Friday, November 18, 2011

Self Drafted - TableCloth Skirt (with Tutorial)

The outfit I'm planning to wear for Thanksgiving.

More than a year ago a cyber friend, ReAnn, sent me a link to this dress and asked if I knew how it might have been drafted.

I didn't.

Over time, this dress has shown up in various incarnations - with sleeves, without sleeves, with different fabrics. I have only seen it online, never in person, so I did not have a chance to study it. Then, a month or so ago I was looking again at the web page when, bam, I realized how it was drafted.

Gotta love that!

I quickly did some math, and whipped up a version using a worn out flannel duvet cover with rosebuds that my daughter had decided was no longer cool. I was happy to see that my idea did, indeed, work. Then I hung the muslin in a closet and forgot about it.

I needed to sew a quick skirt for a meeting this week and I decided that it was time to make a real version of this garment. I made it in one evening - it is so simple.

Materials:

  • A very lightweight, crisp fabric from Fabrix. I believe it's a nylon taffeta. It is two-sided, but I used the autumn-colored side. The other side is cream/black.
  • 1-1/2" Fantastic Elastic from Pamela's Patterns.

This skirt is made entirely from rectangles. It is basically a circle skirt, except it uses a square instead of a circle. I did not even cut out the fabric. I just measured and ripped. The only time I used scissors was to cut the circle for the waist.

The "TableCloth Skirt" name came from one of my sewing pals, Sarah. I was holding it out, showing the shape, similar to the following photo, and she declared, "It's like a tablecloth!"

Yes, indeed, if you need a quick Halloween costume, just wear a board underneath this skirt to hold it out and, voila, a table with a tablecloth.

The following layout shows the essential shape of the pattern.

There is a square piece of fabric (blue), with a waist hole cut out (yellow). Then there are four rectangles (green). There is also a rectangular waistband (not shown). (I made this with a elastic waistband, but you can put in a zipper if you want.)

Instructions:

  • Cut, or tear, a rectangle that is 44" by 44". (Note, I am 5'5". If you are taller or shorter, you may want to adjust the proportions.)

  • Calculate the circle you want to cut out for the waist. The math is not hard, but you can use a calculator. I googled "circle circumference calculator" and ended up using this one. I decided to add 2" to my waist measurement and plugged in the number. I needed a circle with a 6.5" radius. I created a quarter-circle template using printer paper.
    NOTE:: If your hips are larger than your waist, use that as your base so you can pull this on over your hips!

  • Fold the square of cloth into quarters. Pin the quarter-circle template to the center corner. (Make sure you pin it to the correct corner!) Cut out the waist.

  • Sew the waistband to the waist opening in whatever way you prefer. (I ripped a waistband piece that was 4.5" by 45" because I was using very wide elastic.) I stay-stitched the waist, clipped, and attached the waistband.
    NOTE: The waistband should be the length of the waist hole at the seam line (not at the cutting line), plus two seam allowances. I cut it longer by a few extra inches, just to be safe. After I stay stitch the waist and clip, the seam always seems to grow another inch or two. I don't sew the short edges of the waistband together until the waistband is mostly attached to the skirt. I leave a couple inches unsewn at the beginning, and the end, of the seam. I then mark where the waistband should be sewn closed. I sew it, press it open, and then stitch the last few inches to the skirt. I am also too lazy to leave an opening in the short seam for the elastic. After the waistband is completely sewn and topstitched to the skirt, I use my seam ripper to open the short seam, on the inside, for the elastic. I insert the elastic, fit it to myself, and sew the edges of the elastic together. I don't even stitch up the little opening. Now you know. :)

  • Cut, or tear, four more pieces of fabric that are 44" (or whatever size square you used) by 15" (again, modify as needed).

  • Hem the long edge of each of the four rectangles. (I like to hem it first, but you can wait if you want to see about the length.)

  • Sew the unhemmed long edge of each rectangle to one of the edges of the central square. (If you look at my crude diagram, you are sewing the green pieces to the blue center square.) I used 1/2" seam allowances. You want to start sewing 1/2" in from the edge and stop 1/2" from the other edge. If you are using a different width for the seam allowances, start and stop the seam by that amount.

  • The final step is to sew the four short edges of the rectangles together. (As shown by the arrows in the diagram.) This creates four corners.

That's it! Not counting the waistband or the hem, that is a mere EIGHT seams! If you want to recreate the inspiration dress exactly, sew the skirt to a cropped bodice. I'm not really a "dress" person, so I decided to make it as a skirt, but it would not be hard to do.

A few more pictures:

A little twirling action

A closeup of two of the corners

67 comments:

  1. This is absolutely ingenious! Thanks for the how-to! I'll have to remember this one. You look wonderful in your Thanksgiving outfit. Could we have a closer look at the shoes? (or did I miss that at some earlier point?) They look very interesting.

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  2. You look smashing, Shams! LOVE it. You're
    so good with math .. I wouldn't ever be able
    to calculate that pattern. It's ingenius ..
    such a whiz, so clever you are.

    And I adore the orange cardi/jacket. Is it
    sewn or knit?

    All in all, just a fabulous ensemble. You're an incredible inspiration to me. My getupand go has gotupand went lately, but when I see your creations, workarounds and calculation process to make something that's 'you,' I'm lifted and re-energized to just get to it. Have a beautiful
    and blessed Thanksgiving.

    ~ Joy ~

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  3. Fabulous! How clever of you to have worked it out! And I love your fall colors...is that necklace the one from K/L?

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  4. Thanks you guys! Joy, what a touching comment.

    Let me answer the questions posed so far. The shoes are pretty cool and I don't have a closeup pic of them, but I'll try to get you one. They are made in Israel and are super comfortable. The necklace is a Teresa Goodall and I bought it on ebay. The cardigan is an Eskandar, also purchased on ebay.

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  5. Gorgeous. I've put this on my "to make" list.

    I'm thinking you could have used a rectangle 44" x 58" plus two 44" x 15" ones and saved two seams - or even a 58" x 59" rectangle with 14" x 14" corners cut out, but that would leave waste. Thoughts?

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  6. You are right, Alison, that would be another variation, though it would be a bit more difficult to sew the corners. But it's doable. If you make it up, let me know. :)

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  7. This I have to try! I was already planning on a plaid skirt for SWAP 2012; might try to muslin this in a bit of plaid flannel just to see how it looks on me, but given how delightful it looks on you, that may not be necessary... Thank you for the straightforward explanation :D

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  8. Very clever and looks great! Happy Thanksgiving.

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  9. If this were my skirt, I would twirl too. How brilliant of you for cracking the code, and then to share it so we all can be twirling dervishes. Thank you, thank you.

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  10. Shams,
    You are BRILLIANT! I have admired this dress for sooo long, always hoping that Lynn Mizono would produce it as a Vogue Pattern - now we don't need to wait! Thank you so much!!!

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  11. Fantastic! Thanks so much for figuring this out for us mere mortals. You are genius. Now I need to go find some plaid....

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  12. We're not worthy... :-)

    Thanks for the inspiration and the tutorial. You look marvelous in your ensemble, Shams.

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  13. I love how this works out in plaid! You're looking fabulous!

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  14. How clever! Love how the skirt hangs in beautiful folds. The outfit is perfect and love those shoes!

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  15. Pattern Magic by Shams! Cool! I love it. Thanks for taking the time to do a tutorial.

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  16. Well done Shams! I love this style and might well try one myself.
    Thankyou for doing the hard work.

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  17. Nice skirt! Thanks for the tutorial. Just curious, does it sit comfortably with a circle cut at the waist? I learned at a tour of the Boston Ballet costume shop that the waist of a tutu is actually cut as an oval, as that's the shape of the body inside. Wondering if that could be applied to this pattern?

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  18. I love it! Thank you for including the diagram.

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  19. Please, please, please give more details on the shoes. I hunger. And I love the skirt - what are your thoughts about doing this in a knit? Thank you very much for sharing this tutorial.

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  20. Sharon, OMIGOSH, do I love love love this skirt! It's a stunner. Thanks for the tutorial. But I must say that I am lusting after those amazing shoes. They are the perfect accessory for your ensemble.

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  21. @Janee, yes, for many folks an oval-shaped waist would be appropriate. I leave that as an exercise to the reader. The fact is, *my* waist is more round than oval. You wouldn't know that, because I never show photos of myself sideways. ;)

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  22. Absolute genius, Shams. I don't wear skirts much but you have issued an almost irresistible challenge.

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  23. I love this skirt and want to try making one -- thank you for the tutorial! I have to say that your entire outfit -- especially those stylin' shoes -- is fab!

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  24. Oh shams, that skirt is just amazing! I'd have to stop you in the street if I saw a person wearing something so creative AND beautiful. It is clever, but not at all gimmicky.

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  25. Your skirt is FABULOUS, thanks so much for the tutorial. I must try this. I'm on the hunt for fabric!
    Sandra

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  26. One fabulous outfit. Thanks for the pattern and tutorial. Where do we send tips/gratuities?

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  27. Fabulous in every way: I am sorry not to be more original in my comment! I would be in my sewing room this moment to copycat, but I don't think I have a suitable 3 yard piece. I'll have to fix that soon. Thanks for sharing.
    Kathleen

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  28. What a FABULOUS outfit!! I see many others have used the same adjective but, really, it's what applies. :-)

    Tell me more about the cardi and the SHOES! OMG - the SHOES!! I want some!!

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  29. Genius, inspired, gorgeous, fabulous - I totally agree with all of the superlatives already used! And....shams in a skirt? You ROCK this look! The way you've style it is absolutely elegant!

    Yet another inspirational post from you to steal I mean be inspired by :)

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  30. I love this on you! Everything just works especially the shoes! Glad you were able to figure it out and make it work for you...because it's definitely working for you!

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  31. Both lovely and whimsical and therefore very you. Thank you for the explanation.

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  32. You look lovely in this outfit. The skirt is brilliant and easy to understand with your engineering directions. I can't wait to try one myself. You will be a hit on Thanksgiving in these autumn colors.

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  33. Is the waistband piece always 45" long regardless of the circumference of the circle?

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  34. Hi Anonymous! No, the waistband piece will be the circumference of the waist measurement, at the stitching line (not at the cut line). I always allow for a bit extra. I think I need to make another post showing how I do the waistband, but it's just my way. Others have ways they prefer.

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  35. You are a genius asnd I love the plaid with the orange Eskander jacket/sweater. Oh, and the shoes are also very cool. And the outfit will be perfect for Thanksgiving. BTW, thanks for giving us this skirt!
    Leslie

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  36. With that skirt, just loosening or tightening the elastic would make it versatile enough that a person, losing or gaining weight could still use it. Plus, if sold it could be customized for the waist instead of making a whole new skirt. Even taking off the waistband would be easier than making a whole new skirt and less expensive.

    Oh, I liked you remark on the anthropologie skirt that we draft and sew in our underwear. My ex would walk in and see me and be scandalized, humiliated, and baffled about why I sometimes sewed naked. Well, in panties is all. You know I must have had a man under my cutting table or behind the machine or expected one to pop up through the floor.

    He never caught on that I only sewed naked when it was for me. I kept my clothing on when I sewed for my children or others.

    I love your blog.

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  37. Your skirt looks amazing on you. What a great outfit. You are so clever. I want to go home and make one straight away.
    I will not be pulling it on over my hips though, I have not stepped into a skirt since I was 13 :) This, fortunately, means that I won't have to use my hip measurement for the waist. It will mean a zip though, sigh.

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  38. Ok, this skirt is so cool! And you figured out how to make it. What a smarty pants you are! Love your Thanksgiving Day outfit, and I want the shoes. I don't wear orange, I don't wear heels, but I want those shoes. They're works of art!

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  39. Great outfit! Love the jacket and skirt combination and the shoes are just way, way too cool!!!

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  40. Fabulous! Thanks for sharing your process. I've been wanting an interesting skirt for quite some time. Trust you to be my answer!

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  41. WOW What a beautiful skirt! I love that you can use a plaid and not have to match it! It looks gorgeous on you. I love the shoes and the whole outfit. Thanks for the tutorial! I would love to try to make a skirt like this.

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  42. Brilliant! I just made up a muslin and it works perfectly. I am going to make one up in a knit for my first "real" skirt.

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  43. Oh my gosh! I love this! Thanks for the tutorial. It looks like it's a fun skirt to wear.

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  44. Guess what?! I was given the task of making seven costume skirts this week out of polyester organza. I borrowed a serger to deal with the fabric. Guess what design I am using?!?!

    Tablecloth skirts!

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  45. I'm just catching up on blog reading and this skirt is fabulous on you. Love the design. Maybe Vogue should contact you for the next designer pattern.

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  46. I just love this skirt, Shams. I'm going to have to make my own interpretation. Thank you for sharing! ~Rose in SV

    PS--when holiday decorating, don't pack/hide away all your patterns. I recall that you went through pattern withdrawal during the last holiday season.... :)

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  47. Thank you so much for your tutorial. You've explained the process so well.

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  48. Very cool skirt--thank you for the tutorial! I wonder if my mom might like something like this...

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  49. Susanne aka Topsy Turvy StitchesDecember 3, 2011 at 10:19 PM

    It's a bit late, but thank you so much for the tute on this fabulous skirt! I made one last night and wore it to church this morning thinking that the staid congregation members would look at me and turn away to titter! Not so at all. I had 2 requests for the pattern and another request to make one (but I'm way too busy making them for my daughters for Christmas pressies!). I've made a second for myself out of lovely bright rayon I've had for years and the fall of the skirt is incredible. So wonderful to wear - lifts the spirits as soon as I put it on. Thank you, thank you, thank you. PS: I changed the waist to make a band of knit with a row of elastic through it and this means that the skirt can sit lower and look better under a fitted knit top. Wonderful!

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  50. I love my skirt too and posted a comment over at SG with photos....I am so challenged by my new iphone and the photo stuff, (please don't laugh, it's taken me longer to take photos, upload same, figure how to resize and post on SG than it did to sew the skirt!) that I'm not sure how to share here on your blog/gallery, but if you want or can snag the photos from SG, feel free. Thank you for the idea and tutorial. emelle

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  51. I love this skirt. I love you. I love this blog. I feel love love love love love. Whew. lol

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  52. Um excuse me...may we please have a close up of those awesome shoes also?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Cherie! Those are United Nudes. :)

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  53. I've been obsessing over this skirt ever since I saw it at the last BABES get together. I think I've figured out a way to make a reversible version out of some really lovely double sided cotton I have. Thank you so much for the inspiration, and I'll let you know how it turns out! Still absolutely LOVE yours!

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    Replies
    1. I can't wait to see yours, Phoenix!

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  54. You are inspired. Love it in plaid. Thanks so much for sharing the look and the technique !

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  55. Thanks for the idea. I made my tablecloth skirt using a different folding technique, inspired by origami.

    Pix of the fold steps and the completed skirt are at:
    http://badmomgoodmom.blogspot.com/2012/02/tablecloth-origami.html

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  56. Dear Shams, I am a bit late to the party just having come over from Jilly-Be's blog to see how this skirt is drafted. Ingenious (as most sublimely simple things are). Thank you for sharing this!

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  57. Thank you very much for this tutorial,
    i made the skirt today for my 8 year old daughter and was very happy that it's so easy to sew.
    Just the corners: your's look better and neater than mines!
    Any secret?

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    1. Hi Anon! Three seams meet at each corner. Let's pretend you used 1/2" seam allowances. Did you stop sewing 1/2" before the end of a corner? (And, likewise, did you start 1/2" in from each corner?) This is important to create a nice corner. If you sew all the way to the end, it will not create a clean corner.

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  58. oh my god, I need this. I NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED THIS. It looks like all the voluminous fun of a godeted skirt, much less fussing.

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  59. Thank you, so much! I can't believe how easy it was to put together (but I would not be able to do it without your tutorial). Thank you!!!

    And this is my dress http://www.flickr.com/photos/99578787@N07/11181913096/

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  60. Thank you so much! I can't believe how easy it was to put together. But I could not do it without your tutorial, so - THANK YOU!!!! I absolutely love my new dress! http://www.flickr.com/photos/99578787@N07/11181913096/

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  61. Very cool! thank you for sharing.

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  62. Cant' wait to try it. Thank you so much, you brilliant girl, you!

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