Friday, November 19, 2010

Make your own "Gothic Lolita/Kuro Lolita" inspired ruffled skirt

I know true 'Loli's' wouldn't call my mod Lolita, it needs to be bell shaped with a pannier to be true Lolita I suppose.  But it's lovely nonetheless. Let me know.

I recently saw this at and had to redesign it and make a version for myself.

 Here are the steps I took.

First I made an a line skirt

Here I have marked in my sketch how much shorter I made the skirt to make room for my sheer treatment at the hem. At the end this of post you can see this sheer trim in detail.

Then I measured from my waist line to where my hip bones were and marked that on the skirt all the way around to the back.

Here you can see I am adding a layer of 3 tiered ruffles I have made at the hip bone line. I will show how to make a layer of 3 tiered ruffles shortly.

The first step to make the layers is to cut out the panels [about 4x's the width of your skirt] and finish the edges. Here you can see I am applying a very narrow zigzag stitch to the edge of a soft sheer nylon fabric. Loosen the pressure on the foot and use the proper needle when working with this type of fabric it WILL matter, an 80/11 size needle will do.

I have measured and laid out the first two layers. If you want densely packed ruffles I usually measure the width of the layer nearly 4x's the width of the skirt.  It is better to err on the side of caution and have far too much ruffle than less after all this trouble.

Here is the last top most layer. Finishing the edges of all the layers is the most time consuming part, unless you have a serger.

If you look closely you can see I did not finish the edge at top where the layers met.

Here you can see how they are layered prior to pinning.

You want to mark where the first layer falls so you can have a line to pin the second layer, you want it to hide just beneath the edge of the first layer of ruffles.

You can hand stitch or just do a wide straight stitch on your machine. Knot the ends leave enough length on thread to pull when you are finished stitching, use very good thread or the weight of the fabric will break the thread and you will unravel your ruffles.

A note about ruffles:
I find that a narrow zigzag finished edge lets the ruffle look smoother as opposed to a shirttail hem which lends to the ruffle having a very stiff appearance.  Below you can see the first layer of ruffles has two tiers with a shirttail hem with the rest finished with a zigzag stitch.

Above: this photo illustrates where the layers are stitched, just beneath the edge of the layer above it.  I will finish the edges with basting tape to cover up the threads.  The white string is from my hand basting that I will remove now that I have sewn the ruffles on by hand.

I used three different types of black fabric to add interest, as you can see under a flash the different shade of black in 1 layer is obvious, if you are going to use your item in a photo shoot with flash photography this is something to consider during the design of your garment!

Personally I do not care if all my blacks match, I think it looks better to have some variety in the hues of black.

For the original skirt on they use a very thin light cotton fabric/cotton broadcloth/muslin which provides the stiff fullness, but I prefer to use fabric which is softer and has a lot of weight to it, so it has a very fluid movement to the skirt as opposed to the stiffness of thin cotton fabric.  It depends upon your tastes, the other layers of this skirt are a heavy synthetic rayon/woven fabric which I prefer for it's weight and bounce when moving about.

I have yet to add the waist band and zipper, I will update post as soon as I am finished with this item.

Here is a close up of the sheer panel with bias tape trim I added to the hem that I had shortened.

Thanks, R.

Here is the completed item after I finished the waist band. I added hem lace to the 2nd layers stitching.

Here you can see I've added my pleated under skirt instead of a proper pannier/petticoat with a pair of bloomers knee hi's and Victorian Junior Girls style boots.

Here the last tier of sheer fabric trim is lifted to illustrate the layers.

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