Monday, October 21, 2013

Not enough fabric? V8858 is a fabric hog!

HAVE: Vogue V8858 for a long evening skirt (only finished versions online seem to be here and here)
HAVE: 5 1/2 yds green embroidered taffeta from Carolinas CM Recto, bought about 4-5 years ago.
NEED: 6 5/8 yds
NEED: to lengthen skirt by 3" in front (skirt has longer back sweep)

PROBLEM: not enough fabric! I was missing over a yard of fabric.

  1. Reduce width of skirt. I took out about 1.5" at all seams except centre front and back. This enabled me to cut the front and back out of one length of fabric each, with enough left over for the long back ruffles at the side.
  2. Make a muslin so you can reduce seam and hem allowances to a bare minimum!
  3. Shorten the back so that it is the same length as the front.
  4. Ditch any though of cutting in one direction. Even though this fabric has a one way / un-symmetrical embroidered design,  it won't matter on this pattern, as the skirt body will be covered by the flounces, and the flounces themselves will hang in all directions anyway. The hip portion is the only part you need to be careful with if you are cutting any patterned fabric.
  5. Cut single layer.  Explanation: normally home sewers cut from a double layer of fabric, so you cut both left and right side from the same pattern piece at one time. Factories have a separate pattern piece for each and every part needed to make up the garment, so there is a separate left/right front, top/bottom collar etc.  These are laid out on a single layer of fabric, and lead to a much more efficient fabric consumption. So, I duplicated all the pattern pieces,( the brown are the originals and the white the duplicates on tissue paper) so I had a piece of paper for every piece I needed for the garment, and laid this out. 
HURRAY! It all fitted !

BUT after a discussion with a designer friend, I decided that I really want the back to be longer as this makes up quite a bit of the appeal of the skirt. She suggested cutting the flounces ( the donut shaped pieces on the photos below - there are 9 of them - not all are visible on the photo below) in half to gain 12" or so of fabric, so that the back skirt could remain longer than the front. So I cut up some flounces (don't forget adding seam allowances if you do this) and laid everything out on the fabric again!

INTERIM RESULT : I have gained about 10" for the back skirt length (the strip of empty fabric between the 2 rows of skirt pieces. I will now go an make up a muslin before I cut the actual fabric out!

Tip: if you ever make up this skirt, baste the skirt body together first so you can check the length. Any adjustments to the length will result in you having to adjust the length of the flounces. shortening is easy, but depending on how much longer you made the skirt, you may have to rethink the diameter of your donut flounces, so that they fit the new length.

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