Cat Skirt

Cat Skirt hanging

Greg and I will be spending a week on the beach this winter, and whenever we do that, I feel the need to make a skirt for the trip. So this past weekend, I got started on it.

The pattern I used came from the book Gertie Sews Vintage Casual by Gretchen Hirsch, which Greg gave me for Christmas. The skirt I made is the one on the cover.

Gertie2CaseMECH_r3.indd

As usual, I threw myself headlong into the project with only a vague idea of how I was going to proceed. I really need to stop doing that. Especially when sewing clothing.

I cut out the two halves of the skirt, guessing at my size rather than looking at the sizing chart. Then I decided to add a patchwork panel in the front, just for fun. I had seen something like that in a magazine, but I didn’t know if they placed the panel on the grain of the fabric or at the same angle as the flare of the skirt. With a skirt this flared, it would make a big difference. But rather than dig out the magazine, I put the panel on the grain (which seemed more stable than sewing it on the bias of the flare).

Before sewing in the lapped zipper, I tried on the skirt and could tell it was too big at the waist. So I took a little from each side seam. Then I sewed in the zipper (which ended up being a bit crooked) and tried on the skirt again. I could pinch a two-inch section of excess fabric from the waist. I must have cut out the wrong size.

First I just sewed a giant dart in the back of the skirt to eliminate the excess fabric.

Cat Skirt center dart

But that moved the side seams (and zipper) to off my sides and onto more of the back of the skirt. So I took that seam out and took in the waist the right way—at the seam.

Cat Skirt side adjustment

Next came the waistband. The pattern called for a lapped waistband, which seemed easy enough. Except I realized after it was sewn on that the longer end was wrapping toward the front of the skirt rather than toward the back.

Cat Skirt lapped waistband

My first solution was to place a snap on the waistband as the closure. Then I accordion folded the excess fabric and sewed a decorative button on top, which served to secure the folded lapped fabric and hide the stitches of the snap.

Cat Skirt closure

However, when I tried the skirt on again to take another photo of it, the button came flying off. So that wasn’t going to work. Again, I decided to do it right and make the button the closure and cut off the excess lapped fabric. My waistband was a little too narrow for the size buttonhole I needed, so I really have to force the button through the hole. While I was at it, I top stitched the waistband. Because while I don’t always have a solid plan or read the instructions thoroughly, I do insist on top stitching everything.

Cat Skirt button closure

So here’s the finished skirt. It fits well. The patchwork panel is a little odd. The angle, as I said, is with the grain of the fabric, but it is still a bit jarring. And I have to say, I didn’t intend this to be a cat skirt. I wanted a skirt with a patchwork section, and one of the fabrics I chose for that section was cat fabric, because it matched. But I pretty much have a cat skirt now.

Cat Skirt full view

Cat Skirt on

The book had all the information I needed for making the skirt, and all the information made sense. To make the skirt, though, I needed to do a lot of flipping around the book—to the zipper section, the waistband section, the hemming section. In this case, I sometimes chose to guess rather than flip, and that’s completely my fault. Next time I need to do what the instructions always say to do: Read through the whole pattern first, flipping to all necessary sections, and then start.

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