Drawing the Curtain on Winter

I have a friend who I would consider to be my wardrobe refashion-enabler. Over the years I have gotten tons of “hand-me-downs” from her that often need just a little tweaking to be wearable. Sometimes she just provides the raw materials. This is one of those instances. She gave me a pretty flowered curtain that I’ve had lying about for a while as I waited for inspiration to strike. Spring is just starting to appear here in New York, so I thought that it might be time to cut into the lovely yellow and orange flowers. Now, normally I am a pattern-follower, but I thought that I would try a little improvisation on this project.

First I cut off the hem and the hanging sleeve. The fabric has a directional pattern so I folded the curtain in half, cut along the fold and rotated one layer so that the flowers were all headed in one direction.

I chose a basic a-line skirt that I like and used it as a very basic pattern. I lay the skirt on top of the fabric and cut around it, keeping the bottom quite wide so that the skirt would have more of a flare (surely all flowery skirts should be the swing-y kind).

Then I sewed up the two sides—adding a short zipper to the left side-seam—and tried the skirt on in order to improvised some darts. Voila!

It was done, but it was little boring.

It needed a little more zing and I apparently needed a little more of a challenge (it is wardrobe refashion challenge, after all.) I had a fair amount of fabric left over so I thought I would turn this from a simple a-line skirt to a slightly-less-simple gored skirt. I tried the skirt on again and decided where the gores should go. I folded the skirt in half with the side seams together and measured and marked a straight line parallel to the folds (the center front and back).

I then took a deep breath and cut long slits along these lines. Then I cut four triangular pieces of fabric from my scraps that were the same length as these slits in the skirt. I initially tried to insert the gores using lapped seams (these come up a lot in the vintage patterns that I like to use) but something about this technique made them look flat and I wanted a bouncy, swishy skirt. So I ripped out the seams and tried again by reinforcing the top of the slit with a little stay-stitching and then pinning and sewing the gores in one side at a time. I liked this result much more. It gives the gores a little more of a three-dimensional effect.

I am finally happy with the skirt though it still needs a proper hem and waistband (probably in some contrasty color) and I am waiting anxiously for spring to really arrive so that I may wear it out!

Tanya Luck(x4)