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Fabric recommendations

PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:26 am
by Mercury
I am currently working on a design for a skirt that I am making for myself. It's going to be knee length to mid calf; I haven't decided yet. It has box pleats in the front and back. I need a fabric that drapes well. I used calico for another skirt and it flared out more than I like. It's a little stiff. When I walk around I want it to have a nice swish. Any thoughts?

I am 5'10" and quite slender. I don't know if that makes a difference.

Re: Fabric recommendations

PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:20 am
by pelmut
Mercury wrote:I am currently working on a design for a skirt that I am making for myself. It's going to be knee length to mid calf; I haven't decided yet. It has box pleats in the front and back. I need a fabric that drapes well. I used calico for another skirt and it flared out more than I like. It's a little stiff. When I walk around I want it to have a nice swish. Any thoughts?

I am 5'10" and quite slender. I don't know if that makes a difference.

Pure cottons can hang well but ironing the pleats after every wash is going to be time-consuming.  Poly-cottons are deceptive, some feel fine on the roll but misbehave when made up into a garment.  Many commercially-made skirts have permanent pleats put in during manufacture, you won't be able to do this but you can sew-in the pleats if you have the patience.  Try visiting charity shops and see if you can find something made from the sort of material you prefer, then look at the label and see what it is made of.  

Alternatively, wait until you see a woman wearing a skirt like your design and ask her where she got it and what it is made of.  If you choose a suitable time and place (with other people around, so she doesn't feel isolated and threatened) and make the approach in the right manner, you will probably start a very interesting discussion

Re: Fabric recommendations

PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:01 pm
by Mercury
I am not going to iron the pleats. I want them to be soft. I thought about using a medium weight linen or doubled cotton gauze. There are so many fabrics out there. I want to avoid synthetic fabrics. I don't like them.

Re: Fabric recommendations

PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:54 pm
by beachlion
I like the denim fabrics a lot. You can have them in very light and flowing, like 4 to 5 oz and go to the slightly heavier fabric, say 6 to 8 oz. Most of my fabric came from www.fabric.com
On their web site you can select the fabric from a menu, including weigth (oz/sq ft).

Re: Fabric recommendations

PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:41 pm
by pelmut
Mercury wrote:I am not going to iron the pleats. I want them to be soft. I thought about using a medium weight linen or doubled cotton gauze. There are so many fabrics out there. I want to avoid synthetic fabrics. I don't like them.

Plain cotton looks scruffy if you don't iron it and linen is even worse.  I've never tried multiple gauze or noticed anyone wearing it (except in stage costumes), so I don't know how that would appear after washing without ironing.

Re: Fabric recommendations

PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:46 pm
by crfriend
Mercury wrote:I thought about using a medium weight linen or doubled cotton gauze.

Linen wrinkles from the faintest glance at it, nevermind from sitting on it. It's supposed to look "rumpled", so you can take that one off your list if you're interested in looking "pressed".

Cotton gauze would be an absolute disaster as an article of attire if it's to ever be laundered. Give that one up, too. Synthetic gauze can work if enough layers can be presented so the visual "noise" that the moire-patterning causes obscures what's underneath sufficiently; this was the basis of the first skirt I made for myself well over a decade ago. However, you want to avoid synthetics (even though synthetics can have creases "melted into" them so they stay put reasonably well).

If you want to use natural fabrics that are lightweight, you're either going to be sewing the pleats down along the creases or you're going to wind up with a natural-fabric A-line skirt after a couple of wearings, and certainly after the first wash.

Re: Fabric recommendations

PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:32 pm
by Mercury
Yesterday I finished a skirt. It's not the one I was designing. I decided to try making a knee length full circle skirt. I went digging through my fabric stash,and I found a large piece of tartan fabric. It is a twill weave. I picked it up at a thrift store years ago. I don't know what it's made of, but it drapes very well just like I wanted. I am so happy with the way it turned out. I didn't think a circle skirt would look good on me; I was afraid it would make my hips look huge. :lol:

Re: Fabric recommendations

PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:07 pm
by beachlion
Mercury wrote:Yesterday I finished a skirt. It's not the one I was designing. I decided to try making a knee length full circle skirt. I went digging through my fabric stash,and I found a large piece of tartan fabric. It is a twill weave. I picked it up at a thrift store years ago. I don't know what it's made of, but it drapes very well just like I wanted. I am so happy with the way it turned out. I didn't think a circle skirt would look good on me; I was afraid it would make my hips look huge. :lol:


Did you made it from panels or did you made folds/pleats at the waistband? I made one from black twill in panels and it draped quite well. With this temperature it is quite warm to wear now. If the fabric allows you to flip the panels, you can make full circle skirts quite economically.

Re: Fabric recommendations

PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:28 pm
by Mercury
beachlion wrote:
Mercury wrote:Yesterday I finished a skirt. It's not the one I was designing. I decided to try making a knee length full circle skirt. I went digging through my fabric stash,and I found a large piece of tartan fabric. It is a twill weave. I picked it up at a thrift store years ago. I don't know what it's made of, but it drapes very well just like I wanted. I am so happy with the way it turned out. I didn't think a circle skirt would look good on me; I was afraid it would make my hips look huge. :lol:


Did you made it from panels or did you made folds/pleats at the waistband? I made one from black twill in panels and it draped quite well. With this temperature it is quite warm to wear now. If the fabric allows you to flip the panels, you can make full circle skirts quite economically.


I folded the fabric and drew a half circle on the fold. Then I drew another smaller half circle on the fold for the waist. I cut out a waist band, applied interfacing to it, and sewed it on. I sewed in a 7" zipper, and then I hemmed it. I didn't do any pleating.

Re: Fabric recommendations

PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:30 pm
by Mercury
The next thing I want to try is making a 30" long full circle skirt with inseam pockets and maybe an invisible zipper if I can find that attachment for my machine.

Re: Fabric recommendations

PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:39 pm
by beachlion
Try Amazon.
https://www.amazon.com/Zipper-Invisible ... 1108&psc=1

I have never used an invisible zipper. Or I make a jeans style fly or I make a simpeler version where the zipper is behind the fold of the left front panel. The zipper foot is very handy because you can sew right next to the teeth or coils of the zipper.

Re: Fabric recommendations

PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:06 am
by Mercury
I don't know if those would fit my machine. I have a Singer fashion mate 237. It's almost 60 years old. I should call some place that repairs sewing machines and ask them.

On my next skirt I am going to do a lapped zipper. I don't like being able to see the zipper.

Re: Fabric recommendations

PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:21 am
by pelmut
Mercury wrote:I don't know if those would fit my machine. I have a Singer fashion mate 237. It's almost 60 years old.

I've found a picture of a 237 on eBay and the presser bar looks like the standard Singer type.  I don't think you will have any problems fitting a zipper foot from any domestic Singer model onto that machine - in fact, I'm surprised your machine didn't already come with one as part of the accessories kit.

Re: Fabric recommendations

PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 5:14 pm
by Mercury
I found my machine at a yard sale. Any attachments that came with it were long gone.

Re: Fabric recommendations

PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 5:54 pm
by pelmut
I've just had a look on eBay and to my amazement the search for "Singer zip foot" came up with three pages of hits and not one of them would have fitted your machine.  They all seemed to be either cheap plastic 'snap on' (snap to pieces the first time you use them) or some sort of universal fitting with a list of manufacturers but completely unsuitable for 'traditional' Singer domestic models.  So it looks like 'buyer beware' on line; but if you have a local sewing machine supplier, they should be able to find you one (after all, Singer made thousands a day for nearly 80 years).