Winter has definitely settled upon Philadelphia and it is COLD, COLD, COLD. The only thing that gets me through the winter with my sanity in tact are boots and all thing wool. To beat the cold and still look cute I stitched up this wool blend circle skirt in a beautiful yellow and black plaid. I’d never worked with wool before but let me tell you it was a total dream! My machine loved it and it was surprisingly easy to work with. To take it up a notch I installed a rayon lining to keep static at bay and also opted for an invisible zipper. I’ve sewn a circle skirt before but with this fabric, lining and special zipper I learned a few new skills and I am just thrilled with the results!
I styled the skirt with a Banana Republic black button down shirt, black round toe pumps and a mixed metal charm necklace that I bought at a boutique in Barcelona.
I purchased the button down shirt at my local plus-size consignment, Curve Conscious. This is Philly’s first and only plus-size consignment shop. I was thrilled with the selection and the prices. I will definitely be heading back!
What I like about this button down shirt is that its got 2% spandex which gives it some nice stretch. I also like that the shirt has two different darts, a waist dart and a bust dart. In garment construction, darts allow the garment to take on curves. A button down without darts and/or princess seams is not going to fit the curves of a woman (and one of the big reasons why most busty women dislike button down shirts.) Similar shirts can be found here:
Up to an XXL The Limited Essential Shirt
Plus sizes here: Lane Bryant Perfect Shirt
Notice the Lane Bryant version has princess seams while The Limited version has a waist dart and a bust dart, both essential to fit curves! My advice when purchasing a button down is to size up then either tailor it yourself or take it to your local tailor. Button down shirts are super easy to alter.
I made this skirt without a pattern, instead depending on a few online tutorials. There are literally HUNDREDS of online tutorials for creating a circle skirt (so I won’t recreate the wheel) but I can share a few tips I learned from making my skirt. I made a 1/2 circle skirt which has less volume than a full circle skirt.
By Hand London’s circle skirt calculator is a great resource to calculate your cutting measurements linked here: By Hand London Circle Skirt Calculator. The calculator will tell you don’t have enough fabric, it’s lying. But it does give you the measurements you need to make your full, 1/2 or 1/4 circle skirt. I used three yards of fabric, 60” wide fabric and folded it opposite the selvages, which is technically the wrong way to work with your fabric but I made it work!
As I mentioned earlier I’d never sewn an invisible zipper before but I was determined. I’m a super visual learner so I checked out Colette’s tutorial on inserting an invisible zipper found here: Colette Invisible Zip Tutorial. So what makes an invisible zipper invisible? No, it’s not magic. The zipper is made “invisible” by sewing as close as possible to the teeth of the zipper then closing the seam, which ends up making he zipper actually built into the seam of the garment. On my first attempt I didn’t get close enough to the zipper teeth so I just tried again and the second time I nailed it.
I had never lined a skirt before and was a bit intimidated but per the wisdom in the Curvy Sewing Collective Facebook group you must line a wool skirt otherwise you’ll have crazy static. (If you plan to make your skirt out of another fabric it’s not necessary to line). To line this skirt I cut out the lining the exact same way I cut out the skirt, except I made it several inches shorter so that nothing peeks out. I used a rayon fabric specially designed for lining garments. I stitched the lining to the skirt at the waist, then attached the waistband, holding everything in place. For you sewing nerds out there (raises hand) check out the insides!
Before you hem the skirt, hang it up and let the skirt drop overnight. Because of the way the fabric was cut the fabric will stretch out a bit and you want that to happen before you put the hem in. In order to hem my skirt I first serged the edge then folded up 1/2 inch. Since you’re inserting your hem on a curve take your time and use as many pins as you can.
I can’t wait to make another wool skirt! I have a feeling I will be wearing this style skirt all winter.
Happy sewing and styling!