Monday, February 15, 2016

Snowflake Outfit: The Skirts

As I mentioned in the last post, the snowflake over-skirt was the beginning of this whole outfit.

I used a snowflake from one of the inspiration snowflake ballerina posts, scaled up to be a total of 42" across, with a circle for a 20.5" waist in the middle... and I added a small seam allowance inside the circle so I'd have something to sew the waistband to. I printed half of it out across a whole lot of paper, taped the pieces together and cut everything out, then traced it onto my folded felt with a washable marker. Then I used a combination of rotary cutter and scissors to cut the felt.

  I ended up not cutting the smallest pieces, but I wish I had!

  I used glittery waistband elastic from JoAnn's for the waist, and since it was sewed to non-stretchy felt, folded the edges under and added a pretty crystal-look button with a loop.

  Although I like how this turned out, there are a few things I would do differently. First, I'd look for a stiffer fabric... this felt was the stiffest (and most expensive) sold at JoAnn's, and it' is still just too drapey. I chose felt to begin with because I wasn't prepared to spent a lot of time finishing all of the edges on something that will probably only be worn once, but can you imagine this in taffeta with cutwork embroidery?!

  Next, I'd probably add small connections between the openings to help everything hold its shape better, especially in the deep cuts along the edges.

  And finally, I'd make the button-loop out of non-stretch cording, or a thread loop. Or maybe I'd just leave the openings fully open, instead of closed at the top, so I could leave the button and loop off entirely.

  The skirt underneath was originally meant to be a tutu, but I didn't have nearly enough tulle. (Which is because this was all that was left on the bolt at the store.)

  So instead it's a satin skirt, very tightly gathered, with an even more tightly gathered tulle layer atop it, and a satin elastic waistband. All of the gathers made the waistband a bit ripply at the bottom, but I did figure out that using Mary Ellen's Best Press helps even this cheap costume satin to crease nicely!

  The only satin and tulle available were slightly different shades, which really bothered me at first, but now that it's sewn I love the depth that it adds. I used a wide French seam on the satin and just overlapped the tulle edges slightly.

  Even though it's not a full tutu like I first imagined, I really love how this turned out, and think it's perfect without the over-skirt! This is a piece that will probably get worn regularly. I'd still like a fuller skirt for under the snowflake piece though!

  Because the snowflake looked really sad without the volume of a full tutu under it, I ended up slapping together a hoopskirt with the leftover felt. I cut a 3/4 circle skirt (which is all I could fit on the remaining felt), abutted the edges and zig-zagged them together, then sewed some plastic boning in a casing that I had on hand to the bottom. I'm not particularly happy with this though. It turns out that the boning doesn't work well on a curved hem, and wants to twist, so it doesn't stand out as stiffly as it would along a straight hem.

  I left most of the edges raw on this, with a slit at the center back. The waist is enclosed in fold-over-elastic to add stability, and has a button and loop:

  If I were to make a hoopskirt again, first I'd make it out of a better material. The felt was the only white I had on hand that I was willing to sacrifice for a garment that would be worn only for dress-up, but it's heavy and too warm. I'd probably choose a lightweight cotton for something that would see more use. Next, I'd do a closely fitting deep yoke with a full rectangular ruffle to attach the boning to, instead of any curved shape. I'd also cut it two inches shorter than the garment it was meant to be worn under, instead of a half-inch, since it's peeking out in most of the photos. It still helped, and was absolutely necessary to the finished outfit, but the way it buckles in places made it harder to deal with!

  Details on the shirt are coming up next. =)

Thanks for stopping by,



  1. I think the satin underneath the tutu is awesome. Tulle can be scratchy and the satin is soft. I agree that slightly different shades makes the color richer. I made the tutu from the Oliver + S book once and it calls for 5 lengths of tulle. I used 5 different colors and it makes the finished tutu look so much better.

    I am so with you on the not wanting to use my best material for something that will only be used as a costume!

    And I said it before but I love that snowflake overskirt. I'm going to keep that idea in mind...

    1. I definitely prefer lined tutus! Ooh, 5 different colors would have some amazing richness!
      I think it could look really cool to applique a snowflake onto a circle skirt too... a bit of a different style but possibly more wearable for everyday. =)

  2. I think that interfacing a white fabric would have worked for the snowflake, too. There is a really stiff interfacing that you can get for collars- I used it once a long time ago for a satin cape collar. This is still a beautiful skirt! A petticoat underneath the tulle skirt would make it more full, too. I am going to attempt one of those soon!

    1. Hmm, I didn't think of interfacing! That probably would work well! I even have some very stiff stuff that I bought years ago and never used.
      Have fun with that petticoat! Are you planning on gathering by hand or using a ruffling foot?