The Calm before the Storm

Starting the new year with a “simple” project seemed like the way to go, knowing that I plan to spend the remainder of the winter on a coat and “related apparel.” More on that in my next post. I thought that if I didn’t get this “skirt that was meant to be” cut out and sewn in the first couple of weeks of January, it might not get finished this year.

I found the fabric on eBay – dubbed as a medium-weight wool in good condition – 58” wide, 1+ yard in length, which I figured was enough for a skirt.

Navy and white houndstooth.

Navy and white houndstooth.

There is always a bit of the unknown when one is bidding on fabric online, especially when it comes to the feel and hand of the fabric. For that reason, I kept my bid fairly low, especially as I seemed to be the only one bidding or even watching this lot. So, you can imagine my surprise when I was OUTBID! I was disappointed, but clearly it was my own fault for not making a stronger bid.

I went on with my day, trying not to think about how much I liked the look of this fabric. And then – eBay sent me a message saying I had a second chance at the fabric – it could be mine for the amount I had bid originally. Hurray! I will never know what happened to make this possible, but clearly the skirt I had planned in my mind was meant to be.

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When the fabric arrived, it was lovely, although a bit heavier than I thought it would be. I decided it would make up better if there were few – or no – darts. So I settled on the paneled skirt from this 1958 pattern.

The calm before the storm - pattern

These small drawings show the seams and shaping of the skirt quite well. Obviously, I shortened the length of the skirt.

These small drawings show the seams and shaping of the skirt quite well. Obviously, I shortened the length of the skirt.

The shaping is in the seams, and even though there are a lot of seams (6 of them to be precise), I knew I could control the bulk by using couture techniques.

I underlined the skirt with silk organza, and secured the raw edges of each seam with catch-stitching.

I underlined the skirt with silk organza, and secured the raw edges of each seam with catch-stitching.

I also lined the waistband, thereby reducing bulk in that area. I used Bemberg rayon for the lining.

It is a little difficult to see, but this photo shows the inside of the lined waistband.

It is a little difficult to see, but this photo shows the inside of the lined waistband.

Another look at the waistband.

Another look at the waistband.

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I believe this skirt is going to be a staple in my winter wardrobe – classic houndstooth in navy and white wool is versatile, timeless, and warm. This was a calm and simple way to start the new sewing year. Now I can dig into something much more complicated, and I am excited to do so!

27 Comments

Filed under couture construction, paneled skirts, Uncategorized, Vintage fabric, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1950s, woolens

27 responses to “The Calm before the Storm

  1. Margene Yeaton

    Love this skirt, beautifully made and I agree a staple. I recall when I was 20 and had my first lined skirt how special it was. How elegant to just step into something and not need a slip with it. You went a step further and underlined, too. Looking forward to your next project.

  2. Lovely skirt. It’s always an adventure on EBay! I also find that much of couture is shaped with seams rather than darts. Your decision to line the waistband with lining reduced bulk, another sign of couture. I’ll be watching for your upcoming complicated projects.

  3. Gail B

    The skirt is beautiful. Love the houndstooth fabric.

  4. heather

    wow! love it! recently got a class on crafty for couture sewing & it’s so nice to actually see the techniques being used… thanks for sharing! congrats on getting your fabric! 🙂

    • Thank you, Heather. Craftsy has some great classes on couture – glad you’re taking one. These couture techniques have the test of time behind them, and quite simply, just work well!

  5. Heather Myers

    Great looking skirt!

  6. It’s so nice to have navy and white rather than black. Just a little bit different.

  7. Marianne

    What a wonderful way to start the sewing year. Pretty fabric and beautiful fit and finish!

  8. I really wish I had your sewing skills!

  9. Wonderful skirt! I love all the gorgeous interior details and photos of the construction. I have purchased fabric on eBay a few times and have always been pleasantly surprised.

  10. This is beautiful! Love the navy/white, you’ll be able to wear it many ways. I am always so impressed with your techniques, such exquisite work you do.

  11. Perfect skirt, Karen, made so by your great techniques!

  12. Mery

    As Margene suggested, it surely feels as beautiful as it looks. The concept & workmanship are superb & inspiring. Modeling helps us see much better how really well it all works.
    Your blog always reminds me not only of beautiful things & dreams but also of friends. Your storm pun (flurry of activity on the much anticipated coat ensemble, snow forecast) reminds me of 100 year old neighbor who best liked sewing on wood stove days because irons heated there stay hot & don’t interrupt work flow like stopping to heat electric irons. Add a pot of bean soup simmering on the back & the fellowship of quilting buddies & she had a happy and productive day. May your snow days be pleasant and any wood burning be a choice rather than a necessity.

    • Loved your comment, especially as we are supposed to get a major winter storm this weekend! I’m sure there will be a wood-burning fire, but, alas, the iron is electric – and it is a nuisance sometimes to wait for it to warm up!

  13. Beautiful fabric! And so perfectly finished. I can’t wait to see your next garment!

  14. Bernice

    Karen, what a lovely skirt! It’s great to see all of the construction details. Thanks. Hope you enjoy wearing it.

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