to support the fabric in this version, and it stands proudly away from the body, all by itself - very architectural! This suggests you need to choose a fabric with a bit of structure - it wouldn't work with e.g. a fine silk.

FL says it is my best piece to date and I am inclined to agree. It is full of character: kind of Cold War secret agent?

"Pass me a cheroot, won't you darrrrlink?"
Over-thinking again, Roo!
Anyway - a sewing success! Yay!


Kestrel said...

I like the attention to detail you put into the finishing, particularly the polka dots. I love the pocket shaping too.

jenibrown said...

Beautiful - love the length and the pockets are great. Not dowdy at all - very elegant! And you're right - they are great with those shoes! Have been looking for some like them - where did you find them?

Debi said...

I LOVE it! I think this length is perfect for the whole look (it does look very 30's)...I love how well everything goes looks fantastic!

I also love the ribbon belt--that is such a good idea! And what a good find--I love sewing with superfine wool!!!

didyoumakethat said...

Love the polka dot ribbon. The skirt looks like a really nice, high quality fabric.

Scruffybadger said...

That is one sleek look! A perfect match with "The" Twinset! Really like the skirt, its length is perfect with those cutie shoes.

christinelaennec said...

Very beautiful, inside and out. I just love longer skirts (as I don't give a hoot if people think I'm dowdy!). I find them infinitely more comfortable than knee-length. I think this length, and especially with those shoes, looks very elegant on you.

faeriecollege said...

Omygoodness, it's super! The grosgrain ribbon detail and the shaped pockets are so precious!

A big "feh" from me to daughter dearest. If you wear it with the right attitude, I dare anyone to call you dowdy.

Minnado said...

The skirt looks very elegant and a great addition to your wardrobe. I like the top shape and the ribbon binding.

Sarah said...

I love this skirt!! I'm going to make one from dark purple corduroy velvet. :)

lacewing said...

Terrific ensemble!

Sigrid said...

It is lovely, and the length looks fabulous with the shoes.

RooKnits said...

It is absolutely perfect on you!

jenibrown said...

Thanks for the info re. shoes - they're really great. Pity my feet are huge and Camper don't do a size 9. :(

Roobeedoo said...

Thank you everyone! I am really enjoying my new skirt - but it definitely needs a slip. Hmmmm - I feel a project coming on!

Kestrel said...

I see I was the first commenter on your skirt, how funny! And yes, I can confirm that I definitely DO like the pocket shaping! :)