Tuesday, October 13, 2009

SAAS (Sewing for Any Size): Necktie Skirt for Pears

On my post about the super-retro-awesome necktie skirt yesterday, Alice asked a very good question that I didn't address in the original post:

"I'm really digging that skirt - got to check out the goodwill sale days again! One note - for those of us hippier than we are ... waistey? Bad word choice. For those of use whose hips are wider than our waists, we'd measure the widest part, then make the skirt to those specifications, yes? I'm figuring that there'll be some darting going on given my super-hourglassy shape - if you've got any suggestions on how to do that w/out creating really bulky sections or causing fraying, I'd be grateful!"

Now unfortunately since my sewing machine est kaput for now, the answer is going to involve guesswork on my part and your own experimentation!

Experimentation because the solution is really going to depend on your shape. Hips that are just barely wider are going to be easier to fit than super-hourglassy. Darting is going to be extremely tricky anyway because you're working with many layers of fabric. My machine bent a rod trying to shove the needle through a double layer of ties, so unless you have an industrial upholstery machine you may want to try and stick to single layers wherever possible. If you do stitch through more than one layer of full necktie, adjust your speed, stitch slowly to give the needle a chance to shove through, and use a very sharp needle.

One option to allow for darts is to remove the lining of the neckties from the hips up. By picking apart the stitches on the backside of each tie you can cut out the many layers of fusible and padding that allows it to keep it's shape. Leaving it in from the hips down will help the skirt maintain shape, but then you only have four layers of fabric to deal with when darting instead of four layers plus whatever gunk they stuffed the tie with.

Another option is to spread the ties at the hips and use insets. The tail end of the tie might be best for this since it'll keep the skirt from flaring awkwardly. The tops of the wide ends of the ties should meet where your waist is, then seperate to allow the insert of the narrow ends, like this:Remember that since there'll be some overlap where you're going through more than one layer of tie, you'll need to stitch those areas slowly, with a very sharp needle. If you're wondering why I keep repeating that, my answer is that I don't want to get sued when someone breaks a pack of needles and snaps a bobbin case trying to rush through this project :-). If your sewing machine allows you to adjust the force of the needle, lucky you!

You could also pull the lining from one or both layers to allow your machine to push through. Pulling the lining from the narrow inset ties will let the larger ones keep their shape and probably look better.

Another option would be to let the ties overlap from the hips up and gradually angle so that the overlap reduces on the way down. Again, either remove the lining or go slow and sharp! This might give the skirt the illusion of being pleated, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Remember that if you do this or the previous option you'll want to make sure that the back closure is a straight enough seam to add a zipper or other closure.
I hope one of those works for you! Sometimes I do get caught up in creating for my own shape, so please just ask if you want help adapting something.


geogrrl said...

One alternative is opening up the fabric on each tie--not so hard on the sewing machine, and you can sew the edges together as seams. It's more time-consuming, but the shape of the fabric, opened up, is roughly the same as that of the finished tie and it would be easier on the machine.

alice said...

Awesome! Thank you for these ideas - I'm thinking that the insets will be the most forgiging option for my old and slightly feeble sewing machine, but I'm also heeding your warnings and may look into hand-stitching parts while watching old movies.

I did go ahead and check out goodwill, and I'm realizing why you chose freecycle - ties at $2 ea are WAY too pricey for the # of ties my hips need. This, amony many other reasons, is why I love freecycle and the internet so dearly. Thanks again for such a comprehensive list o' suggestions!