Shifting Biases

21 Mar

Since I took project photos as I made my silk skirt, I’ll post them, here, with step-by-step directions.

You could use any fabric with a significant nap, directional print, stripe, or texture running along the grain line.  (Note that I didn’t make up this idea, I saw a ready-made garment that had a similar feature.)

1) I started with a basic A-line skirt pattern, which I make as a front plus a back with a size zip. I also usually use a simple waist facing, as well, although on this one I chose an elastic binding for the waistband.  This is a skirt style I have made dozens of times, so I usually just trace one of the many skirts in my closet and make a few adjustments based on how long I want it this year, or whether I need an inch added to or taken in at the waist.

My basic skirt pattern looks like this:

(Curved waist, curved hem, flared from waist to hem but not hugely so.)

2) I cut my pattern in half, and then half again, to make strips. You could make as many strips as you like of your basic skirt shape.

3) I drew new grain lines on each piece, at a 45-degree angle from the vertical, each “slice” alternating in the opposite direction from the one next to it.

4) I used these markings to lay out my new pattern pieces, all the grain lines running in the same direction, and lined up with the grain of the fabric.

I drew my pattern without seam allowances, and then added seam allowances before I cut. Make sure you’ve given yourself not only adequate seam allowances, but also an edge to work with at both the hem and the waist, depending on how you like to do hems and waistbands.

5) Now you put the pieces back together to create a front and a back. I used flat-felled seams to join each segment, and I like these step by step instructions.

6) After sewing all your strips back together, you have a front and back of your basic skirt pattern.

See how the light hits the sheen of each slice of fabric slightly differently?  That’s the variation I was going for, that makes it all worth while.  Now you can just sew your skirt together (right sides together, sew up at the sides, insert a side zipper if that’s your style—you can add pockets, too. Then the waistband and hem. The waist can be a casing with elastic, or a turned-in facing, or I used a fold-over elastic.)

Here you can see how the grain meets up at the seams, creating a nice zigzag effect across the fabric:

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2 Responses to “Shifting Biases”

  1. Funnygrrl March 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    This is beautiful. I love the chevron effect. So easy!

  2. madge March 22, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    what a pretty trick!!

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