finished: working skirt

I’ve brought the good sewing machine from the city to the cabin. It sews like a dream. Tension is perfect. Still a foot threadle, ofcourse.
As I somehow dread to continue with the toile for the basic sheat dress which will give me at least five dresses for the winter season…. I made a bag and a new working skirt.

My skirt is from sturdy cotton (“keper katoen”, a sturdy twill cotton) and I made one five years ago which I still use. But it’s at its end now. Full of stains and ‘cat love’ (she claws at it with her nails when she’s happy. It’s ok, it’s a working skirt. I usually wear a half woolen tight under it and her sharp claws don’t hurt me. That’s how sturdy this cotton is.)

I used my working dress as a template for the new one. I had some of the same fabric left.
Can you believe that used to be the same colour?

The top has a red ribbon and I just went over it a few times with the machine. I really had no idea back then. The center back zipper is curved outward here but when I wear it it curves inward, following my own curves.

Here’s a look at the inside. Even though I did not secure the seams they did not ravel irritably.
I cut around it, allowing a seam allowance. On the left the zipper I’m going to use. It is a contrasting colour but I’d rather use a zipper I have than a zipper of wrong length or having to go out and get one. Often I salvage zippers from garments that I throw out. Most of the garments I throw out cannot be reused, they are dead.

Back then I did not know about bias. That is why this time the skirt cannot be cut in one piece.
That’s ok. I tried it on for difference in size and I actually don’t need the wide skirt my former working skirt has. I can easily use the less wider skirt.

Here’s the difference in width. And a sneak peak in how I finished my seams all those years ago:
For the hem I just folded it over and then sewed a red ribbon to it.

This skirt has seen some serious wear! I felted dirty sheep fleeces in it; sawed trees in it; sat on all kinds of surfaces with it. I never once felt bothered by making it dirty or exposing it to all kinds of abuse. This is a working skirt. I love it. I also love that I gave it a red ribbon, it is a small everyday pleasure.

It’s only this week that this skirt has truely met its end. I was felting bright pink en bright orange wool and the dye was not properly set. It made stains on my skirt.

Well, having cut the skirt I sewed shut the center back seam. I clipped the waistband so it would fold over nice. Then I put in the zipper.

I used the special zipper foot my machine has. Wonderful tool.
I took special care to finish everything neatly.

The waist band I folded over, to the right side. I then masked the raw edge with a nice woven band.
This band comes from Marken, a Dutch town known for its historic dress. Just like Volendam. Only different. I bought it there, on a day celebrating its traditions.
This band is used for people who have lost a distant relative. It’s colours are half dark, indicating ‘half mourning’.

I finished it neatly. Now all that was left was to finish the hem. But first: try it on.

It didn’t fit….

With all the years of wearing and perhaps being cut on the bias, the fabric must have been distorted. The center back was way too high. The zipper bulked up in the small of my back, it looked awful!

The zipper had to come out and the waistband had to be cut…
On the right you can see how neatly I had worked *snif*
On the left you see how much debris tearing out a seam leaves. I decided to pluck away all those little threads. Because tearing out is bad enough, I don’t need all those little reminders making my work surface look cluttered.

This is how much I had to cut away to have the waist band follow my waist!
The pins show the line. The whole dress is laying flat, you can see the front band peaking through the zipper slit. That center back is ridiculously high! No wonder it sat all weird and bulgy.
At least I feel somewhat good reworking this without all the little cut threads from the previous photo still hanging around. Like a fresh, new slate.

I cut the fabric, reworked the zipper and the seam and the edge and the ribbon. This time there was not enough ribbon but this is a working skirt, the top will be hidden under my shirts so I don’t mind how this looks. The ribbon is mostly for my own pleasure. A little wave hello when I put on the skirt. And some reinforcement for this somewhat stretchy fabric.
The zipper looks alright.

The inside. At least the back is now in line with the front (a little nudge of it is peaking out).
It has more loose threads hanging now as before. That’s a nuisance as they get caught in the zipper. I could thread them through the fabric and hide them. But I don’t feel like finishing that task at the moment.

I worked the hem as follows: fold over to the right side and sew in place with biastape. All in one go:

Sew a line at the top of the biasband. Finished.

The inside. Not very pretty but functional enough.

I expect many years pleasure from this skirt.


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