After completing my first Young Frankenstein: Peasant Girl #1 costume I was having a good time and decided I needed to make a thrift store run to look for some inspiration. I was hoping to find some white shirts, and maybe a vest or two, and some skirt possibilities. I really liked the border tablecloth and thought just maybe, I might get lucky. No luck on the border tablecloth, but I did find this almost-circle skirt.
The skirt has some really interesting construction details. You can see the unusual seam lines. The yoke is cut at an angle, and then the triangles are inserted which gives added fullness. The intermittent lace adds some visual interest the the technicque used to cut it to create the large pattern is worth remembering. The skirt was only 26″ long, so I wanted to add about 10″ to the bottom. I didn’t want a ruffle, so that meant adding curved pieces. I lay the fabric out and made sure I had adequate space all around. I then cut a 10″ wide circular piece, matching the curve of the original skirt.
I took the skirt off the fabric, and cut the top edge, adding a 1/2″ for the overlap. I used the first piece as the pattern to cut the next pieces (it is a little hard to see, but you can see the lower edge). My fabric is a knit and so I was able to flip the curve the other direction to save fabric. The advantage to using a knit is that the edges don’t ravel, so there was no need to hem this piece.
I sewed all the curved pieces together in one long strip, but did not sew them together. I stitched the red addition to the skirt, right side to wrong side. The advantage to doing it this way is that there is no need to trim and clip that long curved seam.
When I begin stitching I start in about 1/2″. This will eventually be the seam allowance. When you have stitched around to meet the starting point, line up fabric up, and beginning at the bottom, stitch the ends together, then trim off any excess.
You will notice I am sewing with white thread. This is on the inside of the costume–no one will see the stitching. I sew about 90% of the time with either black or white thread. If you are making a see-up-close costume, you may want to coordinate thread color. A stage costume, however, will be seen from enough distance that you can minimize matching colors. The other thing I will do is use a color in the top and white or black in the bobbin. These basic colors can be purchased in large cones, and the more expensive colors can be saved for when it makes a difference.
For the waistband, I used the existing skirt and lining to make a simple casing.
The skirt closes with a zipper so I didn’t want a drawstring. I cut slits on either side of the zipper opening to insert elastic. One end I stitched the elastic down close to the edge. On the other side I cut the slit a bit in from the edge. The end of the elastic lies on top of the casing for the last bit. This allows easy access to the elastic so that it can be pulled tighter and pinned as needed.
I trimmed the skirt with black braid along the top and bottom of the red border (you can’t see the bottom as it blends into the back drop, but, it looks nice).
My skirt is done:
While I was admiring the skirt, I became more intrigued with the seam lines, and so, on an ambitious impulse (I should have counted the wedges first), I added more black braid.
I like how this looks, and I am anticipating seeing how it looks onstage. However, I think it looks a little more like something Marion Paroo would wear in “Music Man” than a peasant skirt. Regardless, after sewing all that braid on I certainly wasn’t going to take it OFF!
Next I picked out of one the blouses I picked up at the thrift store:
I did a very simple modification to this top. I added some red floral lace to the sleeves and neckline, and then added some pregathered eyelet trim to the end of the sleeves.
Using the discarded bottom of a pant leg (leftover from making upcyled Bloomers! So Quick! (Upcycle) I made a little apron. For this one, I threaded some elastic through the existing pant hem, and just plan to pin it to the waistband.
The waistband was made the same was as the one in the Peasant Dress #1 post. I wanted it to be black, so I used two layers of felt. Since the felt would be easy to sew or pin, I skipped the extra elastic since I wasn’t 100% happy with the previous one. I used a darning needle to thread the red cord.
With and without the apron:
Right now the waistband is just clipped to size using Clover Wonderclips. If you don’t have any of these in your costume making notions box, you might want to buy some. I really like them for holding hard-to-pin things together. They also work well when draping/shaping.
I like the way this costume came together, and I think the skirt will be a useful garment. The skirt is full, and yet, because of the way it was designed, it is not as fabric-consuming as a true full-circle skirt would be. I don’t care for the black vertical lines in the skirt with the apron, but it is “good enough”.