Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Skirting" the issue

A skirt is easy to make, you just need two measurements, right? WRONG. VERY WRONG!
Maybe that's true for some people, but definitely not for those who have curves in all dimensions. Case in point - consider my skirt muslin:
See how that side seam is crooked and the skirt hikes up in the back? This is a problem I have with all RTW skirts - and why I hardly ever wear them anymore. So you can see, if I can conquer the fit, I can fill a HUGE void in my wardrobe. I'm especially frustrated with this because I'm going home to visit my parents next month, and it's still more socially acceptable to wear skirts there. At this rate, however, I won't have a single skirt to take back with me.

I know the problems. I have a protruding stomach and protruding rear end. I also don't have enough "hippage" to match the curve of the side seam from waist to hip - something I have no clue how to remedy, and is an issue on the pants pattern I'm working with as well.
I don't look too amused do I? Honestly, I'm so frustrated, I feel like ripping the muslin to shreds. I have this same problem with A-line skirts. A long time ago I made two, and I just made the seam dip lower in the back so it "looked" level from far away. However, like this one, the side seam was angled backwards.
Okay, talking about it has made me upset again. I want to cry because I have soooo much fabric just waiting for me to crack the fitting code. I have so many garments in my mind, but reality is just too cruel.

More on my next dilemma - the evasive pants pattern - later.


  1. I know what you mean about these issues. I hate when a skirt I am wearing is dipping in the front. I pull them up. Since you are making one you could add a little length to the dress overall and/or add some width (a little to start off and see how much it can help and then work up from there if necessary) to the back center seam if there is one. Maybe move the darts closer to the center front and reshape them a little as well as making them a bit bigger.

    All that it needs is some shaping.

  2. I too had the same problem. I drew the hipline on my muslin and that helped as a visual reference point to get parallel with the floor. These are the changes I had to make to get my skirt muslin to hang straight:
    1) make sure there was enough width to go around my hips and behind which included enough ease so the skirt didn't pull in under my tummy at the front
    2) lowered the CF waist 3cm which enabled the CF to sit higher
    3) decreased the front dart width to 1.5cm as I have a protruding tummy and was getting excess fabric at the bottom of the front darts
    4) increased the back dart width to 4cm (you could even add a second dart to each side)
    5) straightened the sideseam curve as I only have a 20cm difference between my waist and hip

    It was a long and painful process but now I have a skirt block that fits and it has revolutionised my skirt sewing! I am currently using my skirt block to finalise my pant block and I am about 75% there using the same hip curve and waist/dart/hip ratio as my skirt.
    Good luck - email me if you have any questions :)

  3. Don't give up. You're making progress. It's disheartening to make a garment (even a muslin) and not have it fit. Ask me how I know. From the blogs I read, I'm guessing close to 90% of sewists have to make pattern corrections so you're not alone. I scrolled back and didn't see that you had any fitting books. Check your library and check out Zieman's Fitting Finesse or Fit for Real People or Nancy. There are great pictures and advice on all sorts of fitting issues. A friend recently recommended Wild Ginger Software to me because I'm having so much trouble fitting a sheath. They have a package called "Click N Sew" that's only $25. The added benefit is that once you make your fitting muslin, you send pictures to them and they help you tweak the pattern. I'm not finished yet, so I can't give it a full review, but it's really great having someone on the on the other end. Sewing is such a solitary undertaking and not many of us don't have real life friends who sew. Remember we're all out here cheering you on. You can do it!!

  4. Looks like to me you need to pull the skirt up in the front. I find that most people don't really know where their waist line is. Most people think that the waist is below the belly...not! Just because we gain belly fat doesn't mean our waistline moves. Tie a piece of elastic snuggly around your middle and then lean to the left and right. The elastic should settle at your natural waist. Remake your muslin (make the skirt longer than what you haveon in the picture) with the new waist measurement. Put on the skirt making sure the waist is where your natural waist was (where the elastic rested). Now mark where you really want to wear your skirt on the muslin and cut off the excess top. If you don't want it at your natural waist, make it a faced skirt or a skirt with a contoured waist. I hope this makes sense.

  5. You still don't live too far to come visit me. I'll help. I wish I could just jump into the computer to take your muslin and start altering. Then we can add the alterations onto the pattern and you'll be making skirts till the cows come home, or at least until you go home.

    You will do some of the same alterations to pants that you'll do to skirts. However, you'll still need to deal with the crotch curve.

  6. I have the same problem. What helped me was a workshop from Burda World of Fashion Magazine. If you join the

    Burda English yahoo group

    you can view the directions RisingHem.pdf look at the dark blue box on the left of the page. This is a great site even if you don’t plan to sew a Burda pattern.

    I blogged about it here

    Feel free to contact me at b.causeiwanna at gmail dot com

    CarlaF-in Atlanta

  7. Your muslin needs a little tweaking. First start with your measurements. Front waist, back waist, front hip and back hip. Also measure your waist 3 inches below and then measure across. This will tell you if your abdominal area is wider than your front waistTo these measurement add desire ease. Your CB needs to be 1-2 inches longer than than the CF and you taper off at the side seam. You may want to re-evaluate the shape of your darts. If you need more info send me an e-mail. Most important don't give up

  8. Hi Sewshy, I don't know how I missed this This is the same problem I used to have with my skirt. But what you need is about
    1" to 1.5" wedge from about 1" above the notch on the back pattern, and you fold about 0.5 to 1" wedge from the same place on the front pattern. If U look at this post that is how I solved the problem. I can send a pix of the pattern alteration to ur mail box to see how I did it... Have a lovely weekend

  9. I am reading the book "Fit for Real People" by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto and it talks about how to fix all of that! Maybe it could help!