I spent the weekend developing the idea of combining hemp fabric, shisha mirrors and trim into a circle skirt. It’s important to start a project with an open mind and plenty of ideas, right? Yohji Yamamoto says “Are you listening? The fabric has much to teach us.”
After a year in my cupboard, this piece of white bottom weight hemp decided to become a long, full skirt. I drafted a basic circle skirt as per The Equator Collection tutorial.
I folded the pattern so I could cut it to a certain length, figuring I could round out the corners once I had the general shape correct. The folded pattern piece reminded me of snipping paper snowflakes. I already had an uneven hemline in mind as a possibility, so I thought I’d try this shape. If I didn’t like the effect, I could always just round out the skirt.
I re-folded the fabric, played with the pattern pieces, and eventually this cutting layout came to be. The side seams of the skirt lie along the straight of grain. One of the edges has a slight concave curve. I didn’t intend it, but I thought I’d wait and see before trimming it completely straight.
So beautifully did it fall, I could not in good conscience stitch the suddenly very tawdry looking trim to the fabric. I’ll use it for something else, another time. Hemp loves to drape in dense, heavy folds. I want to leave the spotlight on the draping qualities of the fabric without gaudy distraction.
I used an invisible zip, felled the other seams and used a double fold rolled hem on the bottom edge. Hemp likes simple, tough seams the best. No fancy tailoring for hemp. I basted 1/4″ from the raw edge and pressed along the basting. The corners overlapped, so I cut off a tiny piece of the corner to reduce bulk, then stitched it down. I refolded and pressed, and stitched once more. It’s a sturdy hem.
My technique will evolve as I stitch the mirrors, I have 11-15 more. They won’t be an obvious design feature, more a sparkle you catch with the corner of your eye.
I need some lightweight cotton voile to line it. The only cotton lining I have is a ridiculous shade of kelly, all wrong for this collection (and besides, it may still lose dye). I can’t find any in my regular fabric haunts, either. It seems all the voile in Brisbane disappeared! I’m sure to find some this week.
Thanks so much for your kind words on my gauchos. They’re perfectly wearable, and I plan to refine the pattern and try again. Maybe in January.
Question: What’s everyone’s favorite type of neckline for a knit top? I’d like to know…. Up next- more kimono-style sleeve treatments than you can shake a stick at.