Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Iris Skirt

This last weekend I made a trip down to Hobart, Tasmania to visit a friend for the weekend.  I knew it was going to be cold (which it was) so I thought I would make a special winter skirt to take with me.  But in typical Beccie fashion I didn't make it simple for myself!

I'd been dreaming for a while of making a skirt with a border of flowers and leaves.  I figured this was the ideal opportunity!  My vision was to make a grey wool circle skirt, and applique on a border of leaves and iris flowers and buds.  The first step was to sketch up some flowers to use as a template for my appliques.

Then I turned those sketches into components and traced them onto HeatBond.  I labelled and numbered each one so as not to confuse myself later.  This is when a glass top table comes in REALLY handy!

I filled up one whole sheet of HeatBond for flower bits and stems, and then I freehand drew leaves on two more sheets.

Then I cut these out into colour groups so they could be ironed onto the right coloured felt.  From there I ironed the HeatBond onto the felt, and then spent a morning in bed with my scissors cutting all the pieces out.

Then I made the skirt.  Circle skirts are such wonderful things - so quick to sew up, I just love them!

To assemble my design, which really had no plan, I decided to lay the skirt flat on the floor so I could see all of the skirt at once.

And I started by laying out the leaves.  The long ones first, and then I added the medium sized ones, and the small ones.  Each time around I tried to keep my design as random and evenly spaced as possible.

Then I laid out the flowers and buds.  It was at thisi point I realised I'd forgotten to make any stems for the large flowers.

Next problem!  I had it all laid out the way I wanted it, but I really needed to get it to my ironing board....  I got out the worlds tiniest iron and tacked all the bits down in a way I hoped would hold when I transported it to my ironing board.

And a glass of wine to keep my spirits up!

It didn't work.  When I picked it up - only 70% of it stayed put.  Sigh.

I laid it back onto the floor again and got out my proper iron.  Ironing the carpet is a really strange sensation!

And the lounge room spelt like wet sheep because I have wool carpet.

Anyway, that worked really well, and from there I was able to pick it up and put it on my ironing board and iron from the wrong side A LOT to make sure everything was stuck down.  While it was in my sewing room, I sewed bias to the hem so I could turn it up and hand sew it.

But one full packet wasn't enough.

Sigh!  So thats a hem longer than 5 metres...

Which meant a trip to Spotlight for one packet of bias.  How annoying!!

The rest was hand sewing - finishing the waistband, putting in the zipper, and turning up the hem all needed to be done by hand.  The felt leaves and flowers should probably all be hand sewn around the edge too - but I'm not insane!  And it won't be washed a great deal so I'm hoping it'll be ok.

The day before I left for Tasmania I was staying in a hotel near Sydney airport, and that's where I finished off the hand sewing, with a glass of wine or two.  Hemming wool is such a pleasurable experience!  Much nicer than hemming cotton or gaberdine!

I can't wait to show you this skirt being worn - its so beautiful!



  1. Your skirt is just gorgeous! I can't wait to see it on you. I bet it's lovely. :)

  2. This is just amazing! can you do a tutorial on how you use bias tape to hem your circle skirts, this is something i always have a hard time with you yours is always so perfect.

  3. Gorgeous as always and this skirt is just so you! Love it!

  4. This is gorgeous! I'm so amazed, and I think you're right about just ironing the flowers on. Hand sewing would be death. They look lovely as they are! I can't wait to see it on!

  5. I like this. More importantly, I am encouraged from the vision of you in the skirt. Truly whenever I think of full circle skirts (and some that I see) people look so B I G in them thus as a RTW size 18, even larger than that me-made I have shyed away from full circle skirts opting instead for 1/2 or even 1/4 circle skirts.

    This is lovely on you (just like Tuppence Ha'Penny). I now have a couple petticoats but guess I don't have the hutzpuh to ADD the fullness of the p'coat in addition to these 46" hips.

    A lovely vision, indeed, Beccie



  6. Wow! Honestly this is an amazing piece of art. I would be to afraid to wear it. I can't tell you how inspired I am by this beautiful work.

  7. So fabulous! A brilliant idea and expertly done!

    It's spring here and I have purple irises just like these blooming in my yard. :D

  8. That looks absolutely gorgeous! I think I need to add a full wool skirt to my to-be-sewn list. Only question, is the waistband itchy? I have a wool-blend skirt and it's pretty itchy on my skin.

  9. Beautiful! Can't wait to see it on.

  10. Oh my that is stunning! Love the idea, and the result!

    I've ironed on carpet before - it's rather strange isn't it?!

  11. that is stunning - really really gorgeous. i adore the even spacing and the grey background is so subtle...... fantastic and so much work

  12. Oh my... what a beautiful skirt! You have done an amazing job!!!

  13. This skirt looks fantastic. Can't wait to see it on.

  14. Hi, Love this skirt. You are very talented. Your blog is inspiring.
    Here is link to a pattern on e-bay with picture of a dress that reminded me of your skirt ~.

  15. wow, so clever, very cute!