Saturday, September 18, 2010

Territory Ahead Cascade Skirt

Last year on Stitcher's Guild, someone mentioned this great skirt on Territory Ahead, called the Cascade skirt:

This skirt is similar to the Sewing Workshop Lotus skirt:

But the Territory Ahead skirt is also similar to a a slit style circle skirt that I drafted last year:

In fact, it is almost identical to one-half of that skirt! But I am getting ahead of myself...

I decided to try to reproduce the Territory Ahead skirt, based on the photo on their website - I have not seen the skirt in person. It is basically an a-line skirt with a side drape and lined to the knee (based on one review that was posted). I played with the design in a small scale, using fabric scraps. Once I had the design figured out, I then realized it's pretty much the same as the slit circle skirt I drafted last year. Here is what the main pattern piece looks like (I neglected to add a grainline to the sketch, but the grainline runs perpendicular to the top of the skirt):

You cut two of these pattern pieces and sew the a-line side. You then sew the portion marked as "waist" (see the diagram), to the bottom of a yoke. My yoke is straight across at the bottom, but it doesn't have to be - you trim off any unevenness later when you mark the hem. I used a rectangular yoke with an elastic waistband, but if you prefer a fitted yoke with darts and a zipper, you can use that instead. You make the yoke as wide as you want, but I made mine about 4" from the bottom of the waistband to the skirt, because that placed the side drape on the hip where I liked it best. I also liked the selvedge on the fabric, so I sewed it to the outside of the yoke and let the selvedge edge form the side of the drape. But you could construct it more conventionally, if you don't want the selvedge edge showing.

Because the drape is not stitched together, it can fall open, revealing a lot of leg. So the skirt is lined to just below the knee. I used the same a-line shape that I used on the skirt (the non-draped side) and cut it out of a semi-sheer crinkled polyester from Fabrix. I left the bottom edge serged.

Inside out, showing the lining. The skirt is listing a bit to the side due to the weight of the drape, but it does not pull on the body because the fabric, a cotton rayon blend from Fabrix, is not that heavy.

Another peek at the lining.

When I drafted the skirt, I did not worry about the curve of the hemline. I just ignored it. After I sewed the skirt up last Sunday, I hung it for almost a week before hemming it this morning - I would recommend hanging it a bit because the drape is on the bias. When it came time to hem it, I pulled out DD2's punching bag, placed it upside down on a box, and put the skirt on it. The punching bag has a depressingly similar waistline to mine. I was then able to pin in a straight hem and to cut off the excess at both sides. Of course, a dressform would work even better. :)

My Impromptu Dress Form

Will I make this again? Yes, I really like this skirt. Because it is an a-line, it is easy to wear and move in - there is not too much fabric at the hem to get tangled around your ankles. It requires a drapey fabric, but not one that is too heavy or you might start to list to one side as you walk or it might pull on the skirt too much. The lining gives you the modesty you might require. All in all, it's a great design!!

Here you can see the overall shape.

Pattern Giveaway in Honor of Fred Bloebaum

On September 4th, the world lost a bright light when Fred Bloebaum passed away after a short, but valiant, struggle with pancreatic cancer. I have a few memories of Fred from twenty years ago when Sewing Workshop was my second home. I took many classes there from Marcy Tilton, Sandra Betzina, Kenneth King, and Candace Kling (to name a few), and I remember Fred as one of the teachers there, always dressed immaculately in the most gorgeous self-made clothing, though I never took a class from her. I remember coveting a cropped jacket she had made, a Vogue pattern it was, in rust. It was to. die. for. I also remember an Issey Miyake jacket she made that I covet to this day - I can still picture it. Her workmanship and taste were impeccable. We spoke once or twice at Sewing Workshop functions, and I remember her as a thoughtful, well spoken, focused, and elegant woman.

I stopped sewing garments for many years and turned my attention to other things. When I returned to sewing, I was delighted to see that, in the intervening years, she had launched a serious sewing business, with her own pattern line, and was traveling the country teaching. Touching so many lives.

I was even more delighted, on returning to my old sewing group, to see that she was now a member. She immediately approached me to introduce herself at the first meeting we both attended - I am a bit shy when it comes to these things, so it would have taken me awhile to approach her. She had that way of really looking at you as she spoke, really giving you her full attention. (Those of you who know me can stop snorting. I was feeling shy that day. :) )

Yesterday I attended Fred's memorial service. It was the most moving service I have ever attended. Fred was so loved and the memorial really captured who she was. It was touching to hear many friends and family speak. Many of her friends had been friends for decades, and most of them highlighted how she valued relationships, how she built and fostered relationships. It was especially touching when her husband and son spoke. It was funny too, for example, when her husband, in an effort to give "balance" to all the praises being sung, said that she had flaws too. For example, "she criticized my driving."

I am so sorry I will not have the chance to get to know her better, but I'm glad that my life intersected with hers, even briefly.

I recently bought a few of her patterns. (I have made a couple of her patterns in the last year, but there were many I hadn't yet purchased.) I thought I had purchased two of them already, but I couldn't find them, so thought I must have been mistaken. And, then I found them. I now have duplicates of two of her patterns.

In honor of Fred (which, by the way, is not short for anything, it's a nickname given to her by a college boyfriend when he wanted to call her Red and she objected to anything so prosaic, so he dubbed her Fred and it stuck), I would like to give these patterns away. One is the Daphne pant, which many sewists I know claim to be one of the best fitting pants ever. The other is the Maia jacket, which I just love. Both patterns run from size 6 to 26. This giveaway is open to international folks, because Fred's designs should be enjoyed everywhere.

If you are a follower of my blog, and would like a chance to own either of these patterns (I will give them away separately), leave a comment on this post telling me which pattern you would like and I will do the random number generator thing. You have until next Saturday, September 25th, otherwise known as Artistry in Fashion Day, to enter (by noon PT). It was at the last Artistry in Fashion day that I first saw Fred after 20 years, so this seems apropos. At last year's AIF, she gave a fashion show featuring her designs and a presentation on her line. I bought a couple patterns from her that day, both of which I have sewn up.

By the way, Fred's patterns are still available from several sources, including I have not heard if they will be reprinted, but I would not count on it.

Welcome, Marcy Tilton Fans!

I returned from the service yesterday and had received a couple emails telling me that Marcy had featured my blog in her most recent newsletter. What a nice surprise! I love Marcy's designs, and I've been a Marcy fan since she opened the Sewing Workshop, many years ago. And if anyone recognizes me at Artistry in Fashion, please say "hi!"

Finally, I have been quiet on the blog, but I have been participating in Self Stitched September, where I wear clothing I made every day for the month of September. I will post an analysis at the month's end, but you can see my progress on my SSS 2010 Flickr set, which is part of the Self Stitched September 2010 Flick group. I pretty much wear self-made clothing anyway, but for this challenge I have been mixing it up more, wearing clothes that don't often see the light of day, all of which I've made in the last 13 months. It has been a very educational experience.