Thursday, August 4, 2011

Taffeta Skirt

Me and my daughter in Pisa gown
A month before the IRCC was announced, I made a brand new bodice, skirt and sleeves based on the Pisa gown.  For the IRCC I planed to make several interchangeable pieces that would require a burgundy taffeta skirt.  As it turns out, the Pisa gown fits my daughter and she needs new renn garb, so I plan to give it to her.
So, I needed a new burgundy taffeta skirt.
Hancock Fabrics carries this taffeta (they call the color cranberry) in plain and in a pin-tucked version.  I used the pin- tucked in my compass cloak and as accent strips on a set of sleeves.
For my new skirt, I decided to use a strip of the pin-tucked fabric down the center front of the skirt and another band at the hem.  Since the fabric is so lightweight, I decided to use three widths of fabric in the skirt.  I have made several skirts based on the Eleonora de Toledo di Medici burial skirts with the gored sections.  However, this once, I decided to do something the easier way and just use three ungored widths of fabric because I did not feel like dealing with the curved section of the gore and the pin-tucked band.... After all, everyone has to take the easy route some time!
I cut the center font pin-tucked band 5" wide.  I split two sections of the fabric in half lengthwise - one for the center front addition of the pin-tucked section and anther so I would not have a seam in the center back.
Well, I made one thing easy, so I had to complicate something else.  I am PARANOID about the safety of my ID and other valuables while at renfaire.  Therefore, I like to have a non-period zip pocket hidden in my skirt since I KNOW that I will NEVER loose my skirt.  So... where do I hide a pocket????
How about right behind the center front pin-tucked section?  I sewed an invisible zipper into the right hand section of the seam between the two fabrics.

I used one width of fabric for the front and two for the back.  Other than the decorative pin-tucked strip down the center front, the front section is double box pleated and the back is triple box pleated.
After I got the waistband attached - my friend Molly  marked the hem for me and I cut it level before attaching the lower band.

The bottom band is cut 6.5" wide out of pin-tucked and plain taffeta and a 2" wide taffeta bias strip pressed in half.  The bias strip is sewn between one end of the two long strips.  After the seam was pressed open, a narrow strip of horsehair braid was sewn to the seam allowance.  The pin-tucked side of the strip was attached to the right side of the skirt with a 1" seam.  The seam was pressed towards the plain taffeta skirt and then the skirt fabric was pressed down over the seam.. 

The center front of the bodice would add to the disguise but it need a little more....  I used fingernail polish to paint the zipper pull burgundy and hand stitched a coordinating trim down the seamline.

hiding the zipper pull with nail polish and trim

Then a row was stitched where the pin-tucked fabric met the skirt fabric while horsehair braid was pushed into the tuck.  The tuck was pressed down over the pin-tucked band. Finally, the bottom bias strip was snipped and hooks were added to the wasitband.

Inserting the horsehair braid while sewing the hem tuck.

Update - the skirt needed to be a little longer.  So I took out the tuck, removed the band and re-stitched it with a 5/8" seam allowance instead of the 1" I had originally done.
The tuck to hide the raw edges is a very easy and neat way to finish the bottom of a skirt.

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