Saturday, July 9, 2016

Bias skirt in denim eyelet

This summer I have eyelet on the brain. After all, it can get really hot here in my little corner of the bay area - like 110˚F hot. Although thankfully that is only once in a while. But we like our clothing with built in air-conditioning. OK - slight exaggeration but now that I have started I am on an eyelet kick and have 2 more items in the sewing queue. The first was this top and now I have made a skirt - also for my friend Alice - in this really cool denim eyelet fabric.

skirt denim eyelet front

A few weeks ago we went over to Stone Mountain Fabric in Berkeley and we both loved this unusual fabric. It is not really eyelet in that it doesn't have any thread or embroidery creating the holes, but instead is just perforated and I suppose washed/tumbled to create the texture. It also has the color variation, like a bleach effect so it looks a little bit tie-dyed, although not exactly. Whatever it is I really like it which is a good thing as I now have plenty of this fabric and will make myself a skirt too.

denim eyelet hemline

Why do I have plenty of fabric? Because I created a pattern for Alice's skirt and then realized we hadn't bought enough fabric. When we were at the store she said it would be great for a skirt and how much to buy? 60" wide so I said oh, 1 to 1.25 yards or so would be fine. I think the piece was around 1.2 yards after I gave it a good wash and shrink. Seemed like plenty for a skirt.

Then she brought over this skirt which is a Banana Republic linen bias cut skirt and said how about making a copy of this? Seemed like a good match for this fabric so I got started making a pattern from this linen skirt.

original linen bias skirt

It is really simple, just four panels that are all the same. Cut on the bias which gives the skirt a bit of movement and a nice fit around the hip and waist.

First step is to find the grain line which in linen is thankfully very easy. I do a thread trace along the grain line and that gives me the bias line for the pattern piece. Of course this skirt has been worn and washed plenty of times, softening up and probably distorting the sections a bit but you have to start somewhere.

thread bias line

I then traced the skirt section and then cleaned it up, folding it in half, balancing each side of the fold, measuring the upper edge and comparing to the sections of the finished skirt. I find bias garments give you a bit more leeway with exactitude - something like this with only 4 pieces  - all the same, will fit together just fine.
I copied the waistband by tracing also, and then added 5/8" seam allowances to the upper and lower edges of the waistband but added 1" seam allowances to the skirt pieces and the waistband side seams.. Just for fit insurance on the skirt.

Here is my final pattern. Now that is an easy pattern to store away :) The waistband is cut on the straight grain and then the skirt is cut on the bias, 4 of that piece. You can see I added more bias lines so I could easily place it on the fabric any which way to cut out. Which works on this fabric as there is no real pattern. In something more uniform you would want to lay them all out more carefully.

pattern piece bias skirt

Getting back to the question of enough fabric. So I got my pre-shrunk fabric out and started laying out the pattern pieces and determined I was short on fabric by about 6 inches. Aargh! Things cut on the bias tend to be fabric hogs and then things with that tulip skirt effect also tend to use up a lot of fabric so the combo here meant I needed about 1.5 yards to make this skirt. As she had mentioned she didn't want it any shorter - in fact wanted it to be about 2 inches longer than the original.

So I made a quick phone call to Stone Mountain and asked if they still had any of this fabric - which fortunately is so distinctive that the person who answered the phone knew exactly what I was talking about. A quick trip over there - I bought 2 yards just to be safe and now I have the fabric remaining from this skirt plus our original 1+ yard which I didn't even use so I think a skirt for me is in the works :)  I was thinking of using this pattern and adjusting for my size but I think I will reuse this pattern: (Vogue 1170 Rachel Comey skirt) and add the pockets which in my mind this pattern is lacking.

All's well that ends well on the fabric front and then it was super quick to sew up this skirt. Here's a look at the waistband, with the waistband facing that I have under stitched so it will roll inwards. Her original linen skirt had a lining but we decided that this one can go without. You can't see through the holes at all so it doesn't really need it. For the waistband I knew it needed some support of interfacing but I didn't want to use fusible or even silk organza (which would have worked fine) but I wanted to use a cotton that had the same feeling as this denim fabric so when it was washed/dried it would behave similarly. I had some grey cotton voile in my stash so that turned out to work perfectly and it disappears behind the perforations.

waistband seam

Invisible zipper in the side seam as in the original linen skirt, the zipper goes all the way up to the top of the waistband which gives a nice sleek finish. I serged all the edges of the skirt pieces since this fabric will certainly fray like any denim.  I find it tricky to get an invisible zipper perfectly even and smooth at the top of a skirt like this - perhaps not 100% successful, but let's call it 95% successful and  wearable :)

side seam zip        denim eyelet zipper

Here is the back view, not that there is much difference however I sewed it with the idea that the zipper would be on the left side. And the fabric on the back seemed slightly more stripey than the pieces that became the front, not that anyone would notice.

denim eyelet skirt back

So that's my idea of an easy summer project - just two pattern pieces + something sort of denim = great summer skirt.

Up next, more tunic tops, now that I have found the perfect pattern I have lots of ideas for modification to change it up. I have a couple of great fabrics from My Fabric Designs that need to be sewn up so that will probably be next.

Have a great weekend and happy sewing, 

for today's garden photo, some cute pansies that are hanging in there, a gladiola that grew sideways but looks great next to those purples and a penstemon that refuses to bloom.  flowers June 2016


  1. Love those eyelet fabrics and the blouse and now this skirt look so wonderfully summery. Just turned summer hot here on the East coast so any "air-conditioning" greatly appreciated. I like the use of the bias on that four panel skirt. You are reminding me of a Burda skirt pattern that I used maybe seven or eight years ago. Feminine because of the flair but nicely fitting because of the bias panels.

  2. What interesting fabric! Love the skirt!

  3. The fabric is what makes this skirt so wonderful! I'm sure your friend Alice will enjoy her new skirt. Can't wait to see your skirt from this awesome fabric.

  4. Lovely skirt! I also have something for eyelet fabric, I have a few pieces in my stash and still looking for the perfect pattern :)...I don`t now what to make :)

  5. Love this skirt! I once tried to copy a similar skirt that I owned, but it was made from t-shirt-soft cotton. I had no clue about finding the grain, etc., and the skirt I made was way too small...I guess because I didn't truly cut it on the bias! I learn so much from your posts!! Thanks :-)

  6. Hi Beth. I ´m living in Belgium and it's always a pleasure for me to read your posts. I speak french so, I try to do my best in english �� . I really like the pattern you created for the denim skirt. I was wondering whether I could use New look 6346 to get a similar skirt. I thank you very much in advance. Mary

    1. Hi and thanks for reading! Yes I think that New Look 6346 would give you a very similar look. great idea.