Saturday, May 6, 2023

Pretty Fabric Finally Used Up - My Easter Outfit

 I had several ideas for my Easter outfit swirling around my head in the month or so leading up to Easter. There are so many different patterns and fabrics in my stash that I really want to use! 

A week before Easter I was back at my parents’ for the weekend to take care of baby goats, and I still hadn’t really made a decision about my Easter outfit. All I knew is I really did want to make myself something new!

Next to my mom’s washing machine I caught sight of some fabric I picked up at the City Sewing Room last fall - and then forgot about in the craziness that was buying a house and moving last fall. A textured lavender cotton blend fabric and a brown floral quilting cotton. They looked amazing together stacked up next to the washer! My mind was made up, I’d use those two fabrics together to make my Easter outfit!

I traipsed down to the basement where my  pattern stash is still stored and started looking through blouse and skirt patterns for inspiration. I had two yards of the lavender fabric for a skirt, and a 3 yard long, 15” wide strip of the print for a blouse. This definitely limited my options a little bit.

For the blouse I picked Simplicity 1460. As long as I cut the back pieces with a center back seam, rather than on the fold as the pattern recommended, I was pretty certain I could fit all the pattern pieces on my narrow width of fabric. Besides, I’ve wanted to make myself another version of this pattern ever since I made my first one 5 years ago - it’s just taken me a while to get to it.

All the pieces did indeed fit on the width of fabric I had. There was even a bit left over for me to make sleeve ruffles out of. The blouse went together quickly and easily. I should make more versions of this pattern - it’s easy, fits well, and turns out adorable!

The scalloped neckline and angled darts are perfection!

I chose to hand-sew down the neckline and placket facing so as not to break up the print the way machine sewing would have.

As for the aforementioned sleeve ruffles I decided to add - those turned out rather stiff and overpowering.

So I added elastic to the bottle hem, turning them into cute little sleeve puffs instead.

Onto the skirt! I wasn’t thrilled with any of the pattern options available to me. All the patterns I liked required more than 2 yards of 45” wide material.

I gave up on the pattern idea and decided to just wing it. I wanted something ruffley, full, below knee length, and original. 

Without a real clear plan, I started hacking my fabric into rectangles, and here is how I wound up cutting it: 

2 wide rectangles for the back of the skirt, 1 narrow rectangle for the front of the skirt, 3 narrower and shorter rectangles for a yoke, and 4 long skinny rectangles for the waistband and ties.

If I’d put more forethought into the thing I would have cut a bit differently so I wouldn’t have had to piece the waistband together quite so much. But for this skirt I started by cutting my fabric into thirds, and then I chopped up the thirds to get my waistband and yoke pieces.

What about pockets you ask? Those I cut from some leftover cotton/poly broadcloth found in my stash.  I didn’t even try to cut them from my 2 yard length of textured cotton.

And here is how I decided to re-assemble all those rectangles to make a skirt:

The three yoke pieces were sewn together with pockets inserted in the seams where the two back yoke pieces were sewn to the front yoke piece.

The waistband pieces were sewn together and then divided so I had a piece approximately the length of my waist measurement, plus a little extra, to form the back waistband, and a longer piece to form the front waistband and ties. 

The three skirt panels were seamed together and hemmed.

Then the body of the skirt was gathered at the back and sides, the front was left flat to line up with the front yoke, and the body was sewn to the yoke -  I was careful not to catch the pockets in that seam.

Next the yoke was gathered to sew onto the waistband. The back waistband was sewn to the back and sides of the skirt, and the inside/back layer of the pockets. A button and buttonholes were sewn to the “tails” of the back waistband to be buttoned around my waist in the front.

The front waistband was sewn to the front panel and the outside/front layer of the pockets. 

Its tails were made as long as possible to wrap around my waist and tie in the back. 

I wish I’d had enough fabric to make the ties longer, as my resulting bow is pretty small.

Essentially this skirt is constructed to fasten like an “apron style” 18th century petticoat or a regency drop front gown.

The resulting skirt isn’t as ruffley as I would have liked, but it does meet my fullness, length, and originality “requirements”.

There are things I could do better “next time” to make this design, out of this amount of fabric, a bit more ruffley.

I do like how this lavender skirt turned out, but I don’t think I’m done playing with this “pattern” such as it is. I’ve got all sorts of ideas for different variations!

I’m quite pleased with my entire Easter outfit. I used up some pretty fabric, had something new and springy to wear on Easter Sunday, and added two new versatile pieces to my wardrobe.

The blouse will go with quite a few of my skirts and pants (I wore it last weekend with my purple skinny jeans!)

I didn’t yet have a lavender skirt in my closet, and this will pair well with any number of tops I own.

The skirt fabric has proven to be a cotton/poly blend, so it shouldn’t require any ironing, which is always a relief.  I do love natural fibers, but for modern everyday clothes I don’t mind some synthetic in my skirts as a wrinkle deterrent. My synthetic or synthetic blend skirts get worn way more often than my linen or cotton skirts for that reason alone - I don’t like bothering with ironing everyday skirts. Anyway, enough rambling about that!

The story is, I made an Easter outfit, had fun designing it and working with a limited amount of pretty fabric, and enjoyed wearing it for church and Easter dinner with my family to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior!

And my brother took some nice pictures of me climbing a tree in my Easter outfit - because Easter outfits are for climbing trees! (Well, 10 year old Alyssa thought so anyway, and grown up Alyssa must follow the tradition.)

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous! I love the original skirt--you're right, the first thing I thought was "hey, that's a lot like a Regency apron front dress"! Perfect for Easter.