Skirtcraft Aqueous Skirt - Feedback?

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Skirtcraft Aqueous Skirt - Feedback?

Postby finrod » Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:03 pm

I've sewn a prototype of a new Skirtcraft skirt design, and was wondering if anyone would be interested in giving feedback. If so, I'd appreciate it very much!

Highlights:
  • Large pockets and belt loops, as with the first product.
  • Heavier-weight, but with a smooth drape. Heavier fabric helps conceal underwear lines and The Perceptible Willy, resists wind blowing the skirt up, and adds cushion when sitting. But the fabric is often more rigid, not draping smoothing. This skirt has a smoother drape due to (1) having the weight separated into an outer layer and a lining, and (2) using linen, an unusually well-draping heavy fabric, for the lining.
  • Zipper in rear so the front is kept simpler/cleaner.
  • Spiraling seam lines for a unique look.

Image

More and higher-resolution photos in this Facebook album.

If you'd be willing to give feedback, I'd love it if you'd complete this 4-question survey:

https://skirtcraft.typeform.com/to/Zsom1r

Thank you!

Joe
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Re: Skirtcraft Aqueous Skirt - Feedback?

Postby DonP » Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:10 pm

The shape looks good. The asymmetrical seams don't appeal to me. I wouldn't buy a skirt shorter than 24". I like that you are considering multiple colors this time.
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Re: Skirtcraft Aqueous Skirt - Feedback?

Postby Mugs-n-such » Wed Oct 26, 2016 1:03 am

I really like the shape, length, and the fact that it has pockets, but I agree, I really don't like the asymmetrical seams. Also, I think some pleats would make it look nicer as well, just my opinion.
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Re: Skirtcraft Aqueous Skirt - Feedback?

Postby Jim » Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:27 am

I like it, except for the rear zipper.
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Re: Skirtcraft Aqueous Skirt - Feedback?

Postby Milfmog » Wed Oct 26, 2016 12:14 pm

I don't dislike the skirt, but would not buy one with an obvious rear zip (too many jokers think it is fun to unzip them and a guy in a skirt is fair game for that sort of humour, even though doing it to a female would probably result in a sexual assault charge). I also dislike sitting on a large zip and so prefer a side zip if no front zip is provided.

I also think the idea of a rear zip plus belt loops is rather strange. To wear the skirt with a belt would either require the wearer to thread and unthread the belt each time he dressed / undressed or wear the buckle at the back. Not a practical option from my perspective.

I don't mind the shaped seams but they do look a bit contrived / self-conscious. Somehow they seem to be shouting "Look at me, I am determined to be different" and while i don't mind that they appear a bit over the top to my eye.

In all honesty, I'd rather have a longer version of the original unaligned skirt than this one. (Or better still a wrap around design with a flexible waist fastening so that fewer sizes are required and the skirts would adjust to size changes over time better).

Have fun,


Ian.

PS Good to know you are still around and thinking abut skirt production; my two Unaligned Skirts get a lot of wear.
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Re: Skirtcraft Aqueous Skirt - Feedback?

Postby Gordon » Wed Oct 26, 2016 12:43 pm

I would not buy this skirt. I would rather have a front zip than one in the rear. Side zip would be second choice. The spiral seams are hideous to me.
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Re: Skirtcraft Aqueous Skirt - Feedback?

Postby Sinned » Wed Oct 26, 2016 1:35 pm

I, also wouldn't buy the skirt because of the spiral seam and the rear zip. I know that you are trying to provide a different look but this one is not for me. Either an elasticated waist or a front zip with good sized belt loops.
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Re: Skirtcraft Aqueous Skirt - Feedback?

Postby crfriend » Wed Oct 26, 2016 3:33 pm

I like the idea of the rear zip, so long as it's not too obtrusive or winds up under one when sitting. The supposed issue of the belt with a rear zip isn't as bad as one might suspect as the belt can be loosened trivially and then the skirt donned or shed with the belt partially threaded (loosen, partially un-thread, unzip, and off; reverse to put it on again). This arrangement also would allow the belt to be buckled off-centre as a style trick, or with a scarf used as a tie.

I must admit that I'm not a big fan of the spiral seams, but they do make a bit of a statement; I just don't think it's particularly "up my alley"
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Re: Skirtcraft Aqueous Skirt - Feedback?

Postby Big and Bashful » Wed Oct 26, 2016 5:21 pm

Hmmm, sort of like it, but not the rear zip. Give it a front zip and I would like it, as long as they go up to my size, which the last one didn't.
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Re: Skirtcraft Aqueous Skirt - Feedback?

Postby Caultron » Wed Oct 26, 2016 5:28 pm

I kind of like the rear zipper in a freaky/rebellious sort of way, but in one photo it looks like the zipper ends below the belt. I'd rather have above.

But overall it just looks kind of plain. I'd prefer something with more style, such as motorcycle-style zippers, military features, or outdoor/ranger details.
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Re: Skirtcraft Aqueous Skirt - Feedback?

Postby trainspotter48 » Wed Oct 26, 2016 7:31 pm

I have the same problem as Big and Bashful - I need a 46-48 inch waist, and being over 6 feet tall, I have found that the 24 inch 'standard' kilt length works - anything else is going to look 'mini'.
I can't say I'm over impressed with the rear zip and spiral seams, but might be tempted to give it a go in khaki/light stone, navy/black or grey.
The only other problem is the current balance between the British £ and the American $, which would make this more than a bit expensive.
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Re: Skirtcraft Aqueous Skirt - Feedback?

Postby beachlion » Wed Oct 26, 2016 9:54 pm

The back zipper is a no-no for me. As said before, very unpractical.
Those spiral seams are too much bells and whistles to me. I prefer something practical.
I think it is better to get the general public accepting the idea of a man in a simple skirt first. When that is accomplished, bring in the decorations and the cherry on the cake.
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Re: Skirtcraft Aqueous Skirt - Feedback?

Postby Couya » Thu Oct 27, 2016 2:32 pm

I'll have to join the general rejection of the back zip, while adding that I'm not keen on zips anyway. Although I own and occasionally wear some zip-up skirts (front or side closure), I find it awkward to get my other clothing to fit smoothly inside the skirt, and by far prefer something that wraps, kilt-like, round my shirts.
The spiral effect is amusing, but wasted on a single colour; contrasting colours would show the spiral in a more interesting way.
Sorry; this one is not for me.
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Re: Skirtcraft Aqueous Skirt - Feedback?

Postby finrod » Thu Oct 27, 2016 3:22 pm

Thank you very much for the thoughtful feedback, everyone - both here on the thread as well as in the survey. It's quite helpful!

I can't disagree with the criticism of the zipper or the curved seams, since it's a matter of personal preference. :) But, I'd like to share my reasoning and some more information about these elements.

One of the goals of this design is to be simpler than the Unaligned skirt, both (a) for a different aesthetic that some might prefer, and (b) in order to arrive at a lower price (via simpler construction and lower manufacturing costs). A zipper fly is not an extravagance by any means, but it is one of the more complex/costly elements of the Unaligned skirt. A centered zipper (as on the current Aqueous prototype) is quite simple/inexpensive to sew. And, locating a zipper fly (or other zipper style) in the front -- either along a new seam line or floating without a seam -- I don't feel could be done while keeping with the goal of a simple look (with the front of the garment being "center stage").

So, that's why the zipper isn't in the front. If it were going to be on the side, the ideal spot would be to have it built into a vertical seam. But that's not possible with the seams being curved, and at any rate, laying the zipper in a seam adjoining a pocket is a little wonky. The other option would be to place it just behind one of the pockets ("behind" as in "toward the wearer's back"). One issue with that, I found, is that that zipper was actually more awkward to reach than locating it in the center of the back. It's easy for the near hand to reach it, but is quite a stretch for the opposite hand, and zipping is much easier with two hands. With the zipper being centered in the back, you do have to "go blind", but neither hand has as far to stretch. Second, if it were just behind the pocket, it would either need to be in a seam that would continue down (but would appear oddly close to the pocket seams) -- or, would have to be floating (no seam continuing below the zipper), a technique which, after being sewn, leaves the zipper more exposed to the eye since there is no seam allowance available to conceal it, even partially. Like this.

However, if people feel that "just behind the side" is a better location despite the factors I've mentioned, I'm certainly interested in hearing so!

The closure above the zipper is something that is unfortunately not made clear enough in the photos. The zipper ends at the bottom of the waistband. The right end of the waistband has an extension so that it overlaps the left end, and a hook-and-bar closure is there to connect them. You can make out the overlap in this photo, though it's mostly obscured by the belt.

To your point about pranksters, Ian, I think the hook-and-bar closure would make it quite difficult for someone to quickly undo the skirt. Also, although the style of zipper that I'm using is the simplest zipper technique, I'm only an amateur sewer, and this was one of my first attempts. I believe that a professional manufacturer would do a better job of finishing the zipper, making it less visible. Here is how it should look. I think the main change needed is to increase the distance from the zipper to the surrounding stitches.

In my test wears of this skirt, sitting on the zipper hasn't seemed to be a problem. For one, it's a fairly lightweight nylon-coil zipper. Second, it doesn't reach down far enough to be sat on fully. Third, because it's centered, it lies in between the "longitudes" where most of one's sitting weight is distributed. In the eye of the storm, if you will. ;)

Regarding the skirt opening in the back while a belt opens in the front: initially I, too, had thought the threading and re-threading would be an inconvenience. But I realized that, at least for me, a skirt isn't typically taken off and and put back on multiple times during the day. To use the toilet standing, I just lift the skirt; to use it sitting, I let the skirt fall around me rather than sliding it off of my waist. So typically I would only need to thread the belt once at the beginning of the day, and unthread it at that end, which I would do in any case. Of course, I can imagine situations where a skirt would need to be taken off and put back on during the day. But I'm curious if people feel this would be a bigger problem than I'm imagining?

Lastly, "women's" skirts commonly have zippers located in the back, seemingly without major problems. And, if needed, putting the skirt on backwards, zipping, then rotating, takes only a few seconds.

Are there other objections to the rear zipper that I have missed? Like I wrote above, to me it initially seemed an inconvenience, but did not seem to be one in practice.

My thoughts on the curved seams:
  • They make the skirt unique. Products need to distinguish themselves from others in the market in order to succeed. In particular, with a tiny brand like Skirtcraft that's asking for pre-manufacturing crowdfunding (Kickstarter) support, people won't be as likely to back it if it just offers a slight variation on products already available for purchase from established brands, and for a lower price due to overseas mass production. Skirtcraft's three distinguishing factors among skirts in the market, in my mind: large pockets + belt loops, unisex sizing/marketing, and unique style.
  • I like to balance simplicity, function, and distinctiveness. The skirt's construction is quite simple in principle (including in comparison to the Unaligned). It has just three panels of fabric. Each of the panel-joining seams is functional: two of them provide anchors for the pockets, and the third contains the zipper. Abstractly, the only ways the skirt could be simpler would be to have no pockets or belt loops (but they're both essential) or no zipper (but elastic and/or drawstring doesn't work well with this type of fabric). The distinctiveness, of course, is that the seams curve around the skirt rather than simply going straight down. Like with the angled front seam on the Unaligned, these are structurally-required elements (the seams) -- but shaped to add interest. I personally prefer this type of visual embellishment to the type where entire non-functional components are added just for appearance.
  • About it being easier for men to accept a more plain skirt before venturing into one like this with the unusual curved seams -- personally, I feel the opposite. For me, at least, when I wear a skirt with unusual features (like asymmetrical, angled, and/or curved seams), I imagine that it challenges people's assumptions about skirts even further than encountering a man in a skirt does generally. By looking different from other skirts they've seen, it gently prods the observer (I hope) to wondering if what they're seeing is not in fact a "women's" skirt, but might be a "men's" skirt or a unisex skirt. And thus implicitly introduces the idea that skirt-wearing by men isn't always intended as crossdressing. I want to say: I unequivocally support crossdressing, and want intolerance for crossdressing to be eliminated. But establishing that men's skirt-wearing is not necessarily crossdressing, I think, is essential to growing skirt-wearing by men as a phenomenon. And, I think that fear of being on the receiving end of stupid, hateful reactions to perceived crossdressing could be one of the central factors preventing many men from wearing skirts. On a related point, I feel that the more skirt-wearing by men is normalized (and not always associated with crossdressing), the more anti-crossdressing sentiment will also be eroded, since crossdressers won't be as isolated from others in their choice of clothing.

Again, I'm not saying anyone is wrong to consider a rear zipper or curved seams to be deal-breakers! I just wanted to share the thoughts behind these things, and try to understand people's opinions as fully as possible. Your further thoughts would certainly be appreciated. Thanks. :D
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Re: Skirtcraft Aqueous Skirt - Feedback?

Postby crfriend » Thu Oct 27, 2016 6:44 pm

finrod wrote:[An]other option would be to place [the zipper] just behind one of the pockets ("behind" as in "toward the wearer's back"). One issue with that, I found, is that that zipper was actually more awkward to reach than locating it in the center of the back. It's easy for the near hand to reach it, but is quite a stretch for the opposite hand, and zipping is much easier with two hands. With the zipper being centered in the back, you do have to "go blind", but neither hand has as far to stretch. Second, if it were just behind the pocket, it would either need to be in a seam that would continue down (but would appear oddly close to the pocket seams) -- or, would have to be floating (no seam continuing below the zipper), a technique which, after being sewn, leaves the zipper more exposed to the eye since there is no seam allowance available to conceal it, even partially. Like this.

Personally, I have very little problems working stuff behind my back, so the notion of a rear zip doesn't bother me one whit. I actually find the side-zippers more problematic than a rear one; and I detest the ones in front because they (a) usually look too much like they were lifted directly from men's trouser-patterns and (b) tend to spoil the nice clean look at the front that's only attainable with skirts.

The image of the exposed zipper linked to above is just cheap-looking -- and, unfortunately, all too common these days. Hardware is seldom attractive unless one is pursuing a "punk" look, in which case zippers seem to appear from nowhere and with no conceivable purpose or function. Of great use for a skirt is a hook-and-eye directly above the top of the zip; it serves as a safety in case something goes wrong with the zip and lessens the tension load on the zip as well.
I think the hook-and-bar closure would make it quite difficult for someone to quickly undo the skirt.

Indeed. Well-designed garments should be almost impossible for an external actor to undo without explicit consent of the person wearing them.
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