Friday, October 30, 2015

FO: EnCircled in Kitties Skirt

I finished this make weeks ago, but only just was able to photograph it. Halloween is a seriously busy time for a sewist! Anyway, I set out to make this skirt, and here it is! 
This is my entry for the Put a Cat on It Sew Along hosted by Cindy of Cation Designs. As soon as I saw the announcement, I knew it would be a great kick in the pants to make something with this fabric I scored back in July for a sweet deal. It's from Gertie's spring fabric line at Joann's (still available here) and it was marked way down on the 4th of July. I snatched up 2 yards figuring I would make some type of skirt. I kept with that idea, but decided to add a first to the project and make a circle skirt.
I've never made a circle skirt before, can you believe it? I'd read other people's success with the By Hand London Circle Skirt Calculator, and seeing as I hate math with a passion I decided to let this handy app do the math for me :) I just plugged in my measurements, clicked full circle skirt, and put how long I wanted it to be. Boom! Skirt pattern given. No muss, no fuss. I knew I wanted to have a curved waistband, so I did change the waist measurement to slightly wider than my waist to accommodate the angle of the waistband and that worked out well. The calculator shows a picture of your fabric and tells you how far down from the edge to cut your waist, then how much farther than that to cut your hemline. You use the folded corner of the fabric as the point you base all these measurements from, slowly angling around the edge and marking the spot to be joined later on to make your pattern piece. My pattern required that I cut two half circles and seam them together at the side seams. Considering the fabric is a dobby chiffon, I french seamed both sides, even with the zipper insertion (there's a great tutorial on how to do this here). I also drafted a curved waistband using Sunny's tutorial here.

So, what's the best part about a circle skirt? 
The swish effect! I don't know that I've ever owned a circle skirt before, at least not a full one, and this baby is delightfully swishy. I had quite a fun time getting a decent swish photo. I kind of want to twirl the whole time I wear this though.
The fabric is light, but it's also fairly see through. It has a gingham-like underpatterning going on and the squares are more sheer than the rest of the fabric. Considering this along with the fact that circle skirts are notoriously dangerous for flashing incidents in strong winds, I decided to line it with a gray 1/4 circle skirt. I figured the 1/4 circle wouldn't be able to open up so much if the wind caught it, giving me hope that I will be a bit more concealed in such an event :) I used a very odd fabric that I've had for ages that was so cheap I can't even remember properly (something like $0.38 a yard). I had no idea what the stuff was at the time, but the more I've handled it, the more it reminds me of window black out lining. I don't think it is, but it's reminiscent. Anyway, it's weird stuff. It wrinkles if you look at it wrong. Good thing it's on the inside!
My photo area was not conducive to a full body photo, but I had to document my full outfit on the lovely Bernadette here. I just wore a plain mock turtleneck t-shirt so that I could show off one of my favorite pieces of vintage jewelry - a hand painted kitty cat portrait! I don't normally post about my jewelry online (mostly due to paranoia), but seriously this little guy just had to be shared with like minded cat lovers. It's 80% silver, which means it is probably from somewhere in Eastern Europe and it's dated in the first third of the 20th century. Isn't he just precious?! My nephew named him Mr. Pettybone out of the blue when I distracted him from a minor toddler injury one day by showing it to him. We all thought he was some creative genius for coming up with such a random name, but we found out that's the name of Goofy's cat on Mickey Mouse Club (his favorite show). So child genius he may no be, but he's got a good memory! lol Anyway, I just love this necklace and look for any excuse to wear it and contemplate the circumstances of it's creation. Was this a custom portrait of a beloved cat to be cherished always, or just a generic cute kitty for sale en mass? Maybe someday we will find out ...
Details! I'm ridiculously proud of my invisible zipper insertion on this skirt. I stabilized the opening with knit stay tape, sewed the zip in the main fabric, then sewed the lining to the zipper tape. I've done this a few times now thanks to Sunny's Free Craftsy Class and it just looks better and better each time. So professional looking! I love how it hides all the messy innards. I also love how cleanly the seam sits under the zipper considering I was winging it with an online tutorial to put a French seam there. Once I was ready to hem the skirt, I had a notion. I have an entire bolt of this narrow lace trim that was given to me when someone's grandma died or some such time. I've never used any of it, and I figured the lace could also help hide a not so perfect narrow rolled hem since this fabric was so flowy and I was afraid it would not cooperate fully (spoiler - I was right). I tried a little on the hem and I liked the result so I just kept going. I did a narrow rolled hem completely around first, then top stitched the lace over the edge, then went back and zig zag stitched over it again just to make sure it was nice and secure. I finished the lining with a narrow rolled hem as well (much more cooperative). And look at those lovey kitties and flowers! If you can't use a lace trim on a fabric like this, then when can you? I love how the lace adds body to the hem too - a win win all round. 
Now for the one unfortunate confession - My waistband is wonky! I was super careful with the kitty fabric to stay stitch around all the curved edges since I knew it would be really prone to stretch out with all that exposed bias, but I did not even think about it for the lining. Guess what happened? The lining pieces stretched out :/ Ugh! It's so frustrating that such a stupid little thing can do so much harm to a project, isn't it? I can't wait til I have enough experience that I don't make such mistakes as often. When it came time to finish things off, I had to shorten the lining considerably just to get an even hem, then I had to sort of fudge connecting the main fabric and the lining at the waistband. I couldn't stitch in the ditch like I originally wanted to because it would have lead to a huge bunch up that I couldn't help. Instead I tried adding clear elastic to the waist seam to pull things in, then just periodically stitching in the ditch to sort of ease the stretched excess in. It didn't work completely though and I ended up with some bunching at the side seam. Ah well, I never tuck shirts in anyway, so I know it will still get worn. I certainly learned my lesson for the next circle skirt though!
So, there you have it: the girliest thing I've ever made, lol.I may poke fun, but I really do like how this came out and I'm sure it will be a fun conversation piece when I wear it. Those kitties just make me seem like I must be a nice person to be wearing them, don't you think so? Hugging kitties + pink flowers + gingham + chiffon +full circle skirt + frilly lace trim = cuteness overload in a socially acceptable way. I can't wait to tell random strangers that I made it myself and watch their incredulous faces! Thanks Cindy for having such a fun sew along and helping me bring more cat-wear into my life :) This makes my second cat skirt for the year and I'm not sure if that means it's a good or a bad sign, lol. At least it's been fun in some ways!
And here's my Daisy cat :) We took her in two years ago when some neighbors abandoned her. She's an old girl (the vet guessed over 7 years old at the time), but she's been the best and sweetest cat I've ever been around. She even loves our corgi, Gordo (it's a mutual affection, and it's so cute). Thanks, Daisy, for being such a good friend that can always be relied on for cuddles when I'm feeling down.

Fabric: 2 yards of Gertie Collection Poly Dobby Chiffon Kitty Fabric - $10.20, 1.5 yards weird gray lining - Free
Pattern: Circle Skirt Calculator from By Hand London, Contoured Waistband Tutorial from A Fashionable Stitch, French Seams on Invisible Zipper by Compulsive Seamstress - All Free
Notions: 9" invisible zipper - $1.50, fusible interfacing - $0.75, thread - $0.75, clear elastic, hook and eye
Hours: 5 including drafting
Total Cost: $ 13.20


  1. Cute skirt ( of course it is- its full of kitties!)and Daisy is adorable! My ginger boy, Oliver, is about 8 years old, I got him when he was 5 from the SPCA. They may be older but they are still awesome and have lots of love to give!

    1. Thanks Marike! I completely agree with you on older cats - Daisy has been the best behaved cat and most loving by far. She's nice and sedate which works great for me, lol.


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