A cold front has made its way down to us here in Texas, and I must say that it’s pretty fantastic. Finally, it’s boot-wearin’ weather! I’m more of a summer girl myself, but I can certainly appreciate a few months of chilly weather. It’s worth noting that it makes my 12-mile daily bike rides that much more enjoyable!
I chose this pattern because I loved the design (hello, big skirt!) and because I knew I would get a lot of use out of it. I had to start with some basic colors because I was filling a need in my closet, but this skirt is begging to be made in bright colors and prints. It’s gorgeous. I have a lovely Christmas-y floral twill that I think I will make next.
I had a dream about a skirt once. It was big and fluffy and ladylike and whimsical and fabulous. It had nothing to do with the cheap versions I was seeing online, with just a few layers of tulle and a poorly constructed waistband and cheap polyester lining. No, what I wanted was going to be bigger and better. After making it I thought it might be fun to test it in one of my collections, to see if customers responded to it. It became one of the most popular items I ever sold, and I still get asked about it quite often. So, there’s no better time to share a few things about how to make one for yourself! A good tutorial about working with tulle may be out there, but all I’ve been able to find is something about elastic and the back of a chair and a glue gun and. . . you lost me. I’m not blogging about couture over here, but I don’t believe in investing time in a poorly executed project either. The good stuff is always worth the time.
Here’s what you need to know about this skirt and what I’m going to cover in this post:
Let’s get started! Back in September, I wrote a post on how to draft your own circle skirt pattern, which is what we use for this skirt. If you’re not thrilled about drafting your own, you can always buy a commercial pattern that is similar and adjust it for your size.
You’ll need your pattern, tulle, a zipper, thread, fabric for your waistband (I use sateen or twill, but anything substantial will work beautifully), interfacing for the waistband, and lining on which to sew the tulle. If you decide to line the skirt as well (I always do), you’ll need to double this amount. I usually get 8 yards of a quilting cotton and cut the lining on the crossgrain because it’s usually only 45″ wide. Works like a charm.
There’s something so charming about a wrap dress. I designed one in my very first collection, and even now it stands out as one of my favorites. It had short sleeves and a layered, asymmetrical skirt and a sash belt, and I loved it. (See the bottom of this post for photos.) It was part a spring/summer collection, so we made it in a delicious linen/rayon blend that moved so elegantly and felt even better on. The dress was sold in a sample sale at some point, and I never got around to making one for myself. I’ve never forgotten about that style though, and I finally had some time last spring to make one–and I didn’t have to draft a pattern!
The thing about drafting a pattern for a wrap dress or top is that there’s contouring involved–a process whereby the pattern is manipulated to lie against the body without gaping open. It’s a consideration for any garment with a low neckline or cutouts, and it can be tedious and a pain. There’s a reason why so many wrap dress styles are done in knit fabrics; the stretch factor helps ensure a better fit. That said, I still love wrap dresses in woven fabrics–I just didn’t want to invest all the time required to draft the pattern myself. In my search for one, I got really, really lucky.
Butterick 5030 is the ultimate wrap dress pattern for wovens, and when I make it in red for the holiday season, it will be the third time I’ve made it. The fit is excellent (no adjustments needed), but I did make a few small design changes: I added a cuff to the sleeve, increased the flare in the skirt, and drafted a lining. I have a hard time not lining things, especially dresses like this. It just looks more professional and polished to me. I made it in blue cotton for spring and navy for fall.