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Topic: Making winter skirts and underlayers?  (Read 3567 times)
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« on: June 29, 2012 11:04:16 PM »

Howdy everyone!
I'm wanting to make myself some ankle length skirts for this winter and I'm in need of advice!
Firstly, I'm looking for a pattern that will result in something fits me and gives me room to do what I need to do. I'm one of those crazy homesteading people, so I need a skirt that is full enough to let me squat down, climb over fences, run to catch rogue sheep, and suchlike. I've been living in a dozen or so simple elastic waist cotton skirts that I made a couple of years ago, but I'm moving to a cooler area (that actually has snow!) and I'm thinking I'll need skirts in heavier fabric - maybe denim, corduroy, wool, etc. I'm also thinking that these heavier fabrics won't lend themselves to the good old elastic waist that I'm used to.  Wink I've got a 36" waist and 48" hips with a lower belly pooch, so something that doesn't draw too much attention to that would be nice! I don't know what kind of pattern would best fit with what I have in mind. Something simple and full, with pockets if possible, would be ideal! If anyone knows of any good patterns, please share!
I'm also wondering about what fabrics to use. I would really like to make at least one wool skirt, so what would work there - maybe a suiting type fabric? What weight of denim might work well? I've mostly fiddled around with plain old cotton fabric in my limited sewing adventures, so I really have no clue what would work well/best for what I'm wanting to do!
As for the "underlayers", I'm wanting to try my hand at making some petticoats, which I know I can wing, and ... well, I'm not sure what you'd call them. Maybe pseudo-bloomers? I have a vision of something like knee-ish-length pants in flannel to wear under my skirts to keep me warm from my waist down to the tops of my leg warmers (I'm outside a lot and freeze solid quite quickly in cold weather, so I'm a firm believer in lots of layers!). I was thinking of trying to find a pattern for, say, pajama pants and just shorten the legs. I'm pretty sure I could sew together some rectangles and get something serviceable, but if anyone knows of a pattern that might be suitable, even better!
I'd really, really appreciate any advice that you all can offer! Thanks!
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2012 10:16:33 AM »

I think wool is the way to go, because it has better movement than denim. If you can get fulled wool, it's slightly felted and will cut the wind a bit better (it's what the Ren-Faire crowd use for cloaks), or you can use the modern knitted version called boiled wool (like what's used for berets and such). The wool suiting I've seen tends to have a looser weave, but if you can find a dense herringbone for cheap, for example, it wouldn't hurt to buy enough for a skirt and give it a shot. For a pattern, I think a gathered rectangle or a-line with a flat front waistband and an elastic back waistband. The skirt panels themselves should add up to just a bit more than your hip measure and get gathered into the waistband with more at the back to facilitate getting in and out without a zipper (the back waistband would be quite a bit longer than the front waistband to account for the elastic). You might need to actually measure your stride to determine whether a-line or rectangle is best for your needs, unless you're supremely pleased with your cotton ones, in which case you could just use their measurements. As for elastic, you can get some really hardcore stuff that is much stronger than pajama elastic, for example. You'll just have to handle the stock at the store to figure out which ones those are.

And I think you're right that pajama pants would be a good starting point for flannel bloomers. You may want to make them full length, though, with thin elastic at the ankles, and again, wool is your friend, so if you can find wool flannel, you'll be that much warmer. Here's a little page about old fashioned bloomers for children with a couple of great diagrams.

Wow, I hope covered everything Tongue


Oh, yeah, knitted bloomers Tongue
« Last Edit: July 01, 2012 10:22:28 AM by Alexus1325 » THIS ROCKS   Logged

« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2012 12:33:11 AM »

Wow Alexus, thank you so much! I'm going to try to find fulled/boiled wool and see what kind of warm skirt I can come up with. I appreciate the page about bloomers, too - oh, and I've been dying to knit those out of Knitty since I first saw them! Thank you, thank you again!
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2012 04:21:43 AM »

I wear dresses full time as well, and I'm in Mass so it gets fairly cold.  I found that wearing an extra pair of knee-hi socks under my boots kept me toasty.

A few suggestions:  Make your bloomers almost as long as your dresses.  Sitting down and having cold knees is no fun (I learned the hard way last winter).  I personally like thick flannel.  It's soft and warm and you won't overheat when indoors.  Pajama bottoms will work fine, just remember to lower the rise a bit so that they sit a bit below where your skirt will.

You're probably better off layering than necessarily what your skirts are made of.  A nice twill or curduroy will serve you well and wash easily.  You can always toss an extra slip or two.  I do my skirts A-line and they're flattering and easy to work in.  Consider a gored skirt for something easy and fun as well.  There's no reason you can't stick to elastic.  I'm a zipper girl for outer layers but sometimes use folded over lycra as a nice smooth waist for my underlayers.

I promise that you'll be much warmer in your skirts and bloomers than in pants.  I was really amazed how warm I was last winter.

Good luck!
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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2012 06:41:05 PM »


I've been wearing skirts and dresses almost exclusively for several years now. I've come up with a few really good, solid patterns for my skirts and for things to wear underneath.
First off, get ta book called Sew What! Skirts (here's the Amazon.com link:http://tinyurl.com/98g4pwr)
It will take you through how to measure your very own body so you can make patterns for skirts that are custom fit for you. I did the measurements and read through the book, and I've since made 6 or 7 skirts from my baseline pattern, which is a simple A-line pattern. I have just used the pattern as is, and I have also added length and gradually added width to the pattern so that the bottom of the skirt, at almost floor length, was 170 inches in diameter. I added pockets - I have to have pockets! - and I love these skirts. For the larger diameter skirts you might need to use more fabric since you won't be able to cut on the fold but will need an entire width of fabric for one-half of the front, and another width for the back. When I do this, I also turn the seam allowance to one side and topstitch it down - side doesn't matter - so that the seam doesn't get pulled on when you sit down.

Denim and corduroy skirts are great because that fabric is more of an bottomweight-type fabric anyhow. I also use heavy cotton, cotton interlock, and twill for my winter skirts.

As far as underlayers, I use cotton or flannel for slips, and I do wear either long johns or capris with or without tights when it gets cold outside. I have to go out every day to care for the chickens and the wind here in Missouri doesn't care if I'm dressed warmly or not. Sometimes it's tights and long johns if it's cold enough. I do have a nylon half slip that I put over the flannel slip when I wear it because it sticks to cotton so it gets creepy-crawly with the dryness in the air. I have short-bloomers, long bloomers, capri style bloomers, and then the long johns.

Feel free to get hold of me if you need any suggestions. I love to help people out.

Don't ask God to bless what you're doing.  Instead, find what He's blessing and do that!
He who calls, equips
He who leads, feeds
He who guides, provides
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2012 05:26:40 AM »

I highly recommend layering tights/pantyhose. I used to wear up to 6 pairs at a time and only a very light (shirt weight) pair of trousers (think pj bottoms style) whilst out and about in the snow here (UK - so coldest around -5degrees Celsius) and never ever felt cold. I also think vests (the undergarment not waistcoat type) are worth their weight in gold. I frequently use light summer weight simple elasticated skirts under warmer winter weight ones. Works well and saves on extra cost. Full length petticoats (the kind that look a little like summer dresses.) are brilliant too. If you can possible afford silk it is well worth it for thermal qualities and not being too bulky.

All of mine I make from a basic elasticated waist model that sounds very similar to what you make.
 Grin Grin Grin
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2012 04:55:11 AM »

Something simple and full, with pockets if possible, would be ideal!

One of the most useful items I have are what I call wearable pockets. See here: http://www.dandavats.com/wp-content/uploads/brownhipsack.jpg]
Something simple and full, with pockets if possible, would be ideal!

One of the most useful items I have are what I call wearable pockets. See here: http://www.dandavats.com/wp-content/uploads/brownhipsack.jpg

They're easy to make & you can customise the pockets for your particular needs. Mine are permanently filled with all the bits & pieces I need throughout my work day. I take them off in the evening & put them back on in the morning. The most convenient thing is I don't have to transfer anything from one garment to the next.

Mine last about six months because of what I carry in them but they're so convenient I don't care. I used to reuse the hardware from one set to the next but my current set do up in front with what must be industrial strength hook & loop tape (that's 5 cm/2" wide) because these pockets lug a mass of just over 1.5 kg and the hook & loop tape hasn't failed yet.

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