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GYPSY SKIRT RECON 2010
This is the original skirt:

This project started with my fellow bellydancer showing me a skirt she was planning on using for a performance with a troupe. It was a skirt that was provided for her, and it needed to be lengthened. Her idea was to add a bit of fabric to the top just to make it longer, though she admitted that it was uneven and it did bother her a little. I took one look at it and snatched it out of her hands, declaring that I would fix it. She thought I meant I would add to it properly, with a ruffle at the bottom, but I knew I couldn't let it go at that. I mean, look at that thing! Who thought that dark floral fabric had any place in this skirt? (Note: the floral fabric, in and of itself, is not the most hideous fabric I've ever seen. There are projects I can even see using it. This was not one of them.)

First order of business was to rip it all apart. While this was easy, mindless work, it still took a great deal of time. Still, that's what TV is for, yes? I sat on the bed and ripped out miles of hem (later, when I added a decorative hem to a 25-yard skirt I would realize what miles of hemming is really like, but at the time this seemed like a ton of fabric - now I know sewing around the bottom of a skirt that has 46 yards of hem is far, far worse). When I had finished pulling out all of the seams (except the one around the waistband) I finally confessed to her my intention. I brought the ripped-apart skirt and my proposed new fabrics to class on day.

One of the girls in the class nixed the pink. She didn't like it, and I agreed to leave it out, though I thought it went well. She also had the brilliant idea to construct a tie/sash to pay homage to the original skirt design. Something subtle, with just the right amount of that (ugh) floral fabric.

So I went to work on the skirt - and quickly found what was making the whole thing lopsided. The skirt was made out of a short circle skirt with two rows of gathered tiers. The problem was that the circle skirt was only a 'circle' in the loosest possible interpretation of the word 'circle'. And it wasn't an intentionally wave/uneven circle, it was a wonky circle the likes that would be drawn by a dizzy, blindfolded person with no artistic skill. This is how uneven the hem was:

And this is how much I had to cut off to get it close to even (I'm not saying mine is perfect, but it's a lot closer!):

Now came time to make the ruffles. I stupidly started out doing it the only way I knew how - long running stitches you pull and gather. Of course, I had to do it in short segments, and it's bloody difficult to gather perfectly evenly, and there was so much to do I was beginning to despair, and then... then I bought a ruffling foot. Oh. My. God. It is the most amazing thing ever. I slapped that puppy on the machine and away I went, churning out yard after yard of perfect ruffles in the blink of an eye. In short: don't ruffle without one of these:

Best $26 I've spent in a long time. Away I went ruffling! Then I tackled the sash. Let me tell you, I'm not fond of applique. I do not have the patience for it!

the beading, on the other hand, I quite enjoyed. I don't have a great picture of the finished ends of the sash, but this is cropped from the final skirt pic (amazing how well the beads I had laying around worked perfectly with it!):

So, sash completed I presented the 'finsihed' (it still needed to be hemmed) skirt to my friend.

Unfortunately, it wasn't quite long enough for her liking. Plan C became Plan A and we added the pink fabric back into the mix. Just a small little ruffle at the bottom. She came over to my house and we worked on it, and I showed her the wonder that is the ruffling foot. Then I added a row of decorative stitching along the seam for the pink ruffle, to hold the serged edge up and (hopefully) keep the stiffer pink edge from flipping up.

And that was that! The new skirt, in all its glory (not modeled by the (much thinner and taller) intended recipient, so yes, it looks over-long and a little off):


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