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A Fairy's Closet (Part 1 of 2)

September 27, 2012

Fairies never go out of style! This year, I predict that ice fairies are going to be popular, since there's a new Tinker Bell movie featuring an entire group of winter-themed sprites coming out on DVD in the latter half of October.

So, I decided to sprinkle a little pixie dust in the sewing room and create some fairy finery.

I decided to start with a pettiskirt. A couple of years ago, I made this pettiskirt in black. In the time since then, I've made quite a few others, and I have refined and altered my approach a bit. I still use the same tiered construction with a wide center strip that folds in half to form the casing for the elastic waistband, but now I have two layers of identical skirting so the pettiskirt is reversible, and I add a 2-inch wide ruffle of fluff at the bottom edge. This is similar to the ones that are often made for little girls, and I think it is SO fun. You really get plenty of swing.

I started with blue nylon chiffon tricot. I LOVE that it comes in 108-inch wide cuts. That means I don't have to cut as many strips to make a skirt, which is ALWAYS welcome news.

To start cutting, I fold the fabric onto itself a couple times, so that I can quickly cut strips with my rotary cutter. Because this fabric can be slippery, I line it up as best I can, but then I just true up the end by cutting it.

Once I have that uneven edge trimmed, I cut the following:

Tier one: 4  8-inch wide strips

Tier two: 7  8-inch wide strips

Hem ruffle: 20 2-inch wide strips

REMEMBER: These cuts are based on 108-inch wide fabric. As a rule of thumb, I try to plan for 10 yards of cuts or a little more for the top tier, 20 yards or a little more for the second tier, and 60 yards for the hem ruffle. So if you're using a different fabric, you may have to adjust the number of strips you cut.

I will cut the waistband section out of stretch charmeuse later on in the project.

I don't fret too much over perfection on these. All the ruffling hides most sins. Here are my three piles all together:

2-fairy-finery.jpgOnce the pieces are all cut, I start ruffling. If you have a good relationship with your ruffle foot, this project could whiz right along. I find I have problems working with sheers on my ruffler, so I gather by hand on my machine.
I just gather and gather and gather, layering strips together at the ends instead of joining them with a seam.
Once I have all gathering done for each of the tiers of ruffles, I join them together. I attach the gathered tier two ruffles to the ungathered edge of tier one, and then set the small strips of ruffles on the bottom edge of tier two, about 1/4 inch up from the bottom edge. Here are the tier two ruffles being joined to the tier one ruffles:

4-fairy-finery.jpgI assemble it all as one loooooooooong piece, and then I cut that piece in half at the mid point to create the two separate layers of skirt. For me, this saves time, because I can just crank everything out while only having to keep track of three piles of strips, instead of separating them into six piles. However, if you prefer to work with smaller pieces, that's fine, too!

5-fairy-finery.jpgOnce I have all those ruffles together and then split into two, I attach them to the waist section, which I cut from the charmeuse. It's one piece, 16 inches wide, and I cut it the full width of the fabric. Then, I sew one set of ruffles along each raw edge, and sew a seam that closes up the circle, stitching from one hem up to what will become the waistband, and then back down the other side, all in one long seam. Next, I fold the satin at the middle and stitch a 1-inch deep casing for my elastic (remember to leave a small opening so you can insert the elastic!). This is what it all looks like from the inside:

10-fairy-finery.jpgHere's a tip: I don't really worry much about getting all the layers to math up perfectly in length before I sew them together. I gather all the pieces, stitch the tiers together, and if any piece is longer than another, I just clip it right off. When assembling the tiers all as one piece before splitting into two layers, I still end up with two perfectly even layers of ruffles. The only time I really make sure I match up is when I attach the layers to the waistband/top tier satin.

Because this skirt has a fairy plan, I want to be able to add some fun embellishment to the skirt, but because I like costume pieces that can multitask, I'd rather not permanently affix them. (In a little girl version, a pettiskirt is a perfect project for the dress-up trunk, so you want it to do multiple duty as a fairy dress, a Cinderella skirt, a ballerina's tutu, etc.)

So, I cut 8 pieces of sheer organza ribbon to match my skirt, each 28 inches long.


6-fairy-finery.jpgI stitched the pieces of ribbon down along the waistband of the skirt.

7-fairy-finery.jpgThe distance between your ribbons will vary depending on the waistband you need, so I just try to distribute them evenly.

8-fairy-finery.jpgFor now, you can let your ribbons dangle or tie them in sweet little bows.

NEXT WEEK, we'll use those ribbons to make this skirt fairy-licious, and we'll add some wings to our outfit!

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1 Comment

Very cool.

Can't wait to see the fairy-licious results :)


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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Holly Frey published on September 27, 2012 3:31 PM.

Haunting Halloween Hair Accessories was the previous entry in this blog.

You can fly! You can fly! You can fly! (Part 2 of 2) is the next entry in this blog.

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