Friday, April 13, 2012

Fabulous Free Pattern Friday

Happy Friday the 13th Everyone! Friday the 13th is a day I always look forward to. Wonderful things always happen to me on this day and today is starting off with a HUGE bang!! I'm so very excited and honored to have.....THE ONE....THE ONLY.......SHAMS!!!!!!!! as my guest today for Fabulous Free Pattern Friday. If you have not seen her posts on her tablecloth skirt, then you are in for a real treat. So grab a cup of coffee or if you're like me, a cup of tea, sit back and enjoy! Thank you Shams!  

If this fabric looks familiar to you, it's a gorgeous piece of cotton jacquard from Africa that has been hand dyed with indigo and kola nut dyes. Rhonda graciously gifted it to me after I drooled all over it when she posted it on her blog.

Happy Friday, Rhonda fans!
Several weeks ago, Rhonda asked me to write up instructions for my Tablecloth Skirt (or, as I now like to think of it, "The Garment Formerly Known as the Tablecloth Skirt") for her Fabulous Free Pattern Friday post. Life has been whipping my butt keeping me busy, but I finally managed to get some photos taken of my latest version.
Some of you may already be familiar with my so-called "Tablecloth Skirt", which I first blogged about last November. The skirt is a variation of a circle skirt with a squared hemline — the fullness is more controlled so it's much easier to hem, and wear, than a traditional round circle skirt.
The following diagram shows how the skirt is put together:

The exact dimensions of the center square may vary according to your height, but my center square is 44" square, and I am 5'5"-ish (rounding up). The larger the center square, the fuller the skirt. There are four rectangles (each one 44" by 15", but you may adjust this for your height) that are sewn to each edge of the square. The waist hole is cut from the center of the square to be a few inches larger than your hips, and a corresponding rectangular waistband is also cut from the fabric.
I rip the fabric for the skirt, but test first to make sure your fabric responds well to being torn as YMMV (your mileage may vary).

Note: I make my skirt with an elastic waist, but some folks prefer a waistband with a zipper. You can certainly sew yours that way if you prefer, though that exercise is left to the reader. ;)

Calculating the waist hole:
Because simple math is involved, this step can intimidate some sewists, but there is a calculator to help. First, determine the size of the waist hole. For an elastic waist, you'll need it to be 3 or 4 inches larger than your hip measurement. That measurement is the circumference of the circle; I used a circle calculator to convert the waist measurement to the radius measurement (without seam allowances). On a piece of blank printer paper, create a quarter-circle template using the radius measurement. Fold the center square in quarters, pin the template to the center corner, and cut the waist. (Make sure you've pinned the template to the center corner!)
  • Attach the waistband to the waist opening. You'll need to stay stitch the waist opening and clip before attaching the waistband. Finish the waistband and insert the elastic.
  • Sew a rectangle to each edge of the square.
  • Sew the short edges of the rectangles together. (This step is shown with black arrows in the preceding diagram.)
  • Hem. I turn the raw edge up twice and topstitch.

I am wearing my first tablecloth skirt and holding it out. As you can see, it looks almost as if it could be a fitted tablecloth for a small square table.
Hence the name. ;)

The Requisite Twirling Pic

My first tablecloth skirt. The center square is a bit larger in the second skirt (the one using the African fabric) and the rectangles a bit more narrow. This affects the proportions of the final skirt — because the center square on the African skirt is larger, the skirt is more full and the corners are less pronounced.

I maintain a Tablecloth Skirt Gallery on my blog, which has links to my various blog posts and tutorials, as well as photos submitted by people who have made the skirt. Many sewists have added their own twist, so you might want to peruse the gallery before you sew your own. You are welcome to send me photos of your skirt to add to my gallery — include links to your blog or review on PatternReview, if you have them. (My email address is in my blog profile.)
Thanks for sharing your blog with me today, Rhonda!

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  1. I am a regular reader of both Shams and Rhonda and have made the "formerly known as the tablecloth skirt" and can attest to its simplicity and elegance. I made mine in a chocolate velvet for New Year's Eve 2012. Turned out great! The changing nap direction made it really interesting. (I am too shy to post a picture). Thanks Shams and thanks Rhonda for sharing your creative energy.