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25th August 2012

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My skirt is so shitty, you guys. Can we please stop reblogging this forever? Thanks.

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You are the second person who has asked me that, so maybe I should make a tutorial.

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The thing about this skirt is, it’s open in the front. Most hoop skirts retain their shape because they are made out of round hoops. Without closed, round hoops, making the skirt normally - that is, with reinforcement only in the horizontal rungs - will leave you with something heavy and unwieldy, or something that flares open and does not stay round, or both. I reinforced the vertical strips, especially in the front, to force everything into shape.

I made it out of two yards of 60” canvas duck fabric, fourteen tomato stakes (about $1 each at Home Depot), some wire hangers, and a roll of .25” soaker hose (also from Home Depot). I cut all of the canvas into six-inch strips, and zig-zag stitched the edges of the strips so they wouldn’t fray. I sewed all the strips together end-to-end to make a really long strip. And then I turned the edges over so they met in the center and sewed them down to make sort of channels in the edges for the soaker hose to go through.

This is the last thing this sewing machine ever did.

I sat down and sketched some blueprints for how I wanted this thing to fit. I’d post them, but they were WRONG and I ended up cutting off a bunch of fabric afterward. But basically, I measured how long I wanted the vertical strips to be - curving out from my waist to my mid-calf about two feet in front of me. I cut seven strips to that length plus one inch because I wanted them to overlap at the top. 

Then, I cut the rest into five more strips - one the circumference I wanted for the bottom rung, three more shorter ones for the middle rungs, and a top strip to fit around my waist with a buckle.

I sewed the strips together into a cage, with the vertical strips over the horizontal,  leaving the channels on the sides of each strip open, like this:

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I strongly recommend basting it first and trying it on. My skirt bulged out in weird places, so I had to un-pin it, re-lay the strips, and cut off some excess a couple of times before I got it right. Doing that with good, tight stitching is an unnecessary pain in the ass. So baste it together first and mess with it until it lays right. That will probably be at different sizes for everyone, since everyone’s height and waist measurements are different.

I also added snaps to one end of the bottom rung, and to the top of each vertical strip, so I could put things in their channels and then snap them shut. The other ends of those strips, both ends of the belt, and one end of each of the middle rungs, I sewed shut.

Then I crammed soaker hose through both channels of each of the middle rungs, and sewed the ends shut.

I crammed unbent hangers inside the soaker hose for the bottom rung, since that one needs to be able to bend into shape - otherwise, the skirt won’t hold a curve properly. I put the hanger-and-soaker-hose combo inside the bottom rung and snapped it shut, so I could remove the hose later for easier transport.

I took fourteen tomato stakes, which are made of steel and covered with plastic, and gently bent them into the sort of curve I wanted the vertical lines of the skirt to hold. Then I stuck them through the channels on the vertical strips. That left me with a skirt that stands up on its own and holds its shape, while not being too heavy.

I decorated it with loads of ribbon, lace and glass pearls. The only craft supply store I have around here is Wal-Mart, so I was only able to get some of that stuff in yellow. What wasn’t available in yellow, I bought in white, and dyed on my stove with curry powder. Be careful and don’t leave it too long - curry powder can produce a ridiculously bright yellow, even on synthetic lace and beads. If you want just sort of a butter yellow, try dyeing it with coffee instead.

I hope that helps.

Tagged: ballgown dreamersHomestuck cosplaycosplaycage skirtTerezipyroqueer

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