Hopefully by the time you are reading this, my penny dress will be finished and have been worn, but I thought I would share with you a quick sew that I put together to wear with it. I decided not to line the skirt of my penny dress, and it is just about opaque enough to wear as it is, but the weather has turned cooler, and for graduation I will be wearing tights so I didn’t want the cotton skirt sticking to them. My simple solution (which should also help me to stay warm) was to add a little slip or underskirt which will both add to the opacity and reduce the cling. This skirt came together in less than one evening. It helped that I had a couple of little tricks in mind to speed up the process. It is constructed almost entirely on the overlocker so the seams are sewn and finished at the same time. In fact the only time I needed to use my sewing machine was to sew the elastic waistband into a circle.
This skirt is a basic 1/4 circle skirt. I sized it large enough so that the waist would pull up past my hips which meant that I wouldn’t need any form of zip or closure. I used the classic ‘pencil on a string’ trick to draw it onto my fabric, meaning no pattern to draft or trace out, and with a bit of basic maths a skirt is born! (If you want to skip the maths, the By Hand London circle skirt calculator is great. Just make sure that you enter you hip measurement rather than your waist if you want to do it without a closure.)
I also tried out a new finishing trick for hemming. My Janome 6234XL can do a 2 two thread overlock which is great for adding a lace trim and tidying up the seamline. It was the first time I had actually used it for a project (the only other time was at an get to ‘know your overlocker’ class at the Exeter Sewing Machine Company which I would highly recommend). I was slightly surprised that my notes were sufficient to remind me what to do and how to get set up, but it turned out to be a very speedy way to achieve a hem (and we all know how huge a circle skirt hem can be!), which has the added bonus of being very attractive and decorative.
The waistband is just wide waistband elastic sewn into a circle, and then stretched to the same dimensions as the waist while it was sewn on. I did it straight on the overlocker again which seems far quicker than using the sewing machine. I think the whole thing probably took around an hour from cutting out to finishing, though it was done in a few small doses around baby feeds and dinner. Definitely one of my speediest conceived and executed projects!