Draped, pleated skirt

A woke up in a pre-dawn panic this morning.  I knew I was in a panic but I couldn't remember what about.  By the time I remembered, I couldn't go back to sleep, so I got up and finished this skirt and got some quick pics taken.  They are to my usual bodgy standard, and I wasn't going to show them to you.  I was trawling through those hundreds of self-timer photos trying to find one that was okay when I realised that the main problem was not the quality of the photos (although bodgy), but the quality of the skirt hem.  The exposure problems of dawn photography were highlighting the fact that my blind hem is not so blind and not particularly even.  So I returned to the sewing room trying to figure out how to fix it until I was left with only 10 minutes to make lunches and still no hem solution.  So here I am showing you the best of the bodgy photos.  I will tell you about the skirt and hopefully somebody can help me out with the hem.

The pattern:  Vogue 8455, given to me by a friend.  I think it may be discontinued now.  It is a mock wrap skirt with assymmetrical pleats in the front panels.  I shortened the pattern by 6 - 7 cm and tapered the side seams in 2 - 3 cm at the hem.

The fabric:  Initially I bought this silk charmeuse on-line to make a slip.  It is a gorgeous fabric and drapes beautifully vertically, but did weird things when I draped it on the bias, making it not so suitable for the slip I had in mind.  It frays dreadfully in the vertical threads but not so bad horizontally.

People often ask me how I go buying fabrics without seeing and feeling them first.  I reckon I have about a 70% hit rate of the fabric turning up as I expected.  The other times it may be a different weight, or drape differently or maybe just be not the right colour or be a fabric type that I have never seen before.  However, because I buy from good suppliers, (Tessuti and EmmaOneSock are my favourites), the fabric is almost always great and I just add it to my stash for a later project.  I need a stash because the fabric available locally is so limited.  Probably as many times as I am disappointed I receive a fabric that is so much better than I was expecting that I can't stop smiling for hours.  So this fabric was one of my "misses", but the other good thing about buying on-line, is that often I end up with fabrics that I wouldn't necessarily choose in a shop but ones that I love anyhow.

The pattern called for a narrow hem.  I don't think that a narrow hem would work for this fabric unles the hem was cut perfectly cross-grain, and being pretty slippery and already sewn into a skirt, I can't see me cutting straight enough to end up with a narrow hem that wasn't rippled.  I don't have any farbric left over, so I can't make a bias binding faced hem.  I went with a blind hem.  The hem depth is about 6 cm, which is a little tricky to turn up on a tapered skirt.  Only the blind hem is not so blind, even though I have pressed it.  So does anybody have any other suggestions for a hem technique?  Perhaps I could just re-do the hem with a finer needle?

Anyway, if anybody is interested, the tops are reviewed here and here.  That's the other fun part about unplanned fabrics...trying to work the finished garment into my wardrobe.


  1. Totally with you about working garments into a wardrobe. I am looking at my stash thinking how on earn do I develop a coordinated wardrobe with cohesive style from the mish-mash of fabulous fabrics I have.

  2. I think your photos look great - very fashion magaziney. I think you may find the hem easier to do if it's not so deep, maybe try measuring and marking a straight line with bright coloured thread first if you are nervous about cutting it wonky.

  3. I love the skirt but the hem isn't working. when you say a blind hem, I assume it is by machine. Will I say something mortifying if I suggest hand sewing the hem? I probably wouldn't make it so deep either.

  4. I blind stitch hem by machine all time and have for years as it is a great hemming technique. The hem of your skirt is too deep and the weight is pulling on the hem stitching. I would go no deeper than 1" and loosen the needle tension a bit. Also, keep the fabric taut as you stitch the hem and press the hem up before pinning and stitching. Pinning every couple of inches helps keep the fabric from shifting and distorting the hem. I often use machine embroidery thread in the needle. Practice and test before hemming each garment.

  5. Charmeuse is a PITA to hem in my limited experience. I admit to doing it by hand, as I have not yet managed a satisfactory result by maching.
    Your internet shopping experience sounds like mine - similar lack of local shops I expect! Mostly the fabric is very good, even if not exactly what I expect, but there are a few thin knits I am not sure how to use yet.

  6. Well you've managed to pull together two great looks even if the fabric came as a surprise. It looks like the fabric has a bit of bounce in it and too light to hang obediently - in such situations I would 1) line the skirt to give it more body and weight and 2) neaten the edges and hand stitch a narrow hem IF 3) I could be bothered. At any rate we all seem to be in agreement that a narrower hem will be easier to control.
    I'm also thinking about a Thread's article where the hem is interfaced with some kind of mesh to provide more structure and then catch-stitched.

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  8. thank you very much for these tips! I managed to make the pattern that I got ... I stayed very nice, really helped me a lot in my work!
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