|Pinup Girl Clothing “Jenny” Skirt in Orange Branch Border Print|
A couple weeks ago I splurged. I bought the Orange Branch Border “Jenny” Skirt from Pinup Girl Clothing. I’d been seeing it all over Instagram and just loved the fun, summery print, and flattering shape.
I had to have it. It was out of stock.
I signed up to be notified when the skirt was available again, and about a week later there it was. So I bought the skirt.
When it arrived I rushed to try it on, dreaming of wearing it that weekend, but….well….it didn’t look on me like how it seemed to look on everyone else.
|Ultimate sadness – without a petticoat|
|Ultimate sadness – even with the skirt flared out, I didn’t feel very svelte.|
Why didn’t the skirt look good on me?
For one, I have a very boyish figure. I’m like a rectangle. You know that fashion rule that says that a full skirt will make your waist look tiny? Not on me. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite – slim dresses and pencil skirts make me look curvaceous, but full skirts make me look broad. Even with a petticoat, I do not benefit from the big-skirt-tiny-waist formula.
The second issue is that the Jenny skirts are made from long rectangular pieces gathered to the waistband. The fabric of this one is a rather thick cotton/spandex blend which becomes incredibly bulky when gathered up.
I had the choice to either return the skirt and have no pretty citrus summer skirt at all, or refashion it. So refashion it I did.
The challenge was to keep the skirt full at the hem while slimming the silhouette through the waist. The solution was to pleat the volume into the waistband, rather than gather it. The most slimming pleating method was to use large box pleats and press them just at the top. Luckily I had a Butterick skirt pattern from the late ’50s to use as a guide for pleating, so I just marked and pleated according to that, then re-attached the waistband.
|Pleating the width into the waistband, according to this vintage Butterick skirt pattern.|
I took about 24 inches of width out of the skirt (according to the vintage pattern), and ended up with a much slimmer line through my hips. The alteration was easy to do and now I have a skirt I’ll actually wear. The nicest thing is that now I can choose to wear a petticoat or not, and still feel good wearing this skirt. I don’t dress vintage every day, and I’m much more likely to not wear a petticoat. I like having the option.
|Refashion success! Paired with a simple green t-shirt, and chunky 1940s shoes by BAIT|
So if you happen to be shaped like a rectangle, like me, here are some tips on making up (or refashioning) full skirts to flatter your figure:
Circle skirts – these take the most yardage to create, but have the fullest hem and the slimmest waist.
Gored Skirts – the wide hem circumference is made up of multiple panels cut in wedge shapes. You get the effect of a circle skirt and slim waist, but with using less yardage to cut the skirt. Gored skirts can be made of any number of panels.
Rectangular Skirts – like my “Jenny” skirt here, this cutting layout is needed for border prints. It’s also the most economical for fabric yardage, but with a gathered waist edge, this style can be bulky. Instead, pleat the waist edge using large box pleats, double box pleats, or knife pleats, which fold all that width down into a slim line.