Inspiration started with the sumptuous velvet! It started life as a large scarf. Then I spotted the wool skirt with a lilac tone in and envisaged with wool cummerbund due to the lilac/beige colour harmony.
Floral voile insets also chosen for colour harmony. An experimentation challenge with ‘V’ shaped cummerbund (lined) and cutting skirt sections to hang from the diagonal.
‘Plum Velvet’ Skirt No. 1 has 4 small triangular inserts, forming a fully circular skirt (great for dancing), and dark butterfly print hem frill.
‘Plum Velvet’Skirt No. 2 has 2 triangular insets front and back and cream frill.
‘Plum Velvet’ Skirt No. 3 is made of many flared lilac and beige pieces (photo not showing).
‘Plum Velvet’ skirt No. 2 side insertion of invisible zip.
The velvet was cut to allow for 8 pieces, 4 in each skirt,
(2 back, 2 front). Velvet piece positioned to cummerbund
on dummy, gathered, using straight edge, allow to hang,
then cut straight hem at base. Remove and cut 3 more for
Once they were all cut, I placed the second group of
4 velvet pieces the other way up, i.e. placing the bias
along the cummerbund edge, allowing the straight edge to
become the hem. (It was necessary to use straight edge to
begin with to allow natural fall before cutting
fabric at hem).
Below are two pieces after cutting shapes (from hanging
on dummy), laid out with triangle gap, to cut inserts out.
Cutting triangle insert for velvet front backs.
Triangle inset: lace detail (strip cut from blouse)
is stretched with zig-zag stitching to make flared
edge then machined to inset side.
Then join inset to main skirt part:either zig-zag on
top of right side or make seam with right sides
together then press flat well.
Machining right sides together, joining inset to velvet
Cummerbund front and back - cut and darted.
Measure your waist or dropped waist above hip,
at position required: (e.g. 26") then allow
1.5 inches extra for waist darts on each piece,
(which allows for dart take-up). Machine, press.
Lining also cut on bias and darted.
Iron-on interfacing won't need darts if just 2
inches deep. Lay on and cut curved shapes.
Machine half inch at waist. Clip waist.
Press lining inwards leaving seam space for
closed side and zipped side. Finnish waist machine
line into fold/seam edge point of lining fold.
Snip inside waist top seams including stiffening.
Machine both side seams along wool seam and
lining seam all in one go.
Press seam flat, (snip waist seams as above),
then fold lining inwards and steam-press flat.
Cummerbund lining pressed inside. One side
left open for zip when skirt
section is attached.
Velvet and insets skirt section all joined:
ready to pin and tack to cummerbund,
tacking before machining.
All skirt sections joined. Top of lace strips are
folded in and excess cut off, then machined
down while top-stitching with zig-zag
around inserts to avoid bulky seams.
Hand gather between pins, after positioning
velvet to cummerbund, right sides together.
Machine along gather line,
removing pins as you go.
Zig-zagging hem, pulling slightly,
to create slight flare.
Attaching frill behind skirt(underside view):
Join strips of satin, silk, or polyester lining
fabric (best cut on bias) twice length needed.
Press over top edge quarter inch,
pin to inside of skirt, half inch above hem.
Zig-zag machine frill to skirt,removing pins as you go.
Zig-zag frill hem from front.
When I coordinate found fabrics to recycle together into a new look garment, I enjoy imagining a new decorative design with them; to contrast with the many plain cottons and linens I use. Hand painting designs on silk is the obvious solution, taking inspiration from the existing colours and any print coordinated with the plains. I was busting to get back to silk painting which I’d developed as a technique in my first Devon workshop back in 1995!
When designing, one has to start from somewhere; taking a few elements and putting them together. I began again, exactly where I had left off, with the inspirations I’d had for the last paint on paper furnishing design I’d done. I’ve always been intrigued by Native American design and recently found images of abstract bird designs of the Hopi Indians applied to pottery. They reached a height of decorative abstraction, distorting their bird designs to fit over any curved pottery surface; a brilliant applied design.
I have kept these ‘curved’ surface designs almost exactly as the originals, but applied them to a two dimensional surface of Habotai silk. It was an obvious decision to put feathers around the Hopi birds but I needed another element. I decided on a selection of Native American quotations intended to stand out in cream. However, I wrote them with a water based gutta resist, and they were mostly blurred or lost during the steam fixing process; so I embroidered over them. By happy accident this gives another texture, although time consuming. A spirit based gutta may work better next time.
For the FIRST HOPI BIRD DESIGN I kept to the natural colours from the pottery inspirations; beige, orange, terracotta and brown, adding a stronger pink. I teamed the final piece with brown cottons and viscose from recycled skirts to make an unusual but charming pinafore dress showing off the silk design in the bib top and apron.