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Tropicana, Take Me Away!

April 3, 2012

Time to test drive a new Hot Patterns free download: the Tropicana maxi skirt!

Things are already hot in Atlanta, so I'm definitely ready for summer clothes. I am eager for flowing, breezy style that doesn't drag me down when the temps are climbing, so a tropical skirt is perfect for my sewing mood right now.

The trick with maxi skirts, for me, is that I'm ... shrimpy. I stand 5'3" on a good day with perfect posture, so most maxi dresses or skirts drag the ground on me unless I make some alterations. This pattern is perfect for such alterations because of the multiple tiers. The trick is ensuring that when you make changes, you maintain the seam lines so everything still matches up. Here's how I do it on a project like this one:

First, I assembled the pattern as intended. Here is lower middle tier piece at its normal length:

1-AssembledFullLengthPatter.jpgWhen it came time to shorten the pattern, I pulled the taped pieces apart (I use an inexpensive athletic tape for assembly -- it comes apart without much struggle, but it also holds well):

2-PullingApartPattern.jpgThen, I reassembled the pattern piece so that the overlap between the two pieces of paper was much greater, shortening it by several inches:

3-ReassembledPattern.jpgTo even out the outside cutting edge, I trimmed the excess paper that prevented a smooth transition from one piece of the pattern paper to the next:

4-TrimmingShortenedPattern.jpgHere's the altered pattern piece, with the small piece I trimmed off sitting next to it:

I did the alteration for the middle two tiers. I determined after measuring the original pattern that I wanted to take between 4" and 5" off the total length of the skirt, so I divided that between the middle two tiers.

This method ensures that the seams that join one tier to the next all stay intact. Hooray!

The top tier, lowest tier and waistband are all cut as normal, and assembly is exactly the same as it would be for the full-length version. This is my black gauze, shortened version of the Tropicana:

If you notice a little bit of glimmer on the lower right, it's because I couldn't resist adding a small scatter of rhinestones. I wanted to break up the black with a little sparkle, and I have a serious addiction problem with my Kandi hot fix rhinestone applicator. Seriously, my husband may soon stage an intervention.


I also wanted to try altering the pattern in a way that makes a shorter skirt, but maintains the design lines of the original.

I decided to use the top two tiers of the skirt as-is, but then I wanted just a short tier after that to finish below the knee around mid calf. To make my third, shortened bottom edge pattern piece, I traced the lower middle tier piece, and then used the lower tier piece to determine the length of my traced piece. Again, I used this approach rather than using the existing lower layer to make sure my seams all matched up.

RedraftedLowest-tier.jpgI chose a pink eyelet for this version, and I wanted to take advantage of the scalloped edge on the fabric, so I cut it as my hem. Here you can see how I cut the pieces for the lowest tier of this version right along the finished edge of the fabric.

CuttingEyeletHemEdge.jpgI never like to waste a good thing, so I cut a 2" strip along the second finished edge of the eyelet and worked it in between the lowest two layers of my skirt:

ExtraEyelet.jpgHere's my finished second skirt. The eyelet seriously needs a slip under it, or, as I plan to do, an underlayer worked into the skirt itself.

FinishedPink.jpgAs always, my favorite thing about the Hot Patterns free downloads is how versatile they are. I don't feel guilty hacking away at a pattern to customize it, because I can always print a fresh copy. (I use the paper scraps for notes so I don't waste, I promise!)

How will you make this summer skirt uniquely your own?

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Holly Frey published on April 3, 2012 10:26 PM.

Create Kids Couture Marilyn's Slim Fit Peasant Dress & Top Pattern Review was the previous entry in this blog.

Ask the Expert: Knitting/Sewing Combo is the next entry in this blog.

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