January 21, 2012

For the Love of Circle Skirts Sewing Retro Circle Skirts


I have currently found myself in the midst of constructing another fab Butterick Retro pattern! Butterick 4513. Retro' 57.
As previously stated I love these. For the record, I might just love circle skirts. You know for the twirl-ability and the hip-hide-ability (scientific terms and reasoning).
When I dive into a pattern with a circle skirt the first thing I do is shorten the skirt pieces as most vintage pattern sewists do as well.
Over the years I have developed a rubric for lengths that work for me (read: Melody is a shorty). So at 5'5" o.k. fine I am really 5'4" but my ID states 5'5" so it must be true, right?
I have my three desired length categories as follows:


Throw back vintage calf length: 25" from waist line + add variable hem allowance. This will fall just below my knee at the meaty part of my calf. I rarely find myself making this length unless, I have a substantial amount of fabric or I am looking to preserve the true vintage vibe. Why you ask, because I feel that this length make my gams look like tree trunks.
Reasonable length for one to wear to work: 23" from waist line + add variable hem allowance. This is my choice length, it will hit just at my knee. It is not so long that I feel it is unflattering and not so short that I am checking my coverage constantly.

Short party time flirt length: 20 - 21" from waist line + add variable hem allowance. I think this length is comparable to the current mass market trendy lengths, I find them too damn short for conscientious comfort. The rare exception is a special specific occasion garment that I find to warrant the length.
Along with the end length I have to decide on how the skirt will be finished, hemmed, lined etc. for the addition of variable hem allowance. Commonly my first choice is to line everything, all the time. Therefor I will add 5/8" hem allowance to the desired skirt length. I prefer full lining, yes, I know it is more work. And I know, most of the time patterns will only guide you in partial lining, lining of the bodice and not the skirt. Which is fine and an easy fix, add skirt cuts for the lining too. However there are times when I say no to lining a circle skirt the reasons will vary: petticoats and slips, a lack of lining fabrics on hand, sheer laziness, possibilities of trunk bulk. In these cases the Hem Allowance can vary greatly, 1/2" narrow hem, 1-1/4" standard hem to a 3" hem with horsehair braid.

This current pattern Butterick 4513, calls for no lining. Naturally, I choose to line it. My reasoning cotton dress = too flimsy = needs lining. To each their own. Any way jumping to where I am now in the construction process. I have no idea what the guide sheet tells one to do as I have a knack of not ever reading them. What I did:
sew the side seams of the skirt on my cotton fabric
sew the side seams of my broadcloth lining
place the two plys RST and stitched my circle hem
clip, then press and flip and press again to form the clean hem.

Butterick Retro 4513 hung for bias drape
The skirt is constructed and ready to be attached to the bodice or is it?
I have this ritual I must hang my circle skirts. I place them on a hanger or/and pin it to my dress form for at let 24 hours and to check the hem for evenness after the fabric falls into the bias position  So the question and why I posted this. Am I the only person that does this? I goggled it to find an answer but found nothing. is this just a lost construction method. Has anyone experienced negative effects from not doing so?
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