One of my original visions for the Infinite A-line Dress Pattern was hacking it into a fit and flare dress: one with a fitted waist and gathered or twirly skirt. Participating in the Lil Luxe Design challenge was a great excuse!
I got this faux leather from Girl Charlee (where else??) and I love it! I’ve already used it in two other projects which makes me really glad I got two yards of it. It’s stretchy too which means that I could keep the zipper opening short in the back, even though I narrowed the waist.
You could do this same thing with a knit fabric as well, although I would size down in that case, to give it a more body-hugging fit. I can’t wait to try this in a different woven, only I’ll need to extend the placket or zipper through the waist seam so my little one can get it on easily.
The bodice is cut out and sewn exactly the same as the basic Infinite A-line except you’ll need to extend the bodice down to the waist and taper it in a bit. The amount you taper in is totally up to you; all I did was cut the sides of the bodice mostly straight down so they were parallel to each other.
Once you’ve sewn up the sides and added sleeves, you’ll need to measure the bottom opening of the bodice, where the skirt will attach. This measurement should be just an inch or two wider than your little one’s waist, depending on how much you tapered it in. Mine was about 21″ (Vivian’s waist is 19″). With this number, you can make your circle skirt!
Circles skirts are awesome for two reasons: they are super cute and SUPER twirly! In fact, after your little girl tries hers on, you’ll be forced to make nothing but these for the foreseeable future!
The only downside is that they take a LOT of fabric and a little math.
Take your bodice opening measurement (i.e. 21″) and divide it by 6.28 (2π for the math nerds) = 3.3″. This is your radius (i.e. the measurement from the center of the circle skirt opening to the edge of the skirt’s waist). Fold your fabric in half and then in half again the other way so it’s 4 layers thick.
With a ruler, measure from the corner of your center fold 3.3 inches (or whatever your radius is) into the fabric and mark it at every point until you have a quarter circle that is 3.3″ from the corner all the way around (see diagram). Cut this curve out and then measure from this cut edge into the fabric to determine how long you want the skirt. I made mine about 13″ long so I measured 13″ from the curve I just cut and marked it to create another quarter circle. Cut this out to create the bottom edge of the skirt. You are essentially cutting out a giant donut, folded into quarters. (Mmmm, donuts…)
The zipper was also a breeze: first you’ll need to cut out a long rectangle where the placket should be. I cut the slit according to the Infinite A-line directions and then just widened it a bit to fit my zipper. I used a short, gold exposed zipper and just sewed it directly to the inside of the dress’s raw edge. In fact, the neckline, sleeve hems and skirt hem are all raw! Behold, the magic of sewing with polyurethane!
As you can see from the pictures, I also had a seam down the back of the skirt. This was mainly due to a goof in cutting it out but after topstitching the seam on either side, I really like how it turned out!
My last bit of advice for working with faux leather is this: remember to only finger press or use a pressing cloth with a cool iron. Also, invest in a Teflon sewing foot! I’ve made all my leather stuff lately with a regular sewing foot but it gets stuck regularly and is a general pain in my patootie. A specialized foot is a great investment in future stress-free leather sewing!
Now go make something edgy and fabulous!