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Message Board > Fitting Woes > Where should I put this gathered skirt? ( Moderated by CarolynGM, Deepika)

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Where should I put this gathered skirt?
It makes my waist look wide :(
HanPanda
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HanPanda
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DC USA
Member since 4/27/08
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Date: 4/24/12 10:19 AM

I'm sewing a dress I have designed for myself. I have based the bodice and skirt pattern off Butterick 6582, which is from their "Retro 60's" line. I'm trying to do a 50's style dress, but this was kind of the closest I could find.

I did some research on 50s dresses, and decided I wanted to do a full skirt. The fifties had a lot of circle skirts, but the pattern I have didn't call for that. As I was still unsure of what kind of skirt I wanted, I went with what the pattern had when I made my mockup. However, it ends up making my waist look....kind of "thick." I'm pretty skinny to begin with, but someone made a good point: I'm taking a lot of fabric and squishing it around a small measurement, which adds a lot more to the waist than I think I had anticipated.

How could I go about decreasing this "widening" effect? Should I push the bodice/skirt seam down below my natural waist, maybe add a belt? I know I will be wearing a petticoat; should I make that first and put it on under my mockup and see how it looks? Or should I forego gathering a skirt altogether and try just a plain circle skirt?

I appreciate any advice you all can give. Please let me know if something I said is unclear or if you need more information. :3

------
2014 resolution: keep track of sewn yardage!!
In: 68.5 yards
Sewn: 21 yards

I'll try anything once :)

Please excuse my typos...sometimes it is harder to go back and edit on mobile than it is worth!

marec
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marec  Friend of PR
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Date: 4/24/12 10:38 AM



From reading your post, I gather (haha sewing joke) you are concerned with where your waistline seam ends up. Your waist is the narrowest part of you so fitting the bodice of the dress should take that into consideration. Do you have any photos? That would help.

Finally, with your small waist, this will be a pretty style on you, I'm sure! A belt will really draw attention to your waist.
-- Edited on 4/24/12 10:39 AM --

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my blog: http://kf-biblioblog.blogspot.com/
Sewing through my pattern stash-145
completed.

HanPanda
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HanPanda
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Date: 4/24/12 10:43 AM

I love puns

Let me know if this picture isn't particularly helpful and I can take another one.



(I didn't press the seams on the mockup, that's why the darts aren't great.) This is on my natural waist, but it makes me look a fair amount thicker than I actually am.

((also, the seam down the center is part of some of the changes I'm making to the pattern.))
-- Edited on 4/24/12 10:45 AM --
-- Edited on 4/24/12 10:45 AM --

------
2014 resolution: keep track of sewn yardage!!
In: 68.5 yards
Sewn: 21 yards

I'll try anything once :)

Please excuse my typos...sometimes it is harder to go back and edit on mobile than it is worth!

diane s
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diane s  Friend of PR
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Date: 4/24/12 12:12 PM

I don't think it's the design, I think it's the 2 different colors that meet at the waist, making an illusion of a wider waist. Try some belts on the dress form and see if that helps.

------
My grandmother taught me to sew when I was 10, and I've been sewing ever since.

HDWen
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HDWen  Friend of PR
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Date: 4/24/12 1:35 PM

Yes, 1950's were nice full skirts (after the war using ALOT of fabric was finally done)

Look at the Vintage Contest to see several ideas for attaching the top to the skirt without so many gathers -- Here are several examples (including mine of course :-)

My Vintage

Another great example

Another Great Example 2

All these use *tucks* or pleats - not gathering the skirt where it attaches - I used cutting on the bias 4 panels that gave it the fullness without the weight as well as the same type of small inner pleats I see in your top.

Hope this helps!
-- Edited on 4/24/12 1:38 PM --

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I have a great enthusium for sewing, but lack talent to be great.

2013

marec
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marec  Friend of PR
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In reply to HanPanda <<


Date: 4/24/12 3:37 PM

Thanks! The gathers are distributed evenly in your muslin, and you don't need to do that. You can add in pleats, etc to adjust where the poof will go. I think HDWen gave some wonderful examples of how to do that. Also, I read, and have started doing this---> make 3 lines of gathering stitches to get a more natural looking gather. Finally, I agree with Diane. The 2 colors are drawing the eye to the seam. A belt will soften it.

HTH, marec

------
my blog: http://kf-biblioblog.blogspot.com/
Sewing through my pattern stash-145
completed.

CM_Sews
CM_Sews
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CA USA
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Posts: 1702
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thumbsup 2 members like this.
Date: 4/24/12 5:04 PM

I stopped using gathers in most dresses that have gathers. I hate the "poofy" look. I do what I call "faux gathering". I hand pleat 1/8- to 1/4-inch pleats around the waistline. It much easier and faster than it sounds.

Here's what I do:
Pin mark both the bodice and the skirt. Put pins at the quarter mark, eighth mark, and sixteenth mark. Pin the skirt to the bodice at those marks. Now you have a bodice with the skirt pinned on and 16 "loops" of skirt fabric. Usually 16th's are enough, but you can further divide and pin if you want to.

Work in one "loop" at a time. Fold and pin small pleats or tucks in each sixteenth section. Experiment with pleat size and spacing to determine what works and looks best with the fabric you are using. I try to make the pleats small, usually no bigger than -inch although the pleats may be smaller. No need to measure, just evenly space out the pleats. The goal is to mimic gathers. Then move on to the next section and repeat until you are done.

If the skirt is much larger than the bodice, the pleats will be layered on top of one another. If the skirt is not as full, you may have pleats with some space in between. With a not-as-full skirt, make smaller pleats to better mimic gathers.

I do a machine basting stitch (large stitch length), and remove the pins. Then I flip the garment right side out and check that everything looks good on the right side. Remove individual basting stitches and adjust pleats as needed, then sew the final seam.

I find this gives me a skirt that looks gathered, but it doesn't "poof" out at the waist. The poofy look was fine when I was 6 years old, but I'm WAY past that stage of my life now.

Also, you can control the direction of the tucks/pleats. They can all go one way (left to right, right to left). You can fold the pleats towards the center line or away from the center line. If you want to move some fullness to the hips and have less over your tummy, just adjust the sixteen "loops" of skirt fabric to make the appropriate loops smaller and larger before you start pleating.

I worked with a friend on a RenFaire costume recently. The skirt had a HUGE amount of fabric gathered into the waistband. We did "faux gathering" with larger pleats in that case and it turned out quite nice.

As always, YMMV.
CMC

-- Edited on 4/24/12 9:35 PM --

marec
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marec  Friend of PR
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In reply to CM_Sews <<


Date: 4/24/12 9:08 PM

CMC, That was really helpful for me to read. I have my own poofiness now and don't need any in my skirts. I did hand pleat part of my Mexico skirt, and thought I was breaking some rule!

I'm going to try your method on my next gathered skirt.

------
my blog: http://kf-biblioblog.blogspot.com/
Sewing through my pattern stash-145
completed.

meleliza
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meleliza  Friend of PR
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Date: 4/24/12 9:17 PM

I find that a line and full skirts make me look wide at the waist. It's just the style. When I want to look my thinnest, I reach for an empire waist. I am 2 full inches smaller at the underbust than my natural waist. I think that in a full skirt, if you want your waist to look small it may help to do that by comparison. In other words, the puffer the skirt and the larger the bustline, the smaller your waist may seem. I think it also helps to be sure that then skirt hem hits at the narrowest part of the leg so the impression is given of tiny legs under the big skirt. it's hard to tell from your photo what the overall effect is. I agree with pp that the contrasting colors may be contributing to the wide look.

------
Melanie

CM_Sews
CM_Sews
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In reply to marec <<
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Date: 4/24/12 11:16 PM

Quote: marec
CMC, That was really helpful for me to read. I have my own poofiness now and don't need any in my skirts. I did hand pleat part of my Mexico skirt, and thought I was breaking some rule!



I'm going to try your method on my next gathered skirt.

I know exactly what you mean about "breaking some rule"!! It took me a few years of sewing before I realized that I could do it my way.

I don't know why I was so reluctant to do something differently than the way the pattern instructions explained it, as if I needed permission or I expected the Sewing Police to show up. Perhaps it just came with experience and more confidence on my part, and some inspiration from various sewing books. The first time I did Faux Gathering (years ago) was for a Ren Faire costume, and I thought "Why am I not doing this on my "regular" clothes?"

As for the Faux Gathering, I find that it's actually easier than gathering (sewing all those lines of gathering stitches, pulling the gathers, adjusting, adjusting, adjusting...). I'm convinced the Faux Gathering doesn't take any more time to do, and I'm much more pleased with the results.

CMC
PS: Remember, there are NO Sewing Police!!
-- Edited on 4/25/12 5:17 PM --
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