Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Olive Green Border One-Seam Skirt ala Jennifer Sterns



Two loves. Olive Green. Border.

The border is a misprint and ran on the cross grain. The bolt was printed in the lighter color, however, when I found this fabric at PA Fabric Outlet in Lancaster, PA a few weeks ago, the bolt had been cut to within 1/2 yard from this error. I bought the whole mistake and turned it into a Jennifer Stern One-Seam Skirt, using as much of the dark olive as possible.


Can you see the bit of iridescence (and cat hair)? The fabric was lovely to work with – like a light weight linen. Almost every bolt of fashion fabric at PA Fabric Outlets is marked 100% polyester. A few bolts reported “rayon poly.” This is obviously not 100% poly. It’s lightweight – really light – but has a thick weave so that I decided it was unnecessary to line it, but perhaps I ought to have for durability. Ah well, I can always wear a slip.

If you haven’t taken the time to draft one of these one-seam skirts, do yourself a favor and set aside 30 minutes to do so. This is an elastic-waist skirt with deep side seam darts with additional darts front and back for shaping and works very well in knits. The darts take away the extra bulk around the elastic waist. Once drafted, you can have yourself a skirt in an hour, start to finish.

Since this skirt is woven rather than knit, I made quite a few changes.

First, I added an invisible zipper which is not necessary when making this in knits. I reinforced the seams with interfacing (you will see the interfacing in a photo below).


Second, I added side seams because I cut this too large. I was trying to accommodate the few pounds I’ve put on since drafting the original skirt. The skirt pattern has deep side darts so I simply tried the skirt on inside-out and pinched out the excess and sewed the seam about 1/2 wide.

Third, I had to change the waistline finishing from the elastic called for in the original pattern. I used elastic on the back waist and used a grosgrain ribbon to finish the front waistline (and remembered at the last minute to only sew the uppermost portion of the ribbon!). I opted for elastic on the back for comfort’s sake. I find a whole-ribbon waistline a bit restricting and terribly uncomfortable. The touch of elastic (I stretched it only an inch or so) makes the skirt so much more wearable.

back waist front waist

Fourth, I added a kick pleat.


(Funny how photos show what the naked eye does not! See the iron imprints?)

Think a kick pleat is difficult? Think again. Look below at the simplicity of the shape needed for the kick pleat:



To make this pleat, I cut identical back seams, allowing 3 inches wide and originally cutting the pleat portion much longer than shown. You will need to measure where you want the top of your pleat as you don’t want it too high. [Mental note: make a mark on the pattern to show the cutting height of this pleat as I think it’s a perfect depth for me.] Sew your back seam from the zipper stop to the pleat. I then finished the pleat side seams by turning under a scant 1/4 inch and turning again so that I would have no raw edges. This fabric is very light weight, as I said, and this double turn did not add bulk. Otherwise, I’d probably turn once and zigzag the edges (at times like these, a serger would come in very handy!). Clip one side seam at the top of the pleat as shown, fold the pleat following the original center back seam line. Be sure to line this up precisely. I think some patterns have you baste this seam, but this fabric behaved so well, I found that unnecessary. Finally, sew the top of the pleat through all three layers, starting EXACTLY at the CB seam.


I pulled my thread to the back and knotted off.


I mitered the top (outside) pleat before hemming.


I like to use hem tape to finish my hems. I find it hems with less bulk and just seams like the thing to do. After seeing these photos, I think I need to tweak the under pleat – it appears just a wee tad too long, doesn’t it? But perhaps it’s the way I laid it out. I’ll aim for photos with me wearing it soon – today is cold and rainy and I’ve merely changed out of jammies to sweats this morning.

Making this skirt took longer than an hour, that’s for sure!

Oh – and am I pulling my hem stitches too tightly? Or is that simply the light’s reflection making the skirt appear puckered?  Or perhaps I need to press. I’ve learned to NOT press my hems but to allow them to hang as turned. I think I may have neglected to press the hem stitching.

I have a stack of light weight fabrics calling my name….especially this floral purchased at PA Fabric Outlet – marked 100% poly (of course) but it has a slight stretch so there’s something other than poly going on. I’m thinking wrap skirt or A-line skirt for my son’s college graduation. I love wrap skirts but sitting in them and maintaining modesty is a full-time endeavor. I’ll probably opt out of the wrap and think A-line for comfort.


What do you think about one of these jewel tones for a coordinating top? I made a muslin of a Burda pattern, but don’t love it so I’m back on the hunt for a pattern.