Houston Dress - Circle Skirt Question Round-up
There seems to be some interest in the circle skirt and the details you must attend to when making one which has generated some questions that I'd thought I'd answer today. Unless you sew vintage, you might not have encountered a true circle skirt. I do not see a lot of patterns on the market today with such skirts - I'm sure they exist, but it is not an overriding theme of fashion these days.
Rachelle wanted to know, "When you're hanging the skirt to let the bias set, is there any benefit to adding some weight to the bottom of the dress to see if you can help the process along, or would that just warp the fabric completely?" I really don't see any advantage to this and I think it might be difficult to figure out how to do. Once the garment is complete, it will only be under it's own weight anyway, so it is best just to let it hang out that way to begin with.
Natalija asked this question, "Did you stay-stitch the waist? Did you stitch the back seam?" This is a very important question and I meant to include the answer in yesterday's post and didn't seem to do so. Yes, I did stay-stitch the waist. That is one part of the skirt I do not want to stretch out of shape. If it becomes stretched out of shape it will not fit together properly with the bodice when the dress is assembled. I did stitch both side seams - the seams are at the sides in this particular dress. You can see the stay-stitching in the photo below.
Continuing on with the topic of the seams, Vicki wanted to know, "If you use the selvedge for the seam, won't that distort the bias drop in that area?" The selvedge is actually on the lengthwise grain and has very little give or stretch if at any at all. The areas that will drop the most are the ones shown in the red zone diagram below - these are the areas mostly on the bias. I have observed this in other skirts - most notably the FMK dress recently. The side seams were fine, center front and center back (both on the cross grain) stretched less than 1/2" (1cm), but the areas in the red zones, stretched over 1 1/2" (3cm). It was very obvious just looking at the dress on the dress form what had happened.
Regarding the pretreatment of the fabric, Jan asked, "Because of the test you did with this fabric does that mean you intend on having this garment dry cleaned, or did you hand wash the entire 6 yards of fabric?" I intend to hand wash the garment and hang to dry as needed. I did wash the entire 6 yards of fabric. To do so, I filled my washing machine with cold water and added the Woolite. I then put the entire piece into the washer to let it soak. I let the machine agitate for only a few minutes and then set the machine to finish the cycle with the final rinse and spin. This way I didn't have to deal with wringing out 6 yards of fabric! I then hung it to dry in my laundry room.
I hope to cut out the bodice tomorrow and get to work on it this weekend!
Parting Shot: Approval. Kiwi seems to approve of the green fabric, too. It was hard to keep her off the fabric while trying to cut out the large skirt.