Burda Classics 2012, #0003 3/4 Circle Skirt with a Heaping Helping of FAIL

Burda Classics 2012 0003 Thumbnail

I didn't order the Burda Classics magazine from GLP--never got around to it--but while in Porto, Portugal I saw it--in French--in the window of a tiny newsstand on a little side street.  Apparently, Burda is not pronounced anything like "Burda" in Portuguese, because it took a bit of gesturing and explaining to indicate which magazine I wanted to buy (the window copy was the only one), but eventually it was mine, all mine!

I was happy to see a simple 3/4 circle skirt in the magazine.  I am just too lazy to draft my own pattern, and I had been wanting one as a bike-friendly alternative to an A line.  I thought I'd start with a silk chiffon version--it goes with a bunch of tops already in my closet and would work year round.

Well, who knew a freaking two piece skirt could be so much trouble?  I cannot even begin to describe how much fail went into this.


Fail #1:  Cutting.  This is totally, completely my fault.  The chiffon was not wide enough when doubled to accommodate the width of the skirt.  So rather than waste nearly half the width of the chiffon for each of the four pieces (two layers, front and back), I decided to just shorten the skirt.  Which might have been all good and well had I actually, you know, created a pattern that was shortened.  Because with a circle skirt you cannot mess around about length.  I have a good eye, but there is no way I can eyeball an even reduction in length across a circular hemline.  Oh, and have I mentioned I was cutting silk chiffon, which is impossible?  But yeah, I just eyeballed it.

The skirt was doomed from the start.  Behold the HORROR that is the hemline on those chiffon layers.  The HORROR.  (Note:  I did let the skirt hang before hemming and tried to even it out.  This is just bad cutting.)

Fail #2:  Fabric.  The lining layer of this is a silk/rayon from the Vera Wang collection Fabric.com acquired a couple years ago.  It was too stiff.  The 3/4 circle skirt of the Butterick 5315 Peter Pan Collar Shirtdress I made over the summer is cut in 4 pieces with a seam at center front and center back, so that the grain is bias at CF/CB rather than straight.  I think that is a better cutting layout for my body, as a straight grain at CF with extreme bias at the side seams can stick out at the hips rather than flow over them.

Mend on right side

Fail #3:  Cutting a Piece Out of an Existing Piece.  Judging from the blooper threads on PR, accidentally cutting a piece of a pattern out of a large "scrap"--which turns out, of course, to be another piece--is a common misfortune.  However, I generally lay out an entire pattern, then cut it in one fell swoop so I'd never fallen prey to this particular heartbreak.  Until now.  I decided to do a waistband, and though I had only tiny scraps left of my purple silk/rayon I found a nice selvage piece for cutting it. Except that this turned out to be one of my skirt pieces!!!!  Ugh!

I fused a strip of interfacing to the wrong side, carefully butting the cut edges together.  Then I zigzagged it from the right side, making sure the "zig" was on one side of the cut and the "zag" was on the other.  The resulting fix is not at all invisible.  Luckily, the two chiffon layers cover it up so it wasn't a tragedy, but boy was it annoying.

Fail #4:  Waist Measurement Fail.  I am a fanatical tryer-on-er during the sewing process.  Not because I am so fanatical about fit (although I am, a little), but because I'm so impatient to see what the finished product will look like.  I can waste a lot of time with this, and so I guess for this project I was like, "OMG, no!  Don't try the skirt on and twirl around after putting in the zipper but before putting on the waistband!  The waistband will take like 30 minutes, max!  Just do it!"

Before I put the zipper in, I sort of draped the skirt around my waist and it seemed kind of big.  So I put a line of ease-stitching across the top and gently pulled the ease stitching--nothing at all like gathering, just slightly reducing the waistband.

In which reduced waistline I could not, subsequently, breathe.

I think I would do well in a zombie apocalypse, because I jut don't know when to quit.

Apply Petersham Waistband

So I ripped off the $*(@(& waistband.  This time I decided to finish the waist with petersham ribbon, which I had purchased at PA Fabrics Outlet.  I used the iron to press it into a curve.  I couldn't find any information on using petersham to finish a waist without a waistband, so I had to make it up.

Topstitch Petersham In Place

I put in a (non-ease) line of stitching in a contrast color 1/4" from the top of the skirt's waist, then used this as a guide for placing the petersham against the right side of the skirt.  Rather than line up the edges, I offset the petersham, so that when folded to the inside I would have only one layer of ribbon.

This actually created a really nice waist finish.  Though I am not certain it would not have stretched out.  Does petersham stretch out?

Now I finally really did try on the skirt, and OMG!!!  So terrible!!!!  The unevenness of the chiffon layers is bad enough, but it was way too short.  It looked ridiculous on me.  The shortness made the side-seam-sticking-out worse and the skirt is about 30 years too young for me.  I was so disappointed--what a waste of this beautiful silk chiffon from the Carol Collection!

Stich on both sides of marked line

The frustrating thing about this was the effort I put into doing *some* things right.  Like the zipper.  I cut the skirt lining with a CB seam, so I could put the zipper in the center back.  I have had enough stiff, sticky-outy side zips that I go to the center back whenever possible.  I didn't want to cut my chiffon layers with CB seams and interrupt the flow, so I created an opening for the zipper.

First, I pinned my two layers together and marked the center back opening line.

I stitched barely on either side of the line by first clicking the needle to the left and running the center of the foot down the line, then turning around at the bottom of the marked line and doing the same thing on the other side.

Fraycheck Zip Opening

I clipped down the marked line, fray checked the cut edges, and zigzagged them when the fray check dried.

Narrow Hem at Zip Opening

Finally, I rolled the edges under in the narrowest possible hem, and pressed well.

Completed Zip Opening in Chiffon

The resulting opening is really nice looking.

Violet Front

After thinking about this fail of a skirt for a while, and realizing there was absolutely no way to save it, I was like, "Wait a minute, 30 years too young for me?  I think I know someone more than 30 years younger than me..."  So I ripped of the petersham waistband (yes, three different waist treatments on this FAIL of a skirt), and turned the skirt down at the waist to create a casing.  Inserted a drawstring with chiffon ends and elastic in the middle, and sent it off to my niece.

While her hair is purple she has requested to be called "Violet."  Violet does not mind the unevenness of the chiffon hems, and the skirt is plenty long on her.  And the twirl factor is much appreciated.  So this fail was snatched from the jaws of defeat, but I am still licking my wounds. Seriously, of all the complicated, difficult things I've made, a simple SKIRT is my undoing?  

As far as I know, the actual pattern is fine.  But I am having a hard time making myself give it another try!

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.


A word of warning to Apple users who use Flickr for their photos:

I usually use the Flickr uploader, but occasionally it acts up.  So once in a while I upload directly to flickr through iPhoto.  Well, I was cleaning up my iPhoto folders a while back and deleted the Flickr folders; deleting a folder doesn't delete the photos and I don't need them in two places.

It turns out that when you delete a Flickr folder in iPhoto it deletes the live Flickr album!!!!  No warning or by your leave, just poof.  I figured this out when I went to my Butterick 5315 blog post to get the link and all the photos were missing.  So I clicked on the link to the Flickr set and it had disappeared.  And the Catch-22 is that because deleting a folder doesn't delete the photos, the Flickr set wasn't available to just restore from trash--the only thing trashed was an overlay of organization.  Ugh!

I had to re-upload the set and then extremely tediously replace all the URLs in the post with the new URLs and then do the same thing for the PR review.  What a useless way to spend an hour.  I can't remember what other sets I had uploaded using iPhoto; if you run across post from me with all the photos missing please let me know.


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