feminist skirt!

okay, this is probably my favorite out of all the sewing projects i’ve made so far:



a note on the above photo of me modeling my skirt: it is comically, hilariously bad. it’s like the kind of terrible photo that i hope gets used in a montage of photos of me if i die an untimely death, just to make the people at my funeral laugh. jared took it, continuing his reign of snapping dreadful photos of me. i was in the middle of art directing him & was halfway through blinking. but the skirt looks good!

the pattern is from “the essential A-line,” which is what i have used to make all my skirts so far. according to the pattern, i am between sizes. i did a lot of trial & error & ended up using the basic pattern to draft my own version based on my own measurements. now i have a whole wardrobe of skirts (nine so far) that fit perfectly. each skirt closes with an invisible zipper on the right side (i can now sew in an invisible zipper in my sleep) & is fully lined (i used hot pink cotton for this one).

this skirt was made from a wool blend that was on sale for 60% off. it would have been prohibitively expensive at full cost. it’s pretty thick, so i used bias tape to hem so i would only have to fold the hem over once, hence avoiding bulk. i opened up the bias tape & stitched it to the inside hem of the skirt. i turned up the hem, folded down the other side of the bias tape to cover the raw edge, & sewed. easy & attractive!

the applique is turned edge (obviously). i used this really cool alphabet fabric from a collection called “A is for…”. i fussy-cut each letter by turning the fabric to the wrong side & using a chalk pencil to draw a line where i wanted each letter to connect to its neighbor. then i added a quarter-inch seam allowance on either side of that line, save for the F & the T, which got 3/4-inch allowances because they would be at the ends of the applique. i added another 3/4-inch allowance at the tops & bottoms of each letter. i cut them out with a quilting ruler & rotary cutter. i sewed them all together patchwork style, ironed the seam allowances open, & sewed lightweight fusible interfacing to the top of the applique. i cut the interfacing open & pulled the cotton through. i used a chopstick to flatten out the corners & ironed. then i machine-stitched the whole thing to the skirt, curving it slightly to follow the line of the hem. i used a walking foot for this part because wool gets stretchy when it’s handled too much (like being run through a sewing machine with a regular zigzag foot). i used black thread so it would disappear into the fabric. & voila!

i really love the way this turned out. i told jared i’m going to wear this skirt everyday for the rest of the winter. it’s cozy, but the cotton lining prevents it from being itchy.

now i’m thinking about branching out & trying my hand at making a dress. i’m pretty nervous about making a bodice because i have a gigantic rack (as you can perhaps tell from the above photo). i mostly wear t-shirts & hoodies because fitted bodices (dresses, button-downs) never fit right. in addition to my boobs each being about as big as my head, i’m pretty short-torsoed, so the waist on tailored women’s clothing never falls where it’s meant to fall. but maybe i can address these issues if i’m sewing for myself. i’m anxious about the fact that it will likely involve altering an existing pattern to a certain degree, because i assume any pattern i use will be made for people with normal-sized boobs & a waist located in the usual spot. but maybe i can figure it out?

i have also been procrastinating on making a dress because ramona isn’t weaned yet & that means i am still pumping a couple of times a day. (i’ve got it down to just twice though.) when i’m wearing a dress, i seriously have to get half-undressed to hook up the pump. but we have ramona down to two bottles a day (nap & bedtime). we transitioned her to a sippy cup for breakfast & this morning gave her mostly cow milk. we dropped her lunchtime bottle a few weeks ago. i’m hoping to have her weaned completely by the time she’s around 18 months old (this spring). & then i can return my rental pump to the hospital & remain fully-clothed. which means i can wear a dress!

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

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