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The search for a practical skirt  RSS feed

 
r ranson
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Toying with so many different places to put this. In the end, I decided on Frugality because that's my main motivation in this quest.

I like wearing skirts. They are comfortable, functional and fun. Given my druthers, and the right skirt, I would rather wear a skirt for farm work than jeans. Year round. No matter the weather. No matter the task. Birthing a lamb or planting seeds, even wrestling my 500+pound feral rescue llama is better done in a skirt.

Finding the right skirt, however, has always been the problem. Not every skirt is suited to wrangling geese. On top of that, most modern clothing processing has social and environmental issues. When I do find a skirt that seems okay, it usually wears out in a month. The quality of the sewing or fabric is just not good enough. Then there is the fact that I'm piss poor on a finite income that wouldn't cover groceries if I didn't grow half my food. So I thought, why not make my own skirt?

Four over 6 years now, I've spent hours scouring sewing patterns, but can find nothing appropriate. In a decade, I've only found two skirts that are practical for around the farm and look decent enough to wear into town. However, they are both too short. Maybe I can design my own skirt?

Anyone want to help?
My sewing skills include: following directions, making darts, sewing buttons and buttonholes, straight stitch on my machine, and enclosed seams. It's an old treadle machine, so no zigzag. I have limited success designing my own pattern. Mostly failure. But how hard can a skirt be?

My ideal skirt pattern is...
  • between calf and ankle length
  • is adjustable for different seasons and cloth (linen and wool mostly)
  • is made with woven fabric
  • has optional pockets
  • looks good enough to wear into town - aka a style not to weird by modern standards
  • has enough space that I can run or dig or whatever needs doing on the farm
  • has a flat panel on the front - to stop it draping into the fire
  • can have a button or elastic waste, but mostly button
  • has the option of including a lining, especially for wool skirts in winter
  • not a wrap around - they don't hold together with the kind of farming I do
  • can be made cheaply using whatever fabric is on hand
  • is durable - which I suspect has more to do with materials and construction techniques
  • Must cover my knees because I think they are ugly, even if they aren't I just don't like other people seeing them


  • So what do you think? Does my perfect practical skirt already exist or am I going to have to design my own?


    My next step is to take my favourite skirt and lay it down on a scrap of paper and trace a pattern. Then I'll make a mock up and get the size right.
     
    David Livingston
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    The word kilt comes to mind

    David
     
    Burra Maluca
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    I'm sure we had a thread once about utility kilts, but I can't find it.
     
    r ranson
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    Perhaps Freedom Kilts is what you had in mind? I'm pretty sure he was involved in the cargo kilt.

    I love a man in a kilt. I've quite made up my mind that if I ever get married, it's going to be to a guy in a kilt. But alas, as a girl, I don't feel comfortable in one. Don't know why, just a gender hangup I guess. Also, it doesn't do enough to cover my knees.
     
    Joseph Lofthouse
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    My favorite skirts are made from old denim pants... When the knees wear out, I chop them apart and turn them into skirts. That way, the hard work of making the pockets, zippers, and snaps is already done. And I get my favorite configuration of pockets without trying to figure it out and mess it up. Sure, the fabrics might not match, and I tend towards getting the job done rather than fancy stitching, but I still wear them to town when I feel like it. I have some duck canvas that I intend to use to make a more formal utility kilt this winter.



     
    Galadriel Freden
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    I'm with you, I much prefer skirts (and dresses). Through winter I wear a selection of pleated wool "granny" skirts, in the style of a kilt. Most of them are below the knee, though I've altered a couple to be knee length (my preferred length). I get these at charity shops, and I just love them. Being wool they naturally repel dirt and water, so I don't have to wash them often; then again, I'm not farming in them, just a bit of gardening and housework. I don't bother ironing the pleats after a wash, so they look a bit less formal than a kilt, too.

    I generally buy most of my clothing from charity shops, but I sometimes make my own, or refashion my charity shop finds. You may be able to find some skirts that are nearly good enough, and alter them or refashion them to suit you, such as adding pockets to the side seams, or altering the length. It's even possible to take a pleated skirt, unpick some or all of the pleats on the front panel, then cut it smaller to make it flat.
     
    Joylynn Hardesty
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    Is there such a thing as a photo of such a skirt?
    This is what I see... http://mccallpattern.mccall.com/m6940-products-48286.php?page_id=915
    No freaking out allowed. I would not send you into town wearing THAT.
    Reimagine veiw B as just a skirt, only one fabric used.
    The image does not want to be posted. Hmm. I would have given proper credit.
    To alter the pattern pieces:
    Find the front and back panels. Find the natural waistline. Cut off, or fold back the bodice to create the skirt pattern pieces. If folding, pin the bodice part back to 'hide' it.
    The front and back side panels will need to be changed, just use some newspaper, or butcher paper to alter the top convex curve to form a straight line, also extending up to the natural waistline. Be sure to have the length of the side/front seams match the length of the front/side seams. Front and back measurements will not be the same, so do likewise to the side/back and back/side lengths.
    The side panels are cut on the bias, giving it more room for a stride than it may appear. While this one does not, most patterns list the circumfrence of the fininshed hem. You would need to measure the pattern pieces to acertain this number. Don't forget to subtract the seam allowances. Compare this number to the length of your stride. Take a step, stretching your step out to just uncomfortable. Measure this length. Double it and add 3 inches for ease.
    Add a waistband, using a button and 9' zipper at back or side seam.
    A flap can be added to use buttons instead of zipper. I don't know how to explain the process, I am a visual learner and teacher without a camera. Ugh.
    Now cut out the fabric.


    http://www.simplicity.com/p-11846-misses-pencil-flounce-flared-skirts.aspx#t-2
    This skirt, veiw D, is only 23 inches long, from waist to finished length.
    To alter the pattern pieces:
    For veiw D, lengthen the 'straight'panels to desired length. Widen the hem edges of front and back straight panels by maybe 2 inches each panel, tapering panels up to hips. Side front and side back panels add no more than 1 1/2 inch each to the hems, half to each edge, tapering uo to hips. Lengthen the triangle inserts, aiming the insert to begin at about mid thigh, tapering them down to about the same width as they were to begin with. Add the length of all your hem edges together. Is this long enough to accomodate your stride? Adjust triangle pattern until it does. Don't forget to subtract seam allowances.
    Now you can cut out the fabric.
    The triangles can be made of a lighter weight fabric than the skirt. Perhaps denim skirt, calico insert. Or Linen skirt and chiffon insert. Ha ha ha! Ahem. Great farm wear! (You may happen on some sturdy linen or cotton lawn though. It does not do the snagging thing that chiffon will do.) Doing so will cause them to 'tend' to hide inside the skirt, not billow out into a fire.


    I prefer patch pockets in a skirt. I have found that in seam pockets fight me too much, they twist the wrong way. They could look like jeans, cargo, flowers, etc. Whatever you like.
    Also any skirt pattern can have a waistband attached to it, for belt use. I have yet to decide if I prefer a waist threaded belt for tool carrying, or more of a 'gunslingers' style. I always take garden shears, multi tool, and knife. If I take a 'quick trip' out, I always end up with a trip back to the house.
    I like the idea of a skirt for working. Much less binding. For now though, due to chiggers, i wear slightly too big dickies. Not stylish. At all.

    Any skirt pattern can have a lining added. To use less fabric, do not echo the style in the skirt though. Think A line skirt, with a back split, maybe side splits too, from knee level down. Attach at waistband, lining up with the zipper, some light gathering may be needed at waist.
     
    r ranson
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    Is there such a thing as a photo of such a skirt?
    This is what I see... http://mccallpattern.mccall.com/m6940-products-48286.php?page_id=915
    No freaking out allowed. I would not send you into town wearing THAT.


    Give me an outfit a few years earlier and we're golden.


    Image, with luck from the PARMA facebook page. Not a photo of me, but from the same group I time travel with each summer.

    These are the most comfortable clothes in the whole world! Perfect for any kind of farm work, and yes, I've even wrestled livestock in this kind of outfit. If we didn't live so close to town, this is what I would wear working around the farm. But alas, it does not conform to modern style... so to avoid being carted off to the local loony bin, I must wear something a bit more modern.

    I like the shape of the skirt in View B (of the pattern linked to above). I do have a couple of other medieval garb patterns I can try and dig out. I think one of them had a similar skirt shape.

    THANK YOU FOR THE WONDERFUL ADVICE ON HOW TO ALTER THE PATTERN! You have filled me with inspiration.
     
    Dan Grubbs
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    I love my Utilikilt for outdoor activities. And, if you're wearing in a traditional way, they do come with a "modesty" snap that allows the front and back of the kilt to be snapped together to form rough legs so when you're wrangling that hog and you get pulled over, your junk or hoohaw aren't overly exposed. The heavy duckcloth is bombproof and I have the workman model of Utilikilt which has extra tool pockets and even a hammer loop. Besides, they're attractive for both men and women.

    http://www.utilikilts.com/
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    r ranson
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    I'm going to approach this problem/challenge/adventure from two directions. One is to find a pattern and alter it ala those amazing instructions a few posts above this one. The other direction is to start with my favourite skirt and try to make a pattern from it.

    This is what I started today. I got my favourite skirt...



    Lay tracing paper over it and used a soft pencil to trace where the seam is...



    Then I took my tracing and sewing ruler thingy, and interpreted my findings. I added a seam allowance of 1/2 inch, and a hem of 1 inch. The fabric is getting old and stretched so I imagined what the pattern would look like with straight lines. I like sewing straight lines better than curves.

    Now I have a basic pattern that I can use to make a mock up with some scrap fabric....



    I didn't take the pattern from the back of the skirt because it's very complicated. It goes out around the bum, then in, then out again. I don't really need a skirt that emphasises that area, so I am going to discover what happens if I make the back the same as the front.
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    Joylynn Hardesty
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    "I didn't take the pattern from the back of the skirt because it's very complicated. It goes out around the bum, then in, then out again. I don't really need a skirt that emphasises that area, so I am going to discover what happens if I make the back the same as the front. "

    I hope I caught you in time! Make the back a couple inches wider from top to hem. It will fit better, as all bums need more room than the front does. Notice your other skirts, the back is wider than the front. I also don't like the bum hugging styles. It looks like the one wearing it bought it two sizes too small.
     
    Joylynn Hardesty
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    Also, the back hem often will hang below the front when laid flat on a surface. Let it be about an inch longer at center back, tapering up to meet the side seams.
    When worn, the hem appears even.
     
    Ann Torrence
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    Do you wear aprons regularly? Or just in costume events? Seems like they would be handy for keeping a dress clean enough to do errands.
     
    r ranson
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    Joylynn Hardesty wrote:"I didn't take the pattern from the back of the skirt because it's very complicated. It goes out around the bum, then in, then out again. I don't really need a skirt that emphasises that area, so I am going to discover what happens if I make the back the same as the front. "

    I hope I caught you in time! Make the back a couple inches wider from top to hem. It will fit better, as all bums need more room than the front does. Notice your other skirts, the back is wider than the front. I also don't like the bum hugging styles. It looks like the one wearing it bought it two sizes too small.


    You did catch me in time. Good advise. I'll give it a try.

     
    r ranson
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    Ann Torrence wrote:Do you wear aprons regularly? Or just in costume events? Seems like they would be handy for keeping a dress clean enough to do errands.


    If I'm wearing a skirt, I'll usually wear an apron. But I never do when I'm wearing pants. Maybe that's why my skirts don't need washing as often as jeans.
     
    r ranson
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    Because I'm procrastinating from washing dishes, I discovered This Folkwear Pattern for a Walking Skirt. I can't really tell from the images if this is what I'm looking for. The price for the pattern is a bit steep for me at the moment, but I could save up and probably get it next month. Does anyone have experience working with patterns from Folkwear?

    The description:

    #209 Walking Skirt
    Misses SM-3X. $16.95

    As the Victorian age drew to a close at the beginning of the 20th century and the Edwardian age dawned, women entered the arenas of sports and the professions. This was the skirt they wore, because it was comfortable and yet unencumbered by bustles and hoops. Full-length or street-length, with five gores. Pattern includes instructions for decorative cutwork embroidery (Broderie Anglaise). Suggested fabrics: Medium to heavyweight cottons and blends, linen, silk, lightweight wool, thin wale corduroy, or velvet.


    The five gores... are those the panels of fabric?

    What do you think they mean when they say lightweight wool fabric?

    Right, best get my chores done so I can come back and play with sewing. See you in a bit.
     
    Judi Anne
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    Yes! Go for the walking skirt pattern when you can. Best I can tell from the link it is the same style as my favorite skirt pattern. 5 gores is 5 panels or pieces cut in a gore(ie triangular shape- narrower at top, wider at the bottom. 3 gores in front with the middle one cut straighter which makes it hang nicely/not bunch up in the middle and yet the side pieces and space for hip room and drape and ease of movement. 2 gores in back with some gathers most likely for a nice drape over the "bum".
     
    Judi Anne
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    Lightweight wool, as I know it, is about the same weight as crushed velvet rather than a heavy weight wool which would be used for outerwear like a coat or drapery.
     
    Jd Gonzalez
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    http://www.paisleypincushion.com/product/buckle-jumper-pattern/

    As a child from the early seventies reading your quest reminded me of coveralls turned into skirts. I had a very handy ex who used make them.
     
    Joylynn Hardesty
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    "The five gores... are those the panels of fabric?" R Ransom

    Yes, the gores are panels of fabric. I like the pattern, I have not used any of theirs though. Think culottes with an added solid front panel, inserted, not flying free.


    "What do you think they mean when they say lightweight wool fabric?" R Ransom

    Worsted wool, probably. I have seen, from B. Black and Sons, a lighter weight wool flannel that would work. This is not the same as a coating weight wool.
     
    Roberta Wilkinson
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    If you're feeling like learning a bit about pattern drafting, this article walks you through the process of making your own pattern for a skirt similar to the walking skirt in the Folkways pattern: http://yourwardrobeunlockd.com/articles/historicalperiods/edwardian/238-edwardian-revival-skirt

    I made a similar skirt back in college from a pattern in an Edwardian ladies magazine. Those publications are all public domain now, so you should be able to dig something similar up online if you care to, or your library probably has copies. It was a similar process to that article though. The magazine didn't contain a full size pattern for tracing, it was more like a diagram with instructions on how to apply your own body measurements to draw up a full size pattern on your own paper.
     
    Ann Torrence
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    R Ranson wrote:If I'm wearing a skirt, I'll usually wear an apron. But I never do when I'm wearing pants. Maybe that's why my skirts don't need washing as often as jeans.

    I want to develop the apron habit, even though I mostly wear camo hunting pants for the cargo pockets. I like this free pattern because it only uses a yard of fabric and it doesn't tug around my neck or bunch up across my chest when I'm doing stuff.
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    I haven't had a chance to read through everything, so maybe someone else has shown something like this, but these are the kind of skirts that make me drool. I ran across pictures of these a few years back, and have wanted one ever since! (I did a google search for "long Khaki cargo skirts" to find these results. "maxi" and "military style" also seem to be good key words).



    http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/ahaaha/item/bab3030-ma211/?s-id=borderless_recommend_item_en


    http://www.shukronline.com/wt1801.html


    http://www.amazon.com/Style-Charming-Cargo-Denim-Skirt/dp/B00GC4B48A


    https://www.etsy.com/listing/58474168/khaki-skirt-woman-maxi-linen-skirt-with?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=khaki%20skirt&ref=sr_gallery_1


    http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/fashionletter/item/d81/


    I think I found some patterns for one, too:


    https://www.etsy.com/listing/180099895/1990s-mccalls-easy-pattern-9578-womens?ref=market

    and a newer one, though it's short:


    http://m-sewing.com/patterns-catalog/women/skirts/skirt-with-a-zip-up-gusset.html

    The fact that I see modern advertisements (not counting the 1990 pattern) with hip-looking young ladies wearing these, makes me think you/I wouldn't look out of place wearing these.
     
    r ranson
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    Wow Nicole. What a beautiful collection of skirts.

    Now that I've slept on it, I'm wondering if the walking skirt will be too formal for town wearing. I think I would have to see it in person to tell. I do love it though.

    Lots to do today, but hopefully tonight I can get back to sewing.
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    I think the formality of the skirt really depends on the material and color. If it's khaki or earth toned wool, it's going to look a lot less formal than if it's black or red and satin, for instance. Changing what shirt you have on top also changes the formality. A nice blouse makes things a lot more formal than a teeshirt or plaid shirt, for example.

    Also, to reduce the formality, I think adding pockets does that pretty well.

    Either way, I see enough people wearing long skirts that I don't think you'd look outside the normal spread of people's attire. But, then, I'm not really one to talk, as I've never dressed fashionably--I just try to not look too weird or out of the ordinary!
     
    Ghislaine de Lessines
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    You've definitely gotten a lot to work with in this thread! My idea involves using a Viking Apron Dress pattern I've made a few times. I've worn it around town as a kind of jumper just by wearing a regular shirt underneath it so I am wondering if the form of the skirt pieces might work for you too. http://sca.uwaterloo.ca/mjc/sca/aprond.html
     
    Deb Rebel
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    Found this post just now and hope to put some new life into it.

    Even the medieval outfits will work... here we have Mennonites and they dress pretty old style at times. Plus we got some of the Jeffs people here and occasionally we see a few of the women (they dress Gibson style including hair). If you're clean and it's covered, it goes, here.

    You have some very good pattern advice already R. Ranson, update us (like me) and let know how your endeavors worked or didn't?

    I've sewn some Folkwear and the patterns usually go okay but I don't suggest them for a first time out sewer. If you can handle the average McCall's or Simplicity, you should do fine with those. New Look, I got a lovely kilt pattern (but it was masquerading as a woman's skirt) for surprisingly cheap instead of what the Scottish-Irish Regalia place wanted. It's old now and hiding or I'd get the pattern number for you. I can and have drafted patterns plus altered and if I can buy a readymade I will prefer it.

    Another style is to get the Folkwear Prairie dress, it's fairly simple and loose, then you put a waist length apron on it to cinch in. It's a take off of a Victorian 'morning dress' and was simple to sew and fit without issues. You can make it any length you like and also adjust the sleeves (I do bare arms to above the elbows almost always)
     
    Katie Jarvis
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    You should sell these skirts! I am in anconstant search for a good simple farm skirt and would love to find someone to make me a couple! I have yet to find the perfect one
     
    Deb Rebel
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    I am not a skirt wearer, but being able to answer the door in a massive hurry, and being married to a 'closet nudist', I recently started to re-eye my New Look skirt pattern I picked up mid 90's for a song (like $5) versus paying the Scottish and Irish Regalia shop $65 for a kilt pattern. The New Look pattern was pretty close, if a bit undersized for a guy.

    Mr. Joseph Lofthouse, I have a large number of 37's/Levi jeans. If you would Purple Mooseage me with your waist size, I keep running into 'orphan' jeans, and after all the kindness you showed me with this year's seed order plus the Ant Love mailer, your waist size plus measuring from the TOP of your waist band to where you like to have your kilts fall, I might be able to gift you with some reworked jean-wonders. If the experiments succeed, I'd be willing to share what I altered.

     
    Travis Johnson
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    I am not into kilts or skirts myself being a guy, heck I do not even wear shorts, I wear jeans and boots all year as witnessed by my farmers tan when I take my shirt off, but my wife LIVES in miniskirts. Her go-to skirt is a denim skirt...and while not the topic of this thread, sun dresses. We are primarily a sheep farm, but she gardens a lot (I don't, that is her thing) and she finds shorter skirts (or sun dresses) just to be easier to work in. She is a bit different in that she does like being fashionably dressed, and while denium skirts come in and out of vogue, for the most part it is acceptable.

    We used to go to a church where the women were required to wear skirts and no pants at all, and long ones, even in the winter. She wore leggings under her skirts to fend off the cold at sledding parties and such, so for those that like skirts, they can be worn comfortably even in Maine's frigid winters.

    As for shoes, she (and I both), like LL Bean clogs that they used to have, but they changed the design and now they no longer carry the kind we liked. She does however wear Keds a lot, constantly keeping them in rotation. Her newer ones she wears in the house or out to town because her back will often hurt her if she is barefoot all day, but finds Keds more like slippers then bulky sneakers, and when they are worn or dirtied too much, wears them while working in the garden or flower beds. Keds can definitely NOT be worn in the barn though.

    I snapped the first picture while picking up some apples for our sheep. (Our house sits on what used to be an old apple orchard). The second one is a photo of her in her go-to denim skirt while we were haying.





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    Regan Dixon
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    I know this is an older thread, R. Ranson, but thought I'd put my two bits in for those contemplating skirts, in general. 

    I am not a skirt wearer by nature, but I have learned, while living and working in medieval work clothes for a week or more, is that these wool or linen dresses are indeed comfortable, durable, breathable, allow full freedom of movement, adapt easily to different looks, and there was nothing I couldn't do in them.  And dirt just brushes off the wool.  For modern use, I would be tempted to make a dress modelled on that style, adjusting sleeve and hem length to suit, and probably making the skirt less voluminous, maybe only 3/4 circle instead of full circle, so as not to be seen as odder than I am, on the street.  With modern accessories, I doubt anyone would raise an eyebrow.  My philosophy is that if clothes suit the wearer, it is particularly irrelevant whether they are this year's fashion, or not.  Have you noticed how some older people choose to wear clothes they've kept from some decades previous, because they just feel and look right?  Nothing wrong with that!

    How did your search turn out, did you find/make what you were looking for?

     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    How did I miss this thread?! I second quite a few questions and thoughts here - did your pattern work out R?

    I love skirts as well, though it is really a challenge to find good one, I agree! Plus, I'm not really sewing at all these days, so I'd be interested in a good source for purchasing as well!

    I have a skirt story that I'm sure many of you can relate to. Here at wheaton labs base camp, we are on rocky, hilly ground. In spite the poor, shallow soil, I am always in wonder and joy at the wildflowers that erupt every spring.

    The arrowleaf balsamroot is my favorite:


    And here is a bit of a view of the steep, steep hillsides with the wildflowers:

    Not the best picture of the spring beauties, but I think you could imagine.

    So, on Mother's Day, 2014, I'm in one of my favorite cotton prairie skirts, clambering around the hillsides almost like chasing butterflies, going from one wildflower to the next, and then

    ~~~RIP~~~


    I'd stepped uphill, and tore right through the lace of the skirt.

    Heavy sigh. This was not the first time, or the last, that I've torn my lovely long skirts. Heavy sigh again.

    I prefer the long skirts, to cover not only my knees, but also my ankles (cough! cankles! cough!), though I think I need to switch to shorter skirts that won't catch and tear and trip me as much. Some times, I think my penchant for longs skirts makes me look like I belong to a church that requires them, and I'd like to look a bit more earth mama than that.

    Speaking of the "earth mama" look, I would really, really like organic fabric and natural dyes - gosh, you know, "slow cloth" ethics. Woo-eee! Try adding that to your searches, ladies!

    Here's one I'm currently coveting, because it just looks FUN, and would be a bit shorter, and is a bit more aligned with the fabrics and dyes I seek (even if my "cankles" would show):

    (source CircleCreations Estsy shop Forest Skirt)

    I'm also coveting the natural dyes and fabrics at https://gaiaconceptions.com/, though the prices are giving me another kind of coughing fit.

     
    Deb Rebel
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    Jocelyn, never worry about your cankles. Your leg is attached to your body, goes from hip to toes, and works. Be happy in the functionality of the limb and don't worry about what shows. Ever. They can either look or look away. (my philosophy with a 24 year post menopause body, bikini's, and swimming holes/pools/Jacuzzis).

    Sorry that you tore up a favorite skirt.

    Maybe for wildflower visiting you put on practical shorts, knee length skirt, and rock a righteous anklet?? (or two?)

    I found whether it is skirt, shorts or pants, you need a good fitting and comfortable WAIST with enough to not pull down and kill you under load. You get that and you can hang anything from it. So on skirt designs, especially cargo pocket skirts, maybe you need to select for that first. Or go to an over apron that is a utility apron with sides that allow 'out of the way' pockets and can be put on like a fanny pack and forgotten about. (I am working on a good pattern for this right now. I have a hellaciously expensive slab phone, my bud and techtoy--it does earn it's living though, and I like to keep it handy but out of the worst of what I'm doing outdoors...)

    I will share if one of my prototypes pleases me.
    [edit is to remove an emoji I invoked and didn't want]
     
    r ranson
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    I admit it, my project has gotten nowhere.  But I am really glad that this thread has been revived.  There's lots of inspiration here.  It's time to get back at it and make myself a perfect skirt. 
     
    Deb Rebel
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    R Ranson wrote:I admit it, my project has gotten nowhere.  But I am really glad that this thread has been revived.  There's lots of inspiration here.  It's time to get back at it and make myself a perfect skirt. 


    Or an apron accessory that goes with your 'perfect skirt'.

    I personally hate skirts because of bug and draft plus sticker/scratch issues and the fact that any mosquito within 3 miles considers me a delicacy... but I believe in a massively good apron no matter what the other garb is, for functionality, pockets, purse replacement, and pocket management. Good Luck.
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Here's hoping I didn't hijack your thread too much, R. All of the patterns and sewing tips are likely more what you were after. I hope to move into more of a DIY phase at some point, though am still purchasing a lot of things. :-/ What's probably the most likely for me, is trading my services (of some sort - food, bookkeeping, etc.) for the sewing services of another.

    Deb, there's a thread about the Roo Gardening Apron which has awesome pockets on the chest that my overly large smartphone fits in just beautifully. Maybe it would be inspiration for some DIY apron design.

     
    Deb Rebel
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    Jocelyn Campbell wrote:Here's hoping I didn't hijack your thread too much, R. All of the patterns and sewing tips are likely more what you were after. I hope to move into more of a DIY phase at some point, though am still purchasing a lot of things. :-/ What's probably the most likely for me, is trading my services (of some sort - food, bookkeeping, etc.) for the sewing services of another.

    Deb, there's a thread about the Roo Gardening Apron which has awesome pockets on the chest that my overly large smartphone fits in just beautifully. Maybe it would be inspiration for some DIY apron design.



    I have a 'few sentences and a fuzzy B&W picture' pattern for something similar from the 1950's and I made one for harvesting. Nothing wrong with having dedicated equipment like that for when you need it (I think it was originally meant for gathering clothespins but the picture showed the woman with several apples in it). Usually too when Harvest comes in it overwhelms all catch-items .....

    Nothing wrong with trading for sewing. I don't have an industrial sewing machine (about to get hands on three of them, they need rehab bad and one needs repair, then two need a home...) but a friend did. Spouse's insulated Carhartts needed 2" taken off the bottom. She had some slacks that had yet to be hemmed for her spouse (can we say 3 years, yes we can). So I went over and traded. She shortened the coveralls and I sat there and hemmed slacks. Her husband came by and seen us both busily sewing, me doing his pants and had to ask... and got the explanation-we traded tasks so they got done. Oh.

    A good work skirt should be a practical and comfortable length, fit on the waist and hips is important especially if you are swinging pockets that will be full of stuff, and do consider going to a sort of utility apron that goes over the skirt for your chore and pocket needs. Plus there is nothing wrong to have a wardrobe of specialty aprons to pop on over your skirt.

    Durable fabrics, one place to get cheap soft cotton canvas is the cheap canvas painting dropcloths sold at big box stores in the paint area.  Wash first and you may have a seam to contend with but it is my go-to to get a medium weight durable 'offwhite natural' for totes, aprons and more. You can dye it.

    A favorite skirt that is not so worn out it's a rag, can be used to make a pattern to make more. Get a roll of butcher paper (newspaper tends to be a little too fragile for this) and a nice big bed and a big box of long pins. Take the old skirt apart with a seam ripper carefully and note how it was put together. Cover the bed with the paper, taped together as needed. Put each piece onto the paper and smooth it out carefully, and skewer it to the bed with the pins. When you have it all flat and that, note where the seams were, trace around at that point. Mark which way the grain of the fabric went on the skirt piece. And anything else you may need to. If you need to alter for bigger/smaller/longer/shorter, do it now. Now take a ruler or even a strip of cardboard cut to the seam allowance you need (1/2 to 1") and use it to mark all the way around the piece you drew to add the allowance back. Now cut your paper to get your new pattern piece.

    Most skirts will be probably four pieces to the skirt part (front and back, two pieces each) and pockets, the waist band, facings, etc, maybe another eight pieces. This seems a pain, and without kids, cats, or the like can take all afternoon. But now you can make more of the same skirt.

    If you want to start with a workhorse style, go for an A-line. They are simple, easy to beef up the waist area, and add or modify pockets if you need. As the one picture showed there for cargo pockets, hang them on the side seam for the most structural strength for your garment. You  can even add a strip of webbing along the seam and sew the exterior pockets onto/over that to aid in keeping stuff from sagging or ripping out. Make it a design feature or do it on the inside along the seam.

    Again, I can't point to an exact pattern as I prefer shorts (I can bend over and a good stiff gust doesn't share my unmentionables with the world).
     
    Travis Johnson
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    Joycelyn, I too hope you can find freedom from worry about your appearance and dress.

    I am a guy, and I hope that does not distract you from the sympathy I have for anyone (male or female) who is self-conscientious. I say that because my wife, who does some modeling, has a dark side. That dark side is fear and I honestly hope no women get caught in the throes of that. In a nut shell she is very worried show will lose what she has. She HAS to work out, doing rigorous exercise programs at night when her family is in bed, when all she really wants is to go to bed herself. Or if she misses the night time workout, she does the next morning, but it must be done after the kids are on the bus, That is all well and good, but toss in some work out time, then a shower and half the morning is over before she can "start her day". What is this? Robbery of family time, yet it drives her.

    Myself, I am at a loss for words. I tell her all the time she is "beautiful" and she is, in many ways; in the ways of religion, as my best friend, and in looks as well. Sadly she will only point to her flaws and say, "yeah, really?". I don't see it, not for a 37 year old who gave birth to 3 children, the last 3 years ago. So I try another angle and point out all my flaws, to which she gets upset. I simply say, "see that is how I feel when you knock your own looks." It does no good. At one point I said, "No matter what I do, it doesn't matter, you don't believe me", an she simply said, "Don't ever stop saying how beautiful I am."

    I dated a woman one time who was older than me, was a former model and who had lost it. Sadly she spent her existence in the past, and trying desperately to what she still had. It was fleeting...

    On the eve of National Woman's Day (tomorrow), I hope you can see the merit in what I say. It is like me looking back on high school. I was never "cool" then, but if I could live my life over, it would be to go through high school knowing what I do now. IT DOES NOT MATTER. I would not try to conform, but just be me. I urge you to look at yourself like that...just be you, wear what is comfortable and realize there is no ideal size. Did you know in the 1980's a teen age girl was subjected to 200 images of what the media thought an ideal woman should look like? Today it is approaching 500 images a day. With 4 daughters of my own, how can my one voice say to all four of them and their mother, "You are beautiful"? It is a herculean challenge as a husband and father, but I must try!

    I have never seen you Jocelyn, but I feel I know you enough through your writing to say, "You are beautiful."

    Should this have been a private message? Perhaps, but it is something all women need to hear, and to husbands and fathers too.
     
    Deb Rebel
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    Travis I can commensurate. At one time I was cheesecake, and strong, and could eat anything just about. Now time hasn't been the kindest, I have been dealt some bad cards, and I do what I can. Makeup isn't an issue and neither is my hair style other than 'clean and not sticking straight out'. I work out some because of therapy, but my body has issues that no amount of hitting the gym will fix. I settle for things are clean, covered and it is working. And this was before I hit 37. That was the year that seemed to bug me for some reason.

    Your lady is a wife, she is a mother, and she needs 'me time'. Once she learns that, and that she is truly beautiful (especially to you), things will be better. Maybe it will be finding grey in a certain place. Or suddenly no matter what she does her body is betraying her. Work with your body.

    In my case, I have gone from the model figure to what I have and I have learned to slipcover it, and be happy. I understand it may be frustrating to you, but just support her in her choices. You mentioned 37, that was my watershed on moving on.


    As for clothing, I still advocate finding a basic A-line skirt and adapting it for this endeavor, and either a nice heavy linen if you can find it, denim, or even a light canvas (and line the top part with a nice cotton to keep it feeling good on you.)

    Having a good wide waistband that fits well and rides well is the most important in a utility skirt, especially if you want to hang those pockets of holding, and put the pockets on the side seam. Most A line skirts will be done in four to eight pieces, four to possibly six will give the easiest to sew and the best fit. Bums take room and your back of skirt, from sides back, will be wider and waist-to-hem will be longer because of the flair of your 'personal bumpers'. Even in dudes. Put elastic or gathers two inches behind the side seam across the back for the most 'give room for bum' and feels good and will ride well. I have to adjust 'donor jeans' for my spouse all the time and he says that feels the most comfortable to him, and I agree. As last resort do the two inches in front of the center seam to the center front as well. That leaves that patch for hanging weight over the hips and making it more comfortable.

    I have sewn several kilts off that New-Look pattern, and the differences in women to men is mostly a wider waistband, and a bit less dealing with bum padding. It still needs to hang above the hips properly. I am built more like a guy in that I have a thicker waist and smaller hips in proportion (thank you, Mom), so I tend to go for guys jeans, and a wider waistband.

    Right now I'm experimenting with a yoke, two shoulder to waist strips (front and back, join at side waist) and a sort of utility belt, with pockets. Not quite an apron but will take the weight of what's in the pockets and loops and take the cinching and stress off my waist. And modifying it for adding a harvest pocket/pouch in front. So all good things to come from a skirt.

    R Ransom, how is your quest going for the perfect skirt? DO update us (this post will also freshen this topic!!!)
     
    Valerie Collins
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    I love this thread. I've also been thinking of making some bohemian skirts and skirt pants from items found at thrift stores. I hate the way store bought clothes fit. Too big here, too tight there, and I'm no longer attractive in low waisted clothing. I will keep following this thread for further ideas and pics. I'll take a pic of the one I'd like to try and post it as well.
     
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