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The search for a practical skirt  RSS feed

 
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My sister makes skirts out of round 100% cotton table cloths.  They make a great circle skirt that is between knee and ankle length for less than $20.  She cuts the center out and adds a zipper and a waist band.  She can put one together in about a half hour.  She uses round table cloths and prefers a nice cotton twill.  She uses blanket binding tape for the waist band because she likes how soft it is.  Making it with an elastic waist band would be even easier.

 
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Kate Muller wrote:My sister makes skirts out of round 100% cotton table cloths. 


Oh my gosh! So cool, do you have any photos?
 
Kate Muller
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I don't have photos handy of my sister in one of her skirts.  There are a couple of different ways to make these skirts. My sister makes them by adding a zipper and waist band to keep them as long a possible.  They can also be made with an elastic waste band.  Here are 3 tutorials on how to make them. 

This is with an elastic waist band.
http://bethannecreates.blogspot.com/2011/07/twirly-whirly-skirt-from-round.html

Here are 2 with methods with zippers. 
http://www.mysocalledcraftylife.com/2015/06/02/diy-style-vintage-tablecloth-circle-skirt/

http://www.retrovert.co.uk/blog/how-to-turn-a-vintage-tablecloth-into-a-circle-skirt
 
Laurie Dyer
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Kate Muller wrote:I don't have photos handy of my sister in one of her skirts.  There are a couple of different ways to make these skirts. My sister makes them by adding a zipper and waist band to keep them as long a possible.  They can also be made with an elastic waste band.  Here are 3 tutorials on how to make them. 

This is with an elastic waist band.
http://bethannecreates.blogspot.com/2011/07/twirly-whirly-skirt-from-round.html

Here are 2 with methods with zippers. 
http://www.mysocalledcraftylife.com/2015/06/02/diy-style-vintage-tablecloth-circle-skirt/

http://www.retrovert.co.uk/blog/how-to-turn-a-vintage-tablecloth-into-a-circle-skirt

 

Thanks so much for sharing!  I love this idea.
 
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I have LOVED reading through this thread! I have been really into skirts for farm work. It's too hot here for pants in the summer, and a calf length skirt plus rubber boots does the trick for me in terms of briar/tick avoidance.

I've had good luck just going to thrift stores regularly, and heading straight to the skirt section. Anything that's calf length, pretty full skirt, and fits around the waist (yay for drawstrings!) is great. Denim is super durable. Also I'm pregnant right now so just pulling them higher and higher, and I'll wear them next year too. Reading this thread though has made me think I need to get into aprons, as not all of my skirts have pockets on them and I can't seem to do chores without getting fermented pig feed splattered all over them.
 
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Back at it again today.  I couldn't find the pattern I drew last time, so I made a new one from my favourite skirt and sewed a sample of it in some undyed cotton.


I decided I didn't want to learn how to sew a zipper, so I made it an elastic waist with drawstrings.  It's very comfortable.  Next up, make another one out of some nice fabric... and maybe dye this sample skirt with some plant dyes.  Perhaps coffee grounds from my local coffee shop?
IMG_0349.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_0349.JPG]
first of many practical skirts
 
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Kate Muller wrote:My sister makes skirts out of round 100% cotton table cloths.  They make a great circle skirt that is between knee and ankle length for less than $20.  She cuts the center out and adds a zipper and a waist band.  She can put one together in about a half hour.  She uses round table cloths and prefers a nice cotton twill.  She uses blanket binding tape for the waist band because she likes how soft it is.  Making it with an elastic waist band would be even easier.



this is totally what i was just going to post!
yeah thats one of the only patterns i have used to make skirts- not only it is super fast, they are the really flowy long comfortable type - and great for dancing as well as tromping around on the land.
actually i do not use an actual pattern, i just measure it to my own body.

start with any very large piece of fabric and cut a hole in the center - larger than your waist. if it is square it will give uneven bottom, which can feel fun, or cut the outer edge into a circle.

then you only stitch whatever you want on top. with the hole  not much bigger than your waist you can just wrap the whole top around an elastic band, use a button, or whatever else.
otherwise you can make a flat panel for the front and back, sew these together, and then attach the opening of the circle to the front and back panel.

this skirt uses a lot of fabric, the way i have done it, and they are very flowing and fun for spinning in circles.
 
raven ranson
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I've made three practical skirts with an elastic in the back and a drawstring front.  Pockets of course.  So far, so good.

But now it's winter, and I need warmer skirts.  I have some fabric which I thought was wool but turns out to be a wool/synthetic blend.  I have no idea how to iron something like that.  Worse, it's not something I can have against my skin so it's time to learn how to sew a liner. 

I'm also thinking the drawstring closure is getting in the way and catching on things when I work.  Time to learn how to sew a zipper.  Can I still have an elastic waist with a zipper closure? 
 
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Little kid's pants often have elastic and a zipper. The elastic is often only on the back, but I don't know if that's because of appearance or because of the zipper....
 
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Certainly. Just install your zipper first and finish the edge, Then add elastic as you need up to the full waistband. I usually add a button at the top of the zipper to help take the strain off.
 
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I did everything the same as I do with the drawstring, only added a zipper instead.  It's HUGE! 

So I shortened the elastic by about two inches and it still fits a bit loose.  I don't think it's going to fall down, but I need to wear it around the place to be sure.  There's a lot of fabric gathered at the back - I don't know if that looks weird or fashionable, but it's comfortable. 

I think I'll have to re-draft the pattern for the next try. 
 
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I want to make this




...only in a different colour.

In lots of different colours.

How do I make this?

 
leila hamaya
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well that look like a basic A line skirt, only its also a wrap skirt. wrap skirts are also pretty easy.
that particular one looks kinda complicated, but they can be made more basic.

theres also a lot of variation in how they come out, depending on how you want them. heres some variations.
this is about as easy as a circle skirt-









and heres a simple tutorial -->
https://lifesewsavory.com/wrap-skirt-tutorial/

you can make them more complicated but thats a basic way...

 
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Oh pretty.  I really like the last photo.

Can these patterns work well with a heavy wool fabric like the one llbean is selling or does the pattern need changing? 

I'm looking for something for winter that can adjust with my girth - it's changing drastically due to illness, a change of upto two sizes a day. 
 
leila hamaya
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yeah i like the last one too, i have some similar but no pockets.
i love simple linen stuffs =)

and totally you can make it with heavy wool.
it might not flow as well, maybe a bit more stiff.... maybe make a little thinner on bottom....

and yeah the wrap skirt can be adjusted, when you tie it up. if you gain too much weight you can get so that it doesnt wrap as completely, but just make it a bit bigger, an extra panel or slightly wider panels...if you think you would need it larger at the waist....then you can tie it tighter.

designing it is all about where you want the slit/edge with the tie to fall. but theres a lot of wiggle room if you make it an inch of 2 thinner or wider it will basically fall about the same.

 
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The one you show RR is an A-line in a few pieces. This is to take some fullness out of the bottom of the skirt versus a circle skirt. The seam lines should fall roughly just inside your hip bones in front, then the back about where your back flat plane transitions to your sides (you can feel this better than I can explain).  It will easily adjust for fluctuations in girth. and would be cut in five pieces. With the end/front two overlapping. Compared to a full circle you would end up cutting 1/4 to 1/3 of the bottom hem diameter out in the four construction seams. So if the full circle is too much swinging at the hem try the A-line. Look for an old A-line or Princess dress at rummage sale or pattern and that will quickly give you what you need to make one.
 
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Just ran across this link...might be appropriate for this thread.  I wear thrift store clothes and find plenty of mid calf cotton knit skirts to keep me happy.  I haven't really done any clothing sewing since high school so unlikely to start now although I'm still interested in design somewhat. 

This pattern covers a variety of very simple looking drawstring pants and skirts with various pocket styles. 
2017 BUILD A WARDROBE: THE DRAWSTRING PANT(pattern includes skirts)

 
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This is a link to an online class for making a skirt by hand, really by hand with a needle and thread. 

I like the suggestion of getting friends together to sew and maybe share the cost of the class.  I think it's $50. I see it's marked down to $40 now. 

https://www.craftsy.com/sewing/classes/the-swing-skirt-techniques-construction/496063

If you use facebook this class was shared by Slow Cloth a site that posts a lot of interesting links to 'slow' fiber things.
 
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That class looks fantastic!  Definitely going on my wish list. 
 
Kate Muller
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You can also buy a pattern.  This pattern from McCalls can be found online, or in sewing/craft stores. 
https://mccallpattern.mccall.com/m7129

 
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Not an expert in this field, my experience has all been on appreciating skirts on the ladies.  That said however, the long or mid calf A line skirts was the traditional outfit for women in europe while the A line knee length was the tradition for men.  Included in this are tunics and kyrtels (male and female).  My mom went through a phase where she was wearing long skirts and she loved them.  I think she changed because fashions shifted.  I think if you are doing active stuff, a A knee length skirt is more practical and for stuff where you are less active (just walking or sitting) a long skirt provides moreprotection (heat, cold, etc).  Pockets of some kind are almost a necessity in my mind if we're talking practical.  A drawstring waist has got to be way better than a fixed waist.

The jean jumper is an old stereotype for the homeschool group, probably more comfortable than any skirt because it doesn't bind at the waist.  Also a loose dress is more adaptable to body changes (slight changes in weight, early stages of pregnancy and post partum than any skirt. 

The problem is that these practical dresses are seen as less flattering.  A miniskirt is great for what it was meant for, attracting male attention.  I think guys can figure out pretty quick what shape a gal has even if she's wearing the proverbial gunny sack, so I figure a bit of cameflage might not be a bad thing if it works to filter out some of the predatory crazies out there, (spoken as the father of 6 beautiful young women). At this point in my life though I may have finally figured out that when looking to buy a product, it's more important that the package contains the product I need, be it milk or liquid fertilizer, than the bright colors and attractive shape of the package.  Same with people.  Also, by the time we get to a certain age we realize that it's better to not have attracted and wasted time and pain with predatory crazies.  Maybe a more considered ad campaign is better when looking for your own companion.  What you catch when fishing is to a degree determined by your bait and where you fish.  If your not happy with your fish, change your bait or where your dropping your line.

My own wife no longer has her teenaged figure, and her hair is not done up as carefully as when she was younger.  She only wears makeup for church or when we go on dates (I think, she looks the same to me with or without).  She has health challenges.  She is more beautiful to me now than she was on our wedding day, when, looking back at the pictures, she was an absolute knockout.  When you know someone well enough, you may not notice a change in hair style or new outfit, because when you look at them you see THEM.  My wife is my best friend.  My 20 yeard old recently got engaged to a fine young man.  I remember being there.  When he came to ask my consent, I told him that they were going to be poor as church mice for a while and that was probably a good thing.  It's going through the tough times together that binds you to each other or tears you apart.  Either way, probably best done early before life gets really tough.

Sorry, I got sidetracked there, but self image is tied to clothes, is tied to social reasons for clothes, is tied to what others percieve when they see you, is tied to  ........

Going back to the original discussion of clothing, I currently wear pants rather than a kilt because of social considerations (my employer might object).  Once I get retired and out on my own property though, I will definitely switch to some sort of kilt for warm weather and draw string baggy pants in cold weather.  There is no comparing the comfort, at least with my current body. 

I went with suspenders with my pants for a while and found they were WAY more comfortable than belts.  Unfortunately I ended up going back to the belts because I had pants that didn't have the required buttons on the inside of the waist and I would need to wear those pants and no time to sew on the button at that moment and I got out of the habit.  Maybe I need to revisit that.  Suspenders were also warmer in cold weather because the loose waist allowed heat from my upper and lower body to move around. 
 
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For working in the garden I prefer pants (or are they called trousers? maybe that's different in US, UK or Australia). But I like wearing skirts and dresses too. I found out that a long skirt over woolen tights (or leggings) is warmer in winter than pants.

I prefer skirts being over the knees, but do show my ankles. Not only because I think my knees are ugly, but my ankles and feet look good, but also because I don't want to step on the skirt (like Jocelyn did).
I have one pattern, it's for a dress; when I want a skirt I take only that part of it. It isn't an easy pattern. It has 7 parts, 4 at the front and 3 at the back. That's because it has buttons down the front side. If you make a skirt with a zip at one side, the 2 front-middle 'gores' can be put together to make 1 'panel'. So then there are only 6 parts.
I like the 'gore'- style, because it fits neatly at the waist and hips and then widens, to make walking easy (and not showing the 'buttocks' -sorry, I used my dictionary for finding a word, I hope its a decent word).

If pockets are needed, I prefer the ones that are hidden in the sides. But it's also possible to sew pockets on top of the left and right side 'gores'. And even at the back (like jeans pockets).
I don't have a photo yet.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Mick Fisch wrote: ... I went with suspenders with my pants for a while and found they were WAY more comfortable than belts.  Unfortunately I ended up going back to the belts because I had pants that didn't have the required buttons on the inside of the waist and I would need to wear those pants and no time to sew on the button at that moment and I got out of the habit.  Maybe I need to revisit that.  Suspenders were also warmer in cold weather because the loose waist allowed heat from my upper and lower body to move around. 



Mick, interesting information you give! Especially this part. I makes me understand why my husband (now deceased) was used to wear suspenders! He came from the Caribbean, where it's hot. Probably it is (or was, back when he lived there) the habit there to wear suspenders, for the air-flow!
 
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This might work for some of you looking to sew your own skirts. She uses sheets -- very frugal.

  
 
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  So glad to see someone who sews similarly to me! She was a joy to watch, thank you.

   I usually measure each layer, though, doubling strip length from my top layer (which I almost double my waist) for a gathered waistband.  But next time, I will try her starting point, probably her waist size and maybe about 12 extra inches.  (So, for me, my first layer would be about 42 inches, my second layer, 84 inches, my third, 128 inches, my fourth, 256 inches, or close to that)

  I sew the waistband casing before adding the layers, it is easier to manage. I also make 2 buttonholes to pass the drawstring, on the top half of the casing if desired on the inside,  or on the bottom half of the casing, to have the drawstring on the outside. I sew the top edge first, 1/2 inch, iron, sew the buttonholes, horizontal to the seam (about an inch or two apart, from the halfway mark, if you fold the piece) then sew the casing down, folding a bit wider than whatever I will use for the tie.

I usually gather each layer, which is quite time consuming, so I may try her 'gather as she goes' method. It is a learned skill, for sure, very impressive, fitting in gathers without that pull thread, even though she made it look easy...

But I am glad to see her simplicity. it made a beautiful skirt,  thank you for sharing her creativity.

 
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I too LOVE this thread! At 62, I've reached that golden age where I am free from self-doubt and feeling self-conscious about how I look anymore. Let's face it, we all lose it sooner or later. It is replaced by something amazing ~ Realness! We become who we are on the inside... after enough years of living our beliefs and lifestyle choices, it radiates! Look at any older person and you can see they reflect the life they've lived. See the confidence, the radiant beauty emanating from their eyes... the fact that they may have wrinkles and be graying, but they're comfortable in their own skin. They've earned it! Well, at least many of them, not all age gracefully... Some get caught in the hopeless venture of searching for the fountain of youth at all costs. I was crippled by worrying about "what people would think" in my younger years. Now I am free.

I wear what's comfortable and practical! Style is nice, but I don't get all hung up in what is current or trending- anything goes! I love skirts because they allow the female anatomy to breathe! This is essential for women's health, but has been discarded in favor of tight jeans which wreak havoc. I love natural organic fibers if I can afford them, which I can't. So... I'm also on the creative journey of developing a skirt pattern for everyday wear. I've experimented with several different types I've found on ebay. One style I LOVE are wide leg culottes (gauchos). They are comfortable and free like a skirt, but more practical and less likely to billow in the wind and give someone an eyefull. They have pockets if they are worth their salt. Pockets are essential for everyday wear. I have some with an elasticized rolled waistband and no pockets. They are super comfy, but they drive me nuts! Nice clean line, but USELESS! Country women NEED pockets! They are a few inches below the knee and allow plenty of freedom of movement. That is another necessary feature- Skirts without it are downright dangerous to wear. Once I almost had a bad fall because I went to take a big step between two big rocks, and my skirt wouldn't let me. Luckilly I was able to catch myself, but it could easily have ended very badly, and it really scared me. That was when I realized freedom of movement and/or ability to stretch is of utmost importance. Knits are nice because they have built-in 'give', without excess fabric which adds a lot of extra bulk and weight. The downside is they are less durable, but it may be a worthwhile trade-off to have a few. I have also taken notice of Folkwear patterns. I love the walking skirt pattern, but haven't bought it yet. I just got the 1920's Flapper Skirt pattern, and I think it will be amazing in Linen. It is gored- narrow at the top, and flares out at the bottom, with cool side insets for freedom of movement (made for dancing, afterall), and a varying length hemline that comes to points- really cool! If I knew how to post photos, I'd share it. Can't wait to adapt it to have pockets and try making my prototype. So that's my take on skirts... I'll keep you posted as I progress towards my goal!
 
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The word "skirt" doesn't even come close to practical on our land yet, we're basically lumberjacking, jumping mucky creeks and wading through weeds taller than I am with tools in hand.  I mostly wear thick cotton cargo pants with shoe laces run through the cuffs to keep bugs out of my pants, and an elastic belt from the dollar store so I can bend and work without busting a gut, and get them off fast for a squat in the bush.  Usually under army surplus rain gear, which mosquitoes can't bite through.  I'm working toward the day that a skirt could be a practical wardrobe choice Then the hills will be alive with the sound of music and I'll spin around like Julie Andrews in one of your tablecloth circle skirts!
 
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I finally decided to go with the walking skirt from the Folkwear pattern 



The shipping to Canada is too expensive - nearly the price of the pattern.

I'm going to see if they have a Canadian source for their patterns. 

 
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