Fluttering Skirt



As a kid at the seaside I used to be fascinated by rubbery hats adorned with large fluttery flowers worn by the kind of slowly-swimming ladies who didn’t like getting their hair wet. My mother had a different kind of hat, though equally fascinating, as it made your head look like a hedgehog.  She never wore it but I did, indoors, and can still remember the feeling of patting my hands over the hundreds of bendy spines as the hat gripped snugly around my head.1-flutter-skirt

When I found this fabric (£5 per metre in Rashid’s Fabric House on Goldhawk Road) I was delighted – it immediately evoked the swimming caps of yesterday!  Admittedly the colour is black but there is no sobriety to this fabric whatsoever. The flowers flutter excitedly as I move!

I decided to turn it into a skirt.  It’s an atypical choice: I’ve always sought to detract from my sagging saddlebags by keeping the silhouette below the waist smooth.  But having shrunk in recent years and with the recent craze for decent derrieres, I’ve decided it would be fun and mould-breaking to build up a little in that department!

It’s a pencil cut with a kick pleat at the back.  I lined it as the poplin is rather thin.

The base fabric is cotton, a light poplin. The flowers must be polyester: they’re very lightweight, sharply cut and don’t fray.  Since buying this fabric in June I’ve seen similar flowers used in rather unsophisticated RTW, as detail on a shirt front for example.

Each flower is attached in its centre by a couple of small stitches which I suspect are also backstitched as they take some time to unpick..  And I would advise to unpick: catching the petals in the seams would not look good so it’s helpful to use the sequin-sewing approach of removing attachments from the seamlines before sewing.  But unlike with sequins, I was able to move some petals temporarily out of the way by basting them folded back and removing the basting once the stitching was done.  I also removed the flowers from joined pieces in places where two flowers would overlap.  1-flutter-flowers

While I was in Canada in July, my aunt and I had a laugh on the topic of being handed  hand-me downs, something of a tradition amongst Croatians.  She then offered me some of her mostly new or hardly worn clothes which I accepted because she has great taste but also because I thought it would keep a kind of connection across the ocean every time I wear her things.  This silk top is one of my favourites from her stash.  It looks peach but is dusky pink.  It’s very understated, unlike the skirt.  I wore this outfit to the Tate last weekend and the skirt raised a smile with a couple of passers-by.  I wonder if they were reminded of swimming caps!


But wait, there’s another connection to Canada.  In Ottawa’s Museum of War I saw this Tlingit Armour, a leather shirt covered in Chinese coins which provide protection while signifying status.  It must shake some, huh?  It reminded me of my skirt: like a po-faced, less frivolous brother.1-vest-with-coins

17 thoughts on “Fluttering Skirt

  1. I love the fluttery skirt – did it work to create a ‘decent derrière’. Do tell – I haven’t had one of those for a few years now. No balancing full wine glasses on mine I’m afraid 🙁 Your aunt’s simple but chic top looks perfect with it too.
    I remember my auntie Queenie used to wear one of those flowery swimming hats – (only when swimming of course) – I always thought of her as very glamorous. The spiky one reminds me of the rubber gizmo I use to groom the dogs with and I hope they enjoy the sensation as much as you used to.

    • Oh, I would have been so in awe of your Auntie Queenie! And yes, the derriere is more substantial now and it ‘shakes’ more too 🙂

  2. Cute. Makes me think of a flapper dress (skirt portion), especially in black. I think when the texture is all over it adds interest without removing the streamlined effect of a pencil skirt. I have often thought I would like to have a fringed skirt, maybe in deep burgundy. Hmmm…some thing to think about.

  3. I can’t see the details Marijana, perhaps my eyes have died?! I regret so much not having used petersham for my daughter’s skirt recently and would have loved to see the inside of your finished waistband. Any chance of a sneak peak luv?
    In the olden days we wore those caps for school swimming lessons, they were replaced by, what appear to be, not very interesting coloured condoms – bring back the flower hats I say!

    • Hi Lesley, it’s not petersham as such but….. the ribbon of a medal I got for one of my races (which I didn’t I win or anything; they give this to everyone, but that’s another story).

      Is it the method you’re interested in (in which case I can do a tutorial)? Or just to see? If the latter, I’ll take a photo or two next daylight and update the post xx

  4. I really like the material and the skirt too. I must admit that if you hadn’t mentioned it I would have never thought about those silly bathing caps. But I do remember them.What would you call that fabric if I were to look for it?

  5. As children we used to wear said swimming caps while riding our pushbikes totally believing them to be helmets and we were riding motorbikes!

    Gorgeous skirt and I like its fluttering with the plain top.

    • That’s one of the most shocking statements I’ve hear about the past, along with: ‘sure we used to chuck rubbish out of the car window’ and ‘we used to give babies laudanum so they’d be less trouble…”

      What a great image though!

  6. I think that skirt looks great. The flowers are delightful! I remember those bathing hats too. I had a silly hat but always tried to avoid having to wear it. I certainly wouldn’t have been seen on my bike pretending it was a helmet – I was horrified that anyone may see me in it!
    Was the Tate visit for the Georgia O’keefe exhibition? I’m hoping to get to that next weekend, but the Tate definitely deserves to be explored.

    • Yes, and I will write about Georgia O’K. It’s worth seeing but I had my own half-marathon the next day so being on my feet for hours Saturday afternoon wasn’t the best policy.

  7. That reminds me of the ruffle knits they still sell here in the States. The shorts that were made out of them for small children such as myself in the day, my mother called rumba pants. Certainly an accent to the badonk that all small children need to have called out.
    I seem to have survived my tragic upbringing, badonk intact.

    • I’ve just googled badonk.

      I can’t believe I’ve got to the age I am without previously learning of the ‘bedonk’

      A life half lived.

      Methinks I need to buy me some of those baby ruffle pants!! 🙂

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