Saturday, 18 April 2009

BWOF 04-2009-101 Skirt

I finished a skirt today. It is 101 from the April 2009 Burda World of Fashion Magazine. I made this from the left over denim I used for the 118 trousers, so this skirt is free according to my internal accounting system.

It is highly unreasonable of me to expect two wildly successful sewing projects in a row, but I admit to feeling a little lukewarm about this skirt. I am about to write at tedious length about why I am lukewarm about A line skirts, so if you are just interested in the construction and photos, scroll down quickly!
I have been following the sewing for the hourglass figure thread at patternreview with great interest. Although this figure type is commonly described as balanced, and has little space devoted to it in most advice on illusion dressing, I find my figure, fitting into every different classification system I have seen so far as "hourglass" is really very difficult to dress in a flattering manner, and this seems to be the experience of many participants in the thread.
In around 99% of RTW, and 99% of unaltered patterns, I look much fatter and shorter than I think I am. I am not actually overweight, but I think this has a lot to do with the extra padding, short arms and legs and considerable curviness in front and behind. IMO the "ideal" hourglass figure described in classification systems is not just hippy and busty in equal measures (and has reasonably broad shoulders) but about 6 foot tall, has long limbs, never eats chocolate, and somehow has a B cup bust (so as to fit into standard dress sizes)and a small behind (I gather hourglass figure types are supposed to be 2 dimensional). I think that the slapdash sewist's April 3 post about personal deviations from figure type generalizations is spot on. I have been thinking about it a lot lately, so I will quote her with enthusiastic agreement
Style depends so much more on your personal body than on a generic way of describing your shape.
I think that developing a personal style and knowledge of what suits you does require a lot of trial and error. You would think that around 25 years of buying or sewing all my own clothes would have taught me something, but I am still trying to work out what suits me.
To sort of get back on topic, reading the thread at pattern review, there was some discussion of the X type and 8 type hourglass figures. In the opinion of this style consultant, for those of us with hourglass figures tending to put on weight first in the thighs, (X type)A line skirts are more flattering, whereas for those who have most post chocolate dramatic curve increases at the derriere and bust (8 type), a pencil skirt is more suitable. As I seem to fit into both categories - putting on flesh easily and possibly equally in every place, I was a bit confused by this sub-typing, but willing to experiment. According to other criteria, such as not having sloped shoulders, I should look better in A line skirts than straight or slightly pegged skirts. I have not really been a fan of A line knee length skirts in the past, thinking them a bit dowdy on me, but as stepping out of my rut and attempting bell bottom trousers was very pleasing I thought this shape of skirt was worth another try.

I am still not sure if I like A line knee length skirts. I am not completely happy with the fitting in this skirt. Despite a toile and multiple waist and hip alterations, there still is some side seam poochiness over the hip. I know that a lot of my hip measurement is actually at my backside, but it is a bit tricky to move all the room back there!

I do like the 2 openings of this skirt - working button front and a zipper. This makes it much easier for me to put the skirt on - due to the difference between my hip and waist measurement I often have trouble getting pants or skirts over my hips.The zipper in the pattern is in the side seam, but this is such a curved seam on me that I usually move it to the back. However I recently looked more closely at my back seams and realized that the back seam is nearly as curved as the side, so I have moved the zip to the front side piece. I am quite pleased with this. The pattern has two pockets applied over the front panel seams. This reminded me of apron pockets, so I took one off.
I think I will need to wear this skirt for a while to decide whether or not I like it.
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gwensews said...

Is the cause of the "poochiness" the stiffness of the fabric? If not--if it is a fitting issue--it looks like the side seams should be let out a bit above and below the "pooch" until the seam is smooth.

There is a wonderful tutorial going on at about figure analysis. She has extracted information and photos from Vogue (with their consent) and posted it. She shows what styles work on different figure types. There are several posts--it's a great resource.

goodworks1 said...

Very interesting discussion of the A-line and fitting for X or 8 figures.

I noticed from the first photo that your skirt really doesn't look very A-line from the front. But then you showed the side and it's clearly A-line from that view. So I wonder if the flare in the hemline of your skirt is somehow being pulled to the front and the back leaving the sides to look like a straight skirt.

Does this skirt have side seams? I wonder if adding additional flare at the bottom of the hem would help? (added later: check the next paragraph first...)But the other thing to check (first!) is whether or not the side seams are hanging straight on your current skirt. From the photo (I can see better now that I enlarged it), I think not. I wondering if you need to add more space in the back of the skirt when you cut the next one. That fix might also help the 'poochiness' which may be made worse by being pulled toward the back.

In any case I think this pattern is flattering enough to be worth working on!


cidell said...

I think you and I have the same issues with the hips. My hips aren't big. My butt is. I find that my hip line is always a wee pooky, especially in a stiffer fabric. But, I do want to tell you that I think the skirt is fun, youthful and looks quite good on you.

Carol said...

A very interesting post! Firstly, I really like this skirt on you. I think it's flattering. I have found that I have issues with certain skirt styles. I'm not really fond of A line skirts, either, but I've found if I shorten them or wear a pleated skirt, it is much more flattering. Likewise with pencil skirts. If I wear them knee length or just above, I look really wide in the hips, whereas if I shorten them a few inches above my knees, my legs look longer and I look thinner. If I want to wear a fuller skirt, I need to wear it knee length otherwise it poofs out at the widest part and I look enormous. A few months ago I experimented with a bunch of skirts I made but never wore. I found by shortening some and lengthening others and even pegging in the hemline of one, that they suddenly became more flattering. Maybe you could try this and see if you strike a length that works for you. I'm keen to hear what you discover!

katherine h said...

I wear A-line skirts a lot (admitedly, I have a completely different body shape). My trial-and-error dressing has found that A-line skirts work best if you can get a silhouette line flowing from shoulder down to hem of skirt...this means going less for tuck in shirts and more for tops that sit at the hip bone, either fitted knit or lightweight woven.

MareeAlison said...

I know what you mean about A line skirts but this one, after consideration, does look pretty good. Elaine's right in that from the front it doesn't look A line at all so I was surprised when you said that, nor from the back. The side profile is unusual but it may well settle down with some washing. Denim's a funny creature after all. Overall it looks very professionally made and a nice casual skirt.