It's about exploring and sharing my creative adventures (mostly sewing these days) ~
~those activities that sometimes obsess, usually inspire, occasionally frustrate
~and always provide a delightful maze to wander through.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Gypsy Skirt! (Koos Vogue 2971)

Over a month since my last post, yikes!   I admit it, I really haven't been sewing much, until I got caught up in some holiday makes (which I was going to write about, but I still haven't seen some of the recipients so I can't post the pics yet...)

But that's OK, because I'm back in the sewing room, and I finished a selfish sewing project, which I LOVE!!!!

It's the now Out Of Print Koos Ven den Akker skirt and top pattern, Vogue 2971

I do love me some Koos - probably my all time favorite (and most worn!) make is my Koos Jacket, blogged here

His crazy fabric mixes and unusual shapes may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I think the man's a genius in the way he manages to put together mind-bogglingly unusual shapes and make it all work!

The shapes in this skirt definitely fall into the category of non-intuitive mind-benders.   I did some head-scratching several times during the make, trying to figure out how it all went together, but it was a fun exercise from beginning to end, starting with choosing the fabrics to mix.

While playing at Fabrix with ReAnn during her recent visit, I found this unusual fabric, and thought it would be a perfect base for this skirt.   I had no idea how much fabric the pattern called for, so I only got a yard (thankfully, the Fabrix cutter gave me a VERY generous yard - almost 1-1/2 yards, in fact....and I NEEDED it!)   The pattern actually calls for 2-5/8 yards for the main body of the skirt, but with a bit of creative piecing, and cutting a couple of the pieces from a different fabric, I made it work.  (:::whew:::!)

Sizing:  The body measurements/sizing that Vogue calls for are ridiculous.  Although my waist measurement of 30" calls for a size 16, I measured the waistband for a size 8 at 35" (not accounting for elastic 'shrinkage'), which seemed safe, given the fact that there is a zipper at center back and elastic in the rest of the waistband.  Also, the yoke flares out a LOT right below the waistband.  In the end, I could have gone down to a size 6 (the smallest size), and STILL would not have needed the zipper!   I did install the zip, but the skirt slips over my hips without even needing to use it.

Length:  Measuring the pattern pieces for length had the skirt brushing the floor with my short legs (surprise!), so I shortened it by 4".  How lucky was I to discover that Sharon had already figured out the calculations for a 4" shortening, which she detailed on her blog post here.  Now, let's be real here....her detail-oriented brain figured out that the back section needed to be shortened by 3-7/8" in order to match up precisely with the front.   In my world, that's "about 4 inches".   That's why she's a tech writer and I am not.  ;-)

And while we're on the subject of (im)precision, I won't bore you with some of the ridiculous mistakes I made in the layout and cutting!  As I mentioned, I did some piecing on the back and lower front piece.   This involved adding a center back seam.   However, instead of sewing that seam up the center back, I sewed it along a side seam.   Did I mention that these pattern pieces are NOT intuitively put together?

One more admission:  (This admission might actually help someone who is as foggy-brained as I was when I was cutting) - the applique piece is supposed to be cut on the bias.   You know, the piece that has all those raw edges that would fray to smithereens if it was NOT cut on the bias?  See that grain line mark in the center of the applique pattern piece?   I didn't.   And I even sewed it on, including a couple of the applique lines in the center of the piece, before I realized my mistake.  Rip-rip, re-cut, re-sew, no problem   ::::rolleyes:::: I'm REALLY happy that I took the time to unsew it and cut a new piece, because the rayon I used for it happens to be quite fray-prone!

You can see where I shortened the applique piece in the above shot; I shortened the front skirt piece in the lower part of the pattern, as shown below:   NOTE:  Try to preserve ALL of the dots and notches, because they are IMPORTANT when you're putting everything together!   Marks that last, like tailor tacks, are highly recommended!

The back & lower front piece is trickier to figure out (this is where Sharon's calculations were very helpful).   This is shortened along the longest line of the pattern piece, as shown below.   (NOTE:  If, like me, you have a shorter length of fabric and are going to piece together this section, the CB seam is along the SHORTER edge at the top of the picture.   I'm sure you wouldn't do what I did, and piece it along the longer edge  :::sigh:::).   Yes, this skirt piece is VERY long!    But it all makes sense in the end.

Once I finally got all the pieces cut, the FUN began!   And really, this skirt Is. That. Much. Fun!  to make :).

Once you've sewn the front yoke to the front skirt, you add the applique piece, then sew it down with a dozen plus lines of stitching.  I marked them with my much-used and appreciated Clover Chaco marking "pen", because the marks brush off very easily.

After sewing the pocket on to the side pieces, you attach the side pieces to the back/lower front section. This is where all of your markings are REALLY important in matching the pieces up!   I went a bit nuts trying to decipher this, thinking I had surely made a mistake somewhere along the line!   As soon as I had it all placed correctly, of course it made perfect sense and my markings lined up exactly.

Maybe this will help someone who could get as easily befuddled as I did - the edge that has the pocket sewn on lines up with the shortest edge of the back skirt piece.  I kept trying to match my seams on the wrong edges, and the markings would almost line up.    Almost.   Again, maybe it was just me, but this skirt is SO not intuitive!!!
(NOTE:  Both the pocket and the side pieces would use the same fabric as the skirt back if you followed the pattern layout - above you can see that I used the black batik fabric for the sides, and the butterfly applique fabric for the pocket.   Otherwise all of this section would be the circles-and-stripes fabric)

Done at last and ready to wear!!!    The curvy bits snaking down the front were made using some of the fabric I used during the Tilton Sisters Craftsy class, so it was the perfect pairing with this skirt.   The weather needs to warm up a bit before I'll get to wear it as much as I'd like to.

The Sassy Look:

And the Sweet Look:

Back View:

Showing off the unusual shaping:

Close-up of the applique piece, sliced between the stitching lines:

The side rectangle (which would use the circle-stripe fabric
if you followed the pattern):

A twirling shot to close with:

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE this skirt?   So much, in fact, that I've already started cutting out a version using some more winter/fall weight fabrics.   Now that I have the head-scratchers figured out, it should just be fun from start to finish.

Oh, and it's GREAT to be back in the sewing room, and active in blog-world again :)

41 comments:

  1. Just a great skirt, Jillian! I really like your fabric choices. Look forward to seeing the next version of it.

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    1. Thanks Martha! Here's to my sewing mojo staying on track...

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  2. Creatively gorgeous ~ the fabric combo is just awesome! What a great make ... J

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  3. Wow--that's one wild skirt! You're good at figuring out Koos.

    A month without a blog entry made me wonder if you had left town.

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    1. I think I'll make some noise if & when I leave town - you'll hear me! ;-)

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  4. This has got to be one of my favourite skirts ever. AWESOME! You look great in this. And your choice of fabrics couldn't have been better - but maybe I shouldn't speak too soon, I look forward to your winter weight skirt.

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    1. Wowza - coming from you I consider that high praise indeed - thanking you! MWAH!

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  5. This is just gorgeous! Thanks for such a thorough blog post about the construction and your tips about the sizing. I so wanted to make myself this skirt, but after looking at the amount of fabric that would be sitting around my hips, decided against it. Yours is perfect, and your top is amazing.

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    1. Thank you Tia Dia! I'm going to try to make a more fitted yoke on my next one - I think it will be do-able :)

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  6. It must be magic but this skirt actually makes you look taller...how does that work with all that fabric and volume? It must be your fabulous fabric choices and skillful alterations. Thank you for such detailed photos and guidance through this jigsaw of a pattern!!! The smile on your face says it all even without the sassy poses and twirling version....can't wait to see the next skirt...you are amazing and daring!

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    1. Hmmm, taller? Maybe that's why I like it so much! ;-D

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  7. VERY fun. It turned out great. I really enjoyed the one I made recently too. I plan to sew it again in linen only this time at least another size smaller though. I should try that coat. Fabulous.

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    1. Isn't this just too much fun to make? I really like your version too; my winter weight will be a bit more like yours. And I too have gone down a size, and am using linen for part of it.

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  8. I love it, Jillian! And I was so fascinated to see how it turned out with that circle fabric. I have some of that too and I hadn't decided what to use it for but now I'm thinking...what a good idea.... I look forward to seeing your winter version!

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    1. You will ROCK that circle fabric, no matter what you do with it!

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  9. JIlly! This is the grail of patterns for me! One day I shall have one of these skirts- until then, I will admire and covet yours, ok?

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    1. OK....but I expect to see a version from you eventually!

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  10. Jilly, you are radiant!! I think that Koos loves you. It looks fantastic on you!! I am too chicken and more into the vintage 40's looks that suit me better.

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  11. This skirt is so very Jilly! It looks great on you. You definitely have a style, and it looks good on you. Glad you are back.

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  12. Wow, what a skirt! It looks great on you.

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  13. This is awesome! Love the fabrics you selected and this style looks great on you. You look like you're loving your new skirt! I look forward to seeing your next iteration. I've been seriously considering pulling out my copy of this pattern after seeing the gorgeous and fun versions created by you, Shams and Myrna recently!

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    1. This skirt is calling out to be made by you! Please, please please, do it!

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  14. Obviously the most fabulous sewing happens when you start out with not enough fabric! You and your skirt look like you are throwing a party for yourselves. ;)

    Welcome back to Blogland!

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    1. ITA about the not enough fabric. And I love the thought of throwing a party for me and my skirt! :D

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  15. Wow, that is a lotta skirt. But, you carry it off beautifully. I want to see the next version!

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  16. That is one impressive skirt! You look happy in it :)

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  17. That's fab! You obviously love wearing this skirt - it's perfect!

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  18. What a lovely outfit! wonderful!

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  19. The fabric combo is perfect (so creative!) and the style really suits you. I can't wait to see the next version!

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  20. What a wonderful top and skirt! You look radiant and happy wearing them. I love the fabrics you used. I really like Koo' s garments, and enjoy looking through a book I have about his career and his creative techniques. I have made a couple samples of the techniques, but no complete garments, so you have my admiration. Can't wait to see your second version of the skirt.

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  21. You look fantastic! I have this pattern, and love it. But I don't know if I'll ever make the skirt (I think I'm shorter than you etc). What do you think of the top? Have you tried it?

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    1. Thanks Robyn :) I've not made the top, and I'm not sure if I will - wraparound tops with long tails like that haven't really worked for me before. I do need to make a new knit top for skirt #2 though, and I'm still debating about whether to use this pattern or a more basic T...

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  22. What an absolute treasure. You look fabulous in this creative skirt and it's a delight to read about your process. Your Koos jacket has always stayed on my mind as another creative and so very wearable piece. Happy New Year!

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  23. KOOS patterns are complicated enough to be creatively fun. Yours turn out amazing!!! Your skirt is beautiful...as pretty as Koos himself would have made it. Happy New Year!!!

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