Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Easy breezy skirt sew along: What to do if your fabric isn't wide enough

This is a tangent from the easy breezy skirt sew along (use hashtag #easybreezyskirt on twitter, instagram, etc.). We'll design the pattern and prep the fabric tomorrow, but I just wanted to give a quick update on how to modify things if your fabric isn't wide enough.

I mentioned that you'll need fabric with a minimum width of Width=((waist+12)/π)+L)*√2 (L=your desired skirt length). Ideally, you want at least 9" extra for your waistband. 

If you can only find 44" wide fabric, this might be tricky.

Here are three alterations you can make alone or in combination to the formula and pattern:

  1. Shorten your skirt. Chances are you don't want to make it too much shorter than you planned, but see if an inch or so changes things and if that's a sacrifice you're willing to make. This is the easiest change.
  2. Lower the waistband of your skirt. Instead of making this skirt come up to your waist, wear it a little lower on your abdomen. This involves two changes. First, figure out where you'll wear your skirt. Measure around that point and substitute that in for the waist circumference in the pattern creation, for both the circle and the waistband pieces (which we'll design tomorrow). Then, adjust the length based on where you're wearing the skirt. For example, if you're wearing the skirt 4" lower (closer to your hips), then shorten the length by 4" to make the hem reach your desired length. The inner circle will be a little bit bigger, but the total necessary fabric width will be smaller.
  3. Decrease the amount of body in the skirt. If you look at the drawing of the skirt, you might be able to see pleats. There are two in the front and two in the back. I somewhat arbitrarily decided that I would add 12" total in the pleats. Well, you could take that number way down, all the way to 4," without totally changing the look of the skirt. Change the number 12 in the formulas to be a little bit smaller. Play around until you get it to fit.
Once you get your skirt to fit to the fabric width, you still have to deal with the waistband. The reason we need 9" of extra width is to fit the bow pieces—tomorrow you'll see that one is your waist circumference+6" long, and it's 3.75" tall (and there are two, hence 9" total). Unless you bought that much extra fabric in addition to your required length, you don't have a continuous piece of fabric that long. Make sure you have a fair amount of extra fabric (~20"), and I'll show you how to adjust your pattern layout to make the waistband work when we cut the fabric on Friday.

I messed up in my pattern design, so I ended up having to make these changes AFTER cutting the fabric out. I couldn't do #3, and I didn't want to do #2, so I ended up making a much shorter skirt than I had planned! Well, I'll wear it at the beach! With foresight, though, you can use a combination of these three things. Just figure out which numbers give you a necessary width that is smaller than your fabric width!

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