Winter Dancing Skirt #1: It seemed like a good idea at the time

In one of the September fashion magazines–I forget which one–I saw a picture of a sequined pencil skirt–I forget which designer–that looked like it would work for dancing and/or dating in the winter. Tights, t-shirt, jacket–you’re good to go.

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The Front, in bad light

And so when I was downtown looking for fabrics to make into a dress for a masquerade party, and I saw these sequins

I mean, holy hell. Look at them! Purple blue green teal depending on the light, matte black on the reverse. It’s like mermaid scales.

It’s also heavy.

And expensive.

Plus heavy. I got one yard, that being all I could justify, and then two yards of a cheaper ‘practice’ sequined fabric (that ended up being the masquerade dress. More on that later).

The back of the fabric is a heavy black knit, perfectly opaque, with lots of lengthwise stretch but very little widthwise.

The pattern is based on my skirt sloper. I looked at my pencil skirt patterns and none were quite right. I wanted something fairly dramatically pegged, not too long, without a waistband, and all of my pencil skirt patterns–all three of them–were either too straight, too long, or had too many pieces, which I didn’t want to mess with on account of the sequins.

I traced out the sloper, compared to current measurements, altered slightly, determined the length I wanted (I think it’s 18″), pegged the bottom side seams by about an inch on each piece, and cut.

And then began the true joy of removing sequins from seam allowances, first marked with white thread so it would show up on both sides. I tried to just sew through them but these sequins were having none of it.

The sloper is the result of Suzy Fuhrer’s skirt sloper class on Craftsy, and I just want to say: she gets a lot of rave reviews on those classes but IMO she adds too much ease and she relies too much on “industry standards” for certain measurements. My skirt sloper is based on ignoring her advice on those, and even so, it was loose enough after the first draft that I had to sit down and take out a bunch more sequins so I could take it in a bit more.

I also ended up pegging the centre back seam by about an inch on each side, too, after the first fitting.

Even pegged as it is, and without a slit or vent, I can walk up and down stairs and sit comfortably.

The Side
The Side

The waistband is just a facing of black twill tape. I wanted something tough without any give or stretch that could support the fabric and to which I could attach a hook and eye closure, which is just a smidge tighter than the skirt so that the zipper doesn’t strain and so the skirt stays at my waist.

The skirt itself is just three pieces with darts and a zipper; putting it together out of anything else would have been quick and simple. It took hours longer to remove the sequins than it did to actually sew the skirt. But now it’s done, praise heaven, and I can wear it.

I have enough of the sequined fabric left that I could make the front piece of a simple shirt, and I might. I thought maybe a scout, with sleeves and black from a regular black knit fabric. But not until after I’ve recovered from the tedium of sequin removal.

14 thoughts on “Winter Dancing Skirt #1: It seemed like a good idea at the time”

  1. Saying that I have a drafting pet peeve makes me sound like I draft a lot more than I do, but methods that rely too heavily on standard measurements has to be one of them. Your skirt is stunning, and I can only imagine what a sequined masquerade dress looks like!

  2. I’m glad to hear you say that about the industry standard measurements. I am doing her moulage class and finding it very frustrating because there are a lot of times she defaults to the industry standard and the whole REASON I am drafting is that I am not a B cup and so the industry standards are no good for me. Luckily I have enough experience that I can wing it a lot of the time, but still I have come up with some serious issues that I have yet to solve. She does tend to have already answered a lot of ‘what do I do if…’ queries in the comments but the way the comments are arranged by chapter and segment make it hard to find them.

    I haven’t drafted anything except a circle skirt from her skirts segment but she even added ease to that. Why is there ease in a circle skirt, I ask you! The classes are useful but I’m glad I bought them on sale.

    ANYWAY. That skirt looks fantastic and that fabric is incredible. You are rocking it, too.

    1. And I am glad to hear you say that, because half the time I feel like I’m surrounded by Suzy Fuhrer fangirling and it just doesn’t make sense to me. The classes are useful and contain some good information but they are not perfect and won’t work for anyone with serious deviations from the industry standards. And yes, there is a bunch of ease added to things that don’t make any sense. Why would I want ease added to a skirt waist? That just means it slips down.

      I had huge problems with the pants sloper class and ended up having to fix them with the aid of a patternmaking book that had a very different approach to the crotch curve and didn’t use industry standard measurements.

      And thank you! It’s a fun skirt and I need to find more places to wear it.

  3. I just love love love this skirt. So much! I may have to copy your version at some point in the future. 😉 Thanks for the honesty on the Suzy Furrer classes. I have her pants one, but I haven’t gotten around to watching it yet.

    1. I got partway through and had to completely redo the crotch curve using a patternmaking book instead of her instructions. If you start watching and have the same problem, let me know and I’ll send you the book title. It uses math instead of standard measurements so it was more complicated but gave a much better result.

      1. It’s probably something I will start watching in the Spring. I’ll for sure come to you if I need help. I feel like you are a pants guru. You seem to always have a good fit.

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