Hi! I’m Rachel and I have a recently-rediscovered passion for sewing.
The wait is finally over and the time has come to say hello or should I say bonjour to my Chardon skirt!
The Chardon is my latest make from French pattern company and my new-found love Deer and Doe. Here I am taking my brand new jupe on a test drive at Columbia Road flower market.
My Chardon skirt has formed a key part in two of my recent Cheatsheet posts: firstly as a tutorial for inserting inverted box pleats and secondly, going a little off piste with this pattern, as a walk through for inserting an invisible zip.
For those of you who have followed those tutorials, I thought you may like a closer view of the finished article. Here is an example of the back of skirt where you can see that slinky invisible zip.
I hope you agree that this style of zip was the way to go here, I feel that the seamless continuation of the design fully vindicates the decision.
As you will soon discover the tension between following the pattern versus making sacrifices to preserve the overall design of the garment runs heavily in this post. The greatest of these decisions relates to the choice of fabric and as a consequence the structure of the skirt.
Let me explain. When I first purchased 2 metres of the gorgeous fabric in Barcelona I didn’t quite notice that the pattern was different on both halves of the fabric. As you can see in the below image, one half of the fabric featured small tight green triangles and the other larger green, blue and white triangles with bird designs.
This was a fantastic discovery for me, the fabric was even more beautiful than I imagined! However in spite of this great luck, preserving the actual design presented me with an alternative problem – if I were to cut the fabric along the grain line as intended I would at worst lose the pattern or at best have the left side of the skirt displaying one design and the right side featuring another.
Remembering I had only 2 metres of fabric to play with and unfortunately for me no imminent plans to return to Barca, I had to make a decision as to whether to use an alternative fabric or to cut the fabric on the cross grain which presented me with a tremendous risk. All of my research told me that cutting on the cross grain would ultimately lead to a sacrifice in the fit and shape of the design, this would surely be an unwise move. However I also discovered that the effect could potentially be minimised if the design was fitted and had a strong structure.
I thought long and hard about this and reasoned that the Chardon would fulfil this criteria and a design of smaller triangles falling down into the larger shapes was worth the risk. I went ahead and cut my fabric and I’m not afraid to say I’m tremendously and even a little disgustingly proud of the result – just check out that shape and volume. I hope you agree that it was definitely worth the risk!
I also made two additional alterations to the pattern, the first in name of necessity and the second by way of design. Firstly I lengthened the skirt by an additional 1.5 inches to match the length of my Belladone dress. Secondly I omitted the bow and belt loops from the pattern as I did not want to distract from the waist band design. I really wanted those triangles to cascade down the skirt like so:
That’s all from me today, I am planning on posting my grain line research here in the coming week if you would like to find out more.
In the meantime I would love to hear about some the risks you may have taken with your garments. Where do you fall in the pattern versus design debate?
After suffering what can only be described as a brain freeze when putting in the pleats for my Belladone dress I have decided that I need the practice and so have put together a little tutorial which I hope will be of use not only for myself but for my readers as well. Today’s Cheatsheet is the first of a series of posts walking you through the humble pleat.
To begin we will be looking at the inverted box pleat which is a key feature of my next make Deer and Doe’s Chardon skirt. The Chardon features no less than nine inverted box pleats making it the perfect opportunity for pleat practice!
Inverted box pleats are formed on the wrong side of the fabric, therefore we need to ensure all foldlines and pattern markings are made on this side of the garment.
Continuing to work on the wrong side, fold the fabric so that each set of foldlines meet to form a seam or underfold; the Chardon includes some very useful arrows to help with this. Pin and/or baste the fabric together at the foldline to secure the seam ready for stitching like so:
It is worth taking your time at this point so you can ensure that the folds are straight and correctly matched. I tested my pleat by folding it to one side of the fabric and checked to see that the top seam matched the top of skirt piece.
Once you are happy with the placement of your pleats it is time to stitch them in place following the instructions in your pattern.
Stitching complete, press the underfold of your pleat flat against the wrong side of the fabric. Turning the fabric to the right side, press again.
Here are my well pressed underfolds:
To keep those pleats firmly in place I would recommend topstitching on both sides of the foldline. With tailors chalk or a strategically placed pin, mark your starting point on the fabric. I would recommend starting from the bottom of the foldline and working your way upwards towards the waistline. This will flatten out the fabric and prevent any unwanted puckering.
Here I am topstitching my skirt with a 0.25 inch seam allowance.
Happy? Your pleats should look like so:
Have you tried making inverted box pleats? Let me know how you got on.