Wednesday, April 25, 2012

An Apple a Day, Part 1

I knew that I was going to make a skirt version of my Ceil Chapman Gown at some point.  I had hoped to find the perfect light-weight wool (and perhaps I will at some point).  But since wool skirt weather has passed for the time being, I decided that a novelty cotton print would be a whole lot of fun, and not too expensive.

Take away the bodice, and this pattern is not very complicated – just a fabulous design by Ms. Ceil Chapman. 

However, you should be warned, if you do not have a large cutting space, run away from this pattern immediately.  One side of the skirt, alone, is too big for my cutting mat.  Ridiculous, right?!

When the Sew Weekly Circle Skirt Challenge came along, I knew exactly what I wanted to make.  Yes, this is not technically a circle skirt (it is actually more than a complete circle) and the scallops are an extra feature that adds something special, but it looks like one, right?!

When I found this apple print at, I was very pleased.  

And apples go wonderfully with gingham - but I was a bit concerned that I would not be able to find a suitable red and white cotton gingham.  It is a bit embarrassing to admit, but I found my fabric in one of my cotton stash drawers.  Yes, I admit, I have a problem – I had completely forgotten the existence of the remnant from an apron that was given as a gift.  Too much fabric have I!

But I did remember to clip my scallops!  Obviously, a concave curve requires that little triangular pieces get cut out, or the seam will not lay flat.  Something I often forget is that a convex curve also requires a bit of fabric removal, or that extra bit will cause irritating bumps to form when the outer edge has to fit inside a smaller curve.  Depending on fabric choice, it may not be a huge deal, or may cause endless frustration.  Funny how all those tedious fabric techniques really work wonders!

I must say that irons are truly the miracle sewing aid.  Just take a look at a before and after shot (and I now realize it does not quite have the same effect in a photo, but I promise in person, it looks 100% better).  People are always discussing what sewing accoutrement they cannot do without.  My desert island choice would have to be the iron, along with a working electrical outlet, and the sewing machine.  Without one, these scallops look sad.  After a quick press, they make me smile. 

I tried something a bit different with the waistband this time around.  The addition of some plastic boning placed vertically across the fabric really helps keep it from folding over throughout the day.  

To keep the sewn channels from showing through, and for a bit more added stability, I attached the boning to an extra layer of underlining.  That underlining was then basted to my fabric waistband, at which point I sewed the lining piece to the top edge and under-stitched.

So I finally found a use for that small package of plastic boning that I thought I would never use.  In small doses it really is bearable (and so much more washable than its steel counterpart).

Picnic perfect, don’t ya think?


  1. That fabric has to be the cutest thing I've ever seen! Seeing the pieces go together so nicely here is somehow really satisfying. (No doubt because you did it and not me!)
    The first time I realized the difference in the treatment of inner and outer curves was a real revelation for me, it makes a tremendous difference!
    I'm really looking forward to seeing this adorable skirt all finished up.

  2. This fabric is adorable! I love seeing your in progress pictures. :]

  3. This will be so cute! And lordy, I just looked at your Ceil Chapman Gown - it's AMAZING! So so beautiful :)

  4. I have yet to sew scallops. They seem so terrifying...but you, you are a lean mean sewing machine!