January 24, 2024 6 Comments on My Grey Ultrasuede Version of the Cowgirl Skirt
by Molly Hamilton
When we picked the 243 Rodeo Cowgirl Skirt sewing pattern to feature this month, we got excited about the possibilities. All the different yokes, hem treatments, fabrics, embellishments to choose from! It was almost overwhelming. We had a great time making a Pinterest board of inspiration, and narrowed down some possibilities in this blog post. Esi made a beautiful skirt with some lovely floral silk and Western flair hem applique.
I went a slightly different direction with my skirt. There was a version I saw where the almost one-toned leather skirt laced on the side and had a slightly darker very small yoke. I remembered I had a nice length of grey Ultrasuede that I thought would make a great Western-style skirt. I loved the way the fabric moved and the texture it had. I decided to make View B of the pattern. View B has a skirt that is cut a little bit shorter and has a flounce sewn to the bottom of the skirt. The flounce was a good fit for this fabric because of how well it moves. And I wanted it to lace with long laces on the side.
The Ultrasuede had a little bit of stretch to it, so I decided to cut a size smaller than I normally would. I fall between the Small and Medium in Folkwear's grade rule, so I decided to cut a Small for this pattern. I really didn't want a skirt that ended up being too big because of the stretch. The front and back skirt facings help stabilize any stretch also.
I also moved the back plackets to the left side of the skirt. These plackets are for the laced closing, but I wanted mine to be on the side. This meant that I treated the left side of the skirt as if it were the back in the instructions for the placket and laces. I sewed the back up with one seam instead of putting in any closures. I was a little worried that having the placket and lace on the left side of the skirt would interfere with the pockets, but it really did not. I just had to be careful of not catching the pocket/front yoke in the stitching when I stitched down the plackets. Of course, you can make this skirt with a zip closure (as Esi did and shows you how in her post).
Here you can see the placket I sewed onto the skirt on the left side of the front (it will be on the wearer's left, but here it is on the right side of the skirt piece).
For the front yoke pockets, I wanted my yoke to be one smooth arch, instead of scalloped as the pattern shows. I traced the pattern, used a curved ruler to make a new cutting line, and then had a new pattern piece to use.
Original front pocket yoke with scalloped edges traced on paper.
Here you can see where I connect the two peaks of the scallop with the curved ruler.
You can see the new line drawn with the hip curve ruler. This will be my new pattern piece.
I topstitched all the seams. On the side seams, I pressed the seams to one side and stitched (like a faux flat felled seam), and for the center seams at front and back, I pressed the seams open and topstitched on each side of the seam. I pressed the seams toward the skirt at the flounces and topstitched there. I trimmed the seam allowances for all seams. Since this fabric is a little thicker than a similar cotton or silk, I wanted to reduce bulk where I could. I also used a longer stitch length than normal when topstitching.
Close up of the topstitching at center front and at the flounces.
For the ties, or laces, I used long strips of fabric left over from cutting out my pattern. I used the lengthwise stretch (or "grainline) since it felt the most stable when pulled. If you are making this skirt with laces, I think a soft leather would be amazing, but you can also use twill tape (which comes in many colors) or make your own bias tape. I think bias would work better than a straight grain woven fabric to give some flow to the ties and string.
I did not hem this skirt! The Ultrasuede does not ravel at all, not does it roll. So I just trimmed it up to be completely even, using a curved ruler where I needed to.
Sewing Tips for this Pattern
First, a very important tip for View B that I would use next time for sure, would be to label your flounce pieces clearly. Label front and right and wrong side of fabric as well as center fronts and backs. I had to rip out nearly all of my flounces because I put them in backwards on each piece! That was a huge pain. The flounces have notches that indicate front and back and side. There is one notch for center front, two notches for sides, and 3 notches for center back. But if your fabric is the same on each side (as mine was), it is easy to switch them around. I would even caution that you should label your skirt front and back fabric pieces also. They look very similar and it is easy to confuse them.
The yokes call for a lining in this pattern. You can make and attach them, as Esi did, by folding in a hem and stitching down, but for the front pocket yoke, a fabric lining is best. You can use the same fabric you are using for the skirt or yoke, but if it is a thick fabric, it is not ideal and will add quite a bit more bulk at the seams. I used a Bemberg silk to line my pocket yoke and it worked really well and hardly added any bulk at all.
Also, when placing the yokes on this pattern (or even the hem applique), I would baste them by hand (or maybe by machine) to get them to lay even and flat when you are working. For this yoke, you can stitch from the center to the edge for each side. This technique is the best way to do the yoke. You could also use the sticky seam tape at the seams of the yoke and appliques so they don't shift while you are stitching.
Finally, I hand sewed my eyelet holes for the laces. At first I thought I would put in grommets, but I decided to try hand stitching the eyelets. I cut the holes in the fabric with a grommet punch tool which was by far easier than trying to cut with scissors or even making a hole with an awl. I needed the holes to be big enough to easily sew a blanket stitch around the edge. I also needed to get through several layers of fabric. The punch in the grommet tool was perfect. I punched where I'd marked the lace holes (from the pattern) and I used a tiny pair of scissors to trim any bit of the hole that did not get cut completely.
The tool I used to cut the holes for the laces.
Close up of the hand finished lace holes. This fabric is forgiving and my stitching is not nearly perfect, but you can't really see it!
I really like this skirt! It came out very much as I imagined. I loved finding a great pattern for this fabric. And I am glad to have another winter skirt! Here I am wearing it with my version of the 212 Five Frontier Shirts - and you can see the details of how I made this shirt here.
February 22, 2024 1 Comment on My Grey Ultrasuede Version of the Cowgirl Skirt
February 14, 2024