Sewing with Maddy


We’ve had a bit of fun this week. My daughter Maddy came and said, “Could we make a skirt out of that periwinkle fabric?” As is often the case, I was working on a few other things, but realized this was my opportunity.

The tiered skirt, otherwise known as the “twirly” skirt, is a style my girls like. It’s really a simple skirt; a matter of cutting tiers of fabric beginning with a smaller width near the waist and gradually increasing the width of each tier. Elastic is attached at the waist and a simple narrow hem is stitched at the bottom. It’s a good project for a young seamstress.

Each tier is gathered and attached to the tier above. Normally a sewing machine is used to place two gathering threads 1/8″ and 1/4″ from each edge, but instead we set our pleater up with two needles. In one pass through, the gathering threads were put in place. This was a good opportunity for Maddy to become familiar with a favorite tool of mine that is usually employed to prepare fabric for English smocking.

In her book, “Fabric Sewing Guide”, Claire Shaeffer says “corduroy is always a popular choice for casual garments and children’s wear.” It comes in a variety of weights; mini-wales have more than 21 wales per inch, pinwales 16 to 21 wales, mid-wales 11 to 15, and jumbo or wide-wales 3 to 10. Corduroy may be used “for everything from sturdy children’s clothing to elegant evening fashions.” This 21-wale corduroy is lightweight and moves easily through the pleater. Heavier types will tend to break pleater needles. Maddy learned that corduroy is a “filling-pile” fabric and that it’s important to cut all of the pieces in the same direction. Together we also noticed that corduroy runs more smoothly through the pleater with the “pile” side down.

It won’t be long before Maddy is thinking of more tailored styles in the many beautiful fabrics, like Ulster Linen, Donegal Tweed, Silk Charmeuse and so on. But for now, she knows more about “how”.

Related Post: I noticed a great post by Creations by Michie; a tutorial on corduroy.


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