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Before we get started sewing, let's cover a few odds and ends about this pattern. Just a few things about which you might have questions.
First off, you might be wondering what to do if your waist measurement is in between sizes? No problem! Cut out the larger size and as we go along, we will show you how easy it is to make up the difference when making the pleats.
Next- the curtain weights. We know it seems weird. Curtain weights are probably not something you have used in garment sewing so here is the skinny on it. The back part of this skirt uses 2/3 of the fabric in the project. That distribution creates drag in the back. Is it absolutely necessary to use the weights? No. But in testing the skirt, we found that without the weights, the front waist of the skirt wants to crawl up the belly towards the bust as the back half of the skirt droops due to the uneven distribution of weight. The curtain weights at the front hemline balance things and eliminates the tendency of the front to creep skyward. We will be surprised if you can detect the small bit of added weight once you are wearing the skirt.
There's a good chance you will be able to find the cotton covered beaded curtain weight by the yard at your local fabric store (some Joann's carry it in store). If not, Micheal's sells it online - click the photo below to link Micheal's site.
The next oddity in the pattern is the need to piece the Skirt Front and Front Band for sizes 14 and up if using 44" wide fabric. You might just be able to squeak it out in the size 14 but we always try to be conservative and not leave anyone short on fabric! The obvious question is, "why piece it? Can't you just cut it on the cross grain and be done with it?"
The answer to that is yes you can. Keep in mind that fabric drapes differently on the cross grain than it does on the straight of grain. The straight of grain normally has a softer drape. The cross grain will probably be more stiff and voluminous. The photos below show the subtle difference of the drape of the straight of grain (left), cross grain (center) and bias.
See how the straight of grain fabric (left) falls in cone shaped drapes from any point of prominence on the the dress form? Compare that to the drapes of the cross grain fabric (center). The cross grain falls in drapes that stand away from the dress form and do not fall as softly as those in the straight of grain. The bias of the fabric falls in the softest drapes that fall closest to the dress form (right) of all three options.
The Chore Skirt is laid out on the straight of grain to take advantage of the softer drape. (We tested the skirt using the cross grain and I just didn't like it as much.) Cutting the skirt on straight of grain means having to piece the Skirt Front and Band Front sizes 14 and up for 44" fabric.
Piecing the Skirt Front and Band Front is very simple. First, place the Skirt Front pattern piece on your fabric and decide where the piecing will happen. Draw a line where the seam will be (bottom photo) . (These photos involve a miniature pattern piece for our convenience. We've used a scrap of linen to represent your fabric. You will have a selvage on both edges.)
Cut the piece at your line creating 2 pieces.
Next, add seam allowance to each piece where you have made the cut. Faint red line is the cut line. (You can use a smaller seam allowance than 5/8 inch.)
Place both pieces on fabric and cut.
Once you’ve cut both pieces of the Skirt Front (or Band Front), sew the two pieces together, and press the seam open. That’s it. You’re ready to move on.
We said we'd talk about stabilizing the waist edge but we want to get this one out so we'll save that for next time!
Mary Jane on May 07 2018 at 10:06AM
That is not a stupid question AT ALL! It was one we had when we developed the pattern and so we tested the issue! It you purchase new curtain weights, you should be good! We did out testing with newly purchased curtain weights both washing the test garments repeatedly with no rust or bleed through of any kind. And we also left the weights sitting in water for days at a time with no effect what-so-ever.
It is probably best to stay away from any curtain weights that don’t look newly manufactured. You won’t know the content and will be more likely to have rust or other issues come up!
I hope this helps!
Decades of Style
Kate on May 07 2018 at 09:58AM
This may be a stupid question, sorry, but are the weights washable, or can they be removed before laundering the rest of the skirt?
Mary on October 18 2017 at 07:30PM
The fabric info and the explanation for the weights is really interesting. I’m done with the pleating and moving on to the zipper. Will wait for that installment if I get stuck!