the highly irrational skirt

This past week was perhaps not the best week to make a whole outfit. Maybe I secretly wanted a back-to-school getup, even though I haven’t been back to school in five years. Or maybe I have to chalk it up to vanity because I wanted a new ensemble to wear while I taught a lesson in church yesterday. This past week was a full one, and my determination to pump out a skirt and blouse borders on insanity. But I’ll go with irrational, to make my mania sound better. Yes, irrational sounds about right.


But irrational is worth it for an outfit that is almost exactly how I pictured it in my head. I wanted something reminiscent of vintage but still something that you would see in an Anthropologie catalog or something. (Hashtag delusional.) Basically I had a vision for this look, and having a vision for your sewing always helps the outcome, even if that vision is a little pretentious.



I’ve been pining for a chiffon skirt for a while now, and mustard chiffon was on my fabric shopping list in Denver. I stumbled on this huge bolt of mustard, pin-dot chiffon for $0.99 a yard, and I swore I heard angels singing when I found it. The bolt was so discounted, though, because the lower third of the fabric had these bluish striations all along it. So I bought five yards (several more than I needed) and decided to test my luck. Because a pleated skirt requires some wide pattern pieces anyway, I wasn’t able to completely avoid the imperfections in the fabric. But I mostly did, and mostly was good enough for this wannabe vintage girl.

Now the thing about chiffon is that it’s slippery. I really wish that I’d had some fabric stabilizer to use, but I didn’t, and so handling the fabric from cutting to hemming was difficult. Next time, fabric stabilizer will definitely be a factor in the process.

This version of the skirt has a lining to it, and so I marked the pleats on only the lining. (By the time you get to constructing the pleats, you’re already treating the lining and shell as one piece.) My lining wasn’t so easy to work with, but it was certainly easier than working with solely the chiffon. The zipper, though? The zipper gave me hell. Hell. I stayed up until one in the morning one night picking stitches and restitching and then repicking. Six times I reinstalled that zipper. SIX TIMES. And it still flopped.


See the wonky business in the back seam? That’s the funk I futilely kept trying to remedy. I thought I had it made when I thought to use fusible stay tape on the zipper seam, but even that didn’t fix it. So by 12:45 in the morning I decided to let it be, and then I went to the kitchen to make myself some cocoa. If any of you know chiffon zipper magic, let me know. Seriously, though, I need to know the magic.


The skirt ended up being a tad big (which I’ll chalk up to the slippery chiffon and some resultant too-small pleats), so I didn’t have room to insert a traditional buttonhole. I improvised and made a loop-buttonhole, and I like it. (The zipper was supposed to match the mustard, but I ruined that zipper. Alas.)


I put a narrow hem on the skirt, and I really like how it made the skirt flare a little. I finished this skirt on Friday afternoon. Then I started on the blouse Friday night, so everything would be ready for me by Sunday. (This blouse merits a post all its own, so stay tuned.) Like I said, last week was highly irrational. Almost crazy.



***Specs: I made a Colette Pattern’s Zinnia skirt, version 3, size 10. I sewed it up in a silk/poly blend chiffon, with a poly lining. I have another Zinnia skirt in a polka-dot ITY knit (which I treated like a woven and which actually worked), and the waist fits great. The waist on this was a little big, but like I said, that’s almost certainly user error. I love this pattern and don’t plan to retire this design any time soon.

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  1. Melynda
    Posted September 8, 2014 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    you are adorable, I wish I had some zipper magic for you… it turned out great and I love the button hole!

  2. Melissa H
    Posted September 10, 2014 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Have you ever changed the foot pressure on your machine? That is supposed to help with slippery fabrics. I love the skirt.

    • Charlotte
      Posted September 17, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Thanks! And thank you for the sewing suggestion. I’ll definitely try that next time I tackle chiffon!

  3. Allison
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Do you happen to know the manufacturer of the chiffon?? I’m on the hunt for pin dot chiffon. Thank you 🙂

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