The Ruffle Pencil Skirt (aka Why a skirt needs darts)

Self Drafted Ruffle Skirt
Ruffle Skirt Version 2

I made the first version of this skirt last year.  It was my first thing I had made after a 20 or more year hiatus on sewing for me.  And then I lost 10 or 12 kgs or so.  So its been sitting in the wardrobe waiting to be seriously taken in.  I finally got around to doing it this week and what I learning curve it was.

I decided in my wisdom (ie: I don’t have a clue) that the darts were not really needed, after all, why couldn’t I just take it in extra at the sides.  This was brought about by sheer laziness on my part as the revamp meant I needed to take in the sides, re-install the invisible side zipper, take up the hem by a good couple of inches and also move the darts.  So I thought, lets just skip a step, take out the darts and then I just need to take in the sides.

Things were going swimmingly until I installed the zipper.  I tried the skirt on and WOW, that zipper bubbled and bumped its way up my hip.  It looked pretty awful.  Unwearable.  So I ripped it out and tried again.  Nope, still awful.  Then I stumbled across this fantastic tutorial and realised WHY WE NEED DARTS.

When I had taken in the side seams and essentially moved the darts into the side seam, I was left with a pretty dramatic curve on the side seams from hip to waist.  The grain of the fabric went from being cut on the straight to cut on the bias just across that section of the skirt.  So when the zip went in it bubbled.  Badly.  Lightbulb moment: darts maintain the grain of the fabric and help it to curve around our body evenly and without distorting the fabric.

It was pretty tricky to fix as I had already serged/overlocked the seams.  I ended up unpicking the side seams from hip to waist, and resewing so they taper right up to the serged edge.  Then I had to take almost 2 inches off the top of the waist to widen the waist, if that makes sense.

I put in tiny darts front and back (this video was very helpful to get the placement and length right). And installed the zipper again (I think in total I put the zipper in a total of 5 times.  Thats a record for me).

The lining also had to be totally remade, but worth every effort.  The silk feels great to wear.  This time I machine sewed the lining to the invisible zipper, which gives a really professional finish.

I think its fixed.  I actually made a mistake in the waist curve but to quote my mother, “A blind man would be glad to see it”.

Self Drafted Ruffle Skirt
Love the girly girl-ness of this skirt
Self Drafted Ruffle Skirt
The inside of the skirt, showing the silk lining and seams