Asymmetric Skirt

1 Asymmetry1 sportsmax green leather skirtThis style of faux-wrap, double-fronted design has been on my radar for a while, ever since  I snapped a Sportmax green leather number in a waiting-room magazine (in November 13, the camera roll suggests).  Imagine that buttersoft, slippery leather (and the colour is a feast for the eyes)!  But so expensive!  My version – made of a polyester/viscose blend with a kind of shiny, tarry finish – cost £6, plus thread and zip.  🙂

I’m keeping it real.

Hence the washing on the line…

1 interrogation suits

I haven’t had to dip into my winter wardrobe much as the weather has been mild.  However, last month while getting ready for an evening at Kate’s, I opened my ‘drawer of black tights’ and found so many imperfect-but-not-quite-destroyed pairs that I decided some short skirts might be necessary in order to retire (to borrow the term from Blade Runner) each pair till it’s bin-ready.  This is a practical style, almost perfect for my needs (see end).  It’s short but not obviously so due to the varying hem length (which you can adapt to taste).  Construction’s easy too, the basic skirt block or a pencil skirt pattern being the starting point (with a centre back zip and waist facing).  The split front enables walking ease without the need for lining so making it is quick.

Drafting

1 Begin with the basic skirt block but narrow your pattern pieces towards the hem.

1 Begin with the basic skirt block but narrow your pattern pieces towards the hem (see first note below).

2 Copy skirt front. With darts closed, restyle your inner front, being as daring as you like.

2 Copy skirt front. With darts closed, restyle your inner front, being as daring as you like.

3 Copy the front again and restyle outer front to complement the inner front. You don't have to create a dipped hem but its very fashionable you know!

3 Copy the front again and restyle outer front to complement the inner front. You don’t have to create a dipped hem but it’s very fashionable, you know!  NB See last note regarding grainline placement.

Notes:

  • Redraw the sides of your basic block to hug the figure as closely as possible  i.e. narrow the block towards the hem.  You’ll still be able to walk due to the front split.  However, if you keep the vertical side seams of the basic block, the result with be a more flared, A-line silhouette like on my skirt.
  • Do decide whether to hem the back and the two fronts before attaching them to each other, or to leave the hemming till the end in which case the hem allowances will have to drafted equally all the way around  (i.e. if the skirt back has a 3cm hem allowance, you’ll have to draw this for the dipping hem too.
  • .I have deliberately made this to look like the front is dipping down.  You can exaggerate this more (be bold) or change to a straight hem like in the leather skirt.
Grainline options: from barmy (blue) to boring (green)
Grainline options: from barmy (blue) to boring (green)

 

  • It would be a shame to place a dipped pattern piece on the straight grain (green arrow).  Use a patterned fabric or napped fabric and play around.  I think the desired effect is meant to look a bit like a kilt left open or a tea-towel tucked into the waistband that’s slipping off!
  • Remember to stay-stitch diagonal lines to prevent stretching (why not chalk a line and staystitch before cutting from your fabric?)

1 with two peas ina pod

The only thing I’m not happy about is the itchy waist: my tights have an annoying tendency to slip down.  Hopefully, once I start wearing more layers I can tuck something in, to shield me from £6 a metre mock wool!

Or I might attempt this again in neoprene or scuba which I’ve never sewn before: do let me know if you have any experience of sewing or wearing these fabrics.  December update: neoprene and scuba won’t work for this (see comments below).

27 thoughts on “Asymmetric Skirt

  1. I’m doing a pattern cutting course at the moment, and this week we have to come up with a skirt idea we’d like to make from our blocks. I may just steal this – I was looking for an asymmetric style to copy, and it looks fab!

    • Great. Please let me know how it goes. Maybe your tutor can throw some ideas or considerations into the mix!

      I like the sound of your course. If everyone comes up with a different idea, you can learn from each other.

  2. My daughter was looking for a pattern for a skirt just like this not long ago. I shall point her in your direction. She (plus me a bit) used some scuba fabric to make her costume – Princess Zelda – for Comicon. It is a slightly weird fabric but is easy to work with, doesn’t fray and is nicely body hugging which was good in her case as she made the tabard/tunic thingy with it which then fitted over the yards of satin she used for the skirt. Maybe somebody else will have used scuba for a dress or skirt. ‘How would it hang?’ would be my question. 😮

    • Oooh, oooh! Check out the reversible 2 colour scuba on fabricgodmother.co.uk – the purple/orange one would look really funky (a little too funky for a woman of my age, but great on a youngster ?)

    • Neoprene and scuba do not hang, they stand. There is no drape, and it is hella hot to wear (watch the cosplayers faint in the suits!). There is stretch, so light curves work, but you have to ‘butt’ the seams (no overlapping) and the material is going to tell you what to do with it.
      It is great for corsets, fake armor plating, or anything you don’t need to bend in. Lacing it together could make some truly great stuff (like those ‘disc’ dresses ala Paco Rabanne. It is a building material, which could make some insanely cool stuff, but it’s a build, not a sew.
      In this skirt, the overlap in the front will open right up when you sit down.

      • You must be a superhero (and probably have a costume to prove it, in neoprene)! You’ve saved me from another epic fail. Thanks. I will now edit the post in case someone else gets the idea.

  3. The skirt is brilliant Marianna. Is that a Blade Runneresque noir inspired moody look on your face?!! Well I have recently had cause to wear both neoprene and scuba (one in the same I thought) as I snorkelled on the stunning Ningaloo reef in Western Australia. I can vouch for it non itchiness and recommend it to you. In fact should you have cause to don a wetsuit, a neoprene skirt would make a very fancy addition. Thanks for the great tutorial. If I’d paid closer attention to #1 son during his finals I could offer a suitable Blade Runner quote, but alas, alack I was but the bearer or sustenance and hand holder!

    • It does look a bit bleak and futuristic, that whole look! Accidental though. I think I was quarrelling with the photographer. As you know, they don’t always get it, this whole business of sewing blog photography.

  4. Marianna, This is very interesting and I like that even I can understand your tutorials!

    I used to be the “pencil skirt” lady in my office for many years, although in the last two I have worn pants almost exclusively. I find I get cold in skirts as my new office is chilly, although I wonder if in part I was just sick of pencil skirts. I like this as an alternative, as in a longer length it could be sexy without being too revealing. It’s quite interesting.

    Re. Sportmax. I have been meaning to post pictures of a Sportmax dress that I have that is so interesting. It has a bias cut wool plaid column in a subtle blue and black plaid, lightweight wool jersey fitted sleeves attaching to a square-necked bodice, and two long seams along the bum (princess bum seams? :)…I have no idea if there is a name for that..) that are gathered but follow the curves. Who would have thought that bum gathers could be flattering, but in fact they are. It’s probably the only snugly-fitting, revealing piece of clothing I own. My admin assistant always orders me to wear more clothes like that when I wear it, which is on a very very rare occasion. In fact, I don’t even know what comes over me when I wear it as I wear it with a giant black leather belt with a diamond-shaped clasp. So not shrinking-violet me! 🙂

    • We need to see this (though I can imagine the dress you describe – it sounds very sirenish)! I like the sound of the diamond clasp.

  5. They have some very nice embossed scuba in Simply Fabrics in Brixton at on £4. I bought the same fabric about a year ago from an online retailer (for a lot more than £4) and used it to make a light weight coat. It was dream to sew and I left the edges raw. I think it would be perfect for a skirt like this.

  6. It is my plan to wear more skirts with tights this winter and was looking for inspiration. Your skirt looks great, and the mock wrap is perfect for any windy weather as you don’t get the embarrassing exposure a full wrap risks. Great, and very understandable, pattern cutting tutorial too.

    • True, though I’ve just been to a lecture where for the first time in ages I had to sit on a chair without the cover of a table or desk and…. let’s just say I put a book over my lap!

  7. I soooo want to have a go at a skirt like this, I LOVE yours!
    I’ve just finished a dress in scuba. It was easy to sew but it’s spongy nature wasn’t perfect for some of the finer collar and hem details on the vintage pattern that I used.
    I’m keen to have another go though!

  8. I love this! It’s sooort of like the Osaka from Colette and Seamwork Magazine. I’ve just printed the pattern and will use it along with your design ideas, it’s super wearable for all ages.
    G

    • Thanks Genevieve.

      Osaka is nice!

      I’ve been told on (Sewing PR) that it’s also like Simplicity 1370 but there’s not substitute for starting off with something that you know fits you.

  9. I love your skirt and may have to make one myself. I’m thinking using different fabrics as contrast pieces could be interesting?
    I recently made a skirt with scuba fabric and it was the quickest skirt I’ve ever made. I used a zig zag stitch and hemmed with a double needle and cut off the excess after. It doesn’t fray which is brill!

  10. Lovely, lovely. Well worth developing this a little. I would have tried to eliminate the darts or at least some of them – this would be good if you go with leather or scuba. And I have seen the embossed scuba in Simply Fabrics and it looks a bit like polystyrene ceiling tiles from 1970s rented apartments. The grey and navy is quite nice however. Anyway great look and super tutorial.

    When I saw the first picture I thought it was a short wrap skirt over skinny jeans, which is quite a nice look I think. One way I can wear a mini skirt, and cover up my large rear. It could also be a way using up very small left over bits of fabric – could use a contrasting overwrap?

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