Ladies Skirt with Scallops (VPLL#0200)
This skirt is very chic with its sleek style and high waist. I envisioned it in so many different fabrics, everything from a pale gray wool herringbone to medium weight linen I could wear to work.
While waiting for delivery of a few bits for the Ladies Duster (VPLL#0402) I’ve been working on, I started on this skirt. I found a rayon/cotton blend in just the right shade of brown to go with the fabric in the stash for a coordinating blouse using VPLL#0219. For the trim on the skirt, I found a crepe-backed satin in cream that also coordinated with the blouse fabric. Hard as it is to believe, I couldn’t find appropriate buttons in my stash, so I covered 5/8” buttons with the satin. The hair canvas was ordered, and would (I hope) arrive by the time I was ready to construct the waistline facing. Another tester, Catherine Hopkins, blogged about using piping instead of bias on the scallop trim and I really liked that idea, so I also found some piping in my stash.
Alterations & Cutting
The pattern waist size is 34”, and only needed to be increased by ¾” to fit me. But, as this skirt has such a sleek line, I was concerned that it would not skim my figure as in the drawing, and that was the line I was looking for. Last winter I made myself a skirt sloper. Using this, I altered the skirt back, adding 2 back darts as per the sloper, and adjusting the side seams to follow my shape. I also wanted to ensure that the front seams of the skirt were in line with the breast points, as in a princess-seam bodice. I feel this is the most flattering placement for them. Wider apart, I thought they accentuated the tummy. I tried on the basted front and adjusted the size of the panels and the angle of their intersection. In this way, I eliminated the darts that are on my sloper. I shortened the skirt for my 5’3” frame, removing 3 scallops from the bottom and leaving 11. I added a 3/8” seam allowance to the left front (scalloped) edge for both the side front and the facing. I would need these to insert the piping. I cut out the fashion fabric without making a muslin, but leaving generous 1” seam allowances. I then cut a facing for the scallops.
Bias Tape & Piping
Using the continuous bias technique, I made several yards of bias tape from the satin. I then proceeded not to find an appropriately-sized piping foot. I folded the bias over the piping and, using a zipper foot, stitched close to the piping. I pinned the piping to the right side of the skirt left front, matching raw edges. To manipulate the piping around the scallops, it is necessary to take enough tape to fit around the peaks and valleys. It helps to clip the piping seam allowance as it is pinned. I basted it along the seam line, then pinned the facing to the side front, right sides together. I then stitched the facing onto the side front. I graded the seam and clipped the peaks and valleys as necessary. I turned the facing to the inside, invisibly tacking it to the side front.
Next, I attached the center front to each side front, and pressed the seams open. I stitched the darts in the skirt back, (my personal alteration), and stitched the skirt front to the skirt back at the side seams, leaving the left side seam open to 8” below the skirt top. After trying it on and making a slight adjustment in the top 2” of the skirt for fit, I altered the facing pieces to fit the altered skirt, and added 6” to the left back. This extra would be folded, wrong sides together, and hand stitched into a flap that would lap under the front facing and provide room for attaching closures. I stitched the facing pieces together – back to side-front to center front to side-front along the short edges, leaving the left side open. I used the stitched facing as a pattern for the canvas interfacing because it is easier to cut it all in one piece then to cut it in pieces like the facing. (Cutting the canvas on the bias allows it to be easily shaped around a curve such as the waist.) I allowed 3” in extra length for the closure flap.
It was decision time. There was plenty of satin bias tape and piping left. I decided it would look pretty along the top of the skirt. I stitched it to the skirt, right sides together, as with the scallop application.
I pinned the interfacing to the wrong side of the facing, turned up the hem and stitched through all three layers, holding the canvas in place. I then attached the facing to the skirt top edge.
After grading the seam, clipping the curve, and pressing, I tacked the waist facing to the inside of the skirt, and used 2 hook and eyes for the closure. I sewed a covered button in each scallop and hemmed the skirt.
The fit is perfect! By making a slight adjustment in the angle of the front/side front seams from hip to waist, but leaving the line of the skirt fairly narrow, I think I achieved something very close to the original drawing. I would recommend this pattern. It makes a lovely period piece and can be easily modified for a modern look. (Watch for my blog on the modern version!) This pattern needed minimum alterations, and the front panels went together in such a way that I was able to eliminate the front darts from my sloper.
Pattern Review Checklist
- This pattern is for a ladies skirt that reaches 2” above the natural waistline and skims the hips. It has a scallop trim on the front/side front, with button accents.
- The pattern size is listed as a 34” waist. I found this to be true to the pattern.
- The drawing of the skirt appears to be reversed in the printing process, as the pattern describes the scallop as being on the left front, but the picture shows it on the right front.
- I found the instructions very easy to follow.
- I really like the sleek line of this skirt, how it just skims the hips.
- I used a cotton/rayon blend for the skirt and crepe-backed satin for the trim and button covering.
- My alterations were for fit only.
- I would recommend this pattern for both historical costuming and modern takes.
- I like this pattern and the fit I was able to get, so I made a second, modern version. I will post that in my next blog.
VPLL #0200 Ladies Skirt Check List
- Ladies Skirt VPLL#0200
- I am an advanced sewer.
- I would rate this pattern a 5. I loved it for the ease of construction, sleek fit, and adaptability.
- A beginning sewer could make this pattern. It just requires special attention to the scallop trim.
- The instructions were very easy to follow. I don’t think the instructions need any changes. The only change I made was to use piping instead of bias tape and to cut the interfacing as one piece. The instructions could be changed to include piping instructions and an alternate seam allowance line drawn on the scallop edge of the pattern.
- The sizing was correct as stated.
- All the alterations I have described were for fit, and to maintain the original design.