Sunday, February 14, 2010

High Waisted Skirt - in progress

I'm in the midst of auditioning two different Burda Magazine patterns for my next project, a high-waisted black wool crepe skirt.  One of them is in the current February, 2010 edition (skirt 124) and the other is from a year ago - the same edition (January, 2009) that my orange plaid jacket came from - skirt 112. So far I'm liking the older pattern better.

Before I go on, a word about Burda.  I am really irritated that they are seriously mucking up their on-line magazine archive.  At least it still exists in accessible form in English, although who knows for how long.  The German version has gone all to H**L as a result of being "updated" or "improved".  I don't know how they would explain it, since they didn't respond to my e-mail asking about it and pointing out some of the problems with their new site.  For a while, they had two images for most patterns - the artsy posed version from the magazine, and a plain, mannequin shot from straight on so you could actually see the detail in the garment.  They also consistently had technical drawings for all sewn garments.  About a year ago they cut out the mannequin shots and now I notice that the February, 2010 pages omit any link to the technical drawings.  And it's no longer up to date.  The January, 2010 edition is lost in some sort of internet limbo.  Honestly! 

Rant over.

Anyhow, quite a few years ago I had a high waisted skirt pattern that I made over and over.  It was from long-defunct Vogue 2518, a "career wardrobe" pattern that I believe was a cheaper knock off of a then-current designer pattern (Anne Klein I think). 

As you can see from the line drawing, the straight skirt has a high waist coupled with 2 front pleats that the side pockets tuck into.  Back when I was using this 1990 pattern I was a bit trimmer than I am now and sadly, it would no longer fit.  But now that higher waists have been seen often enough that they no longer look odd, I am really hankering after a new version to replace my old TNT pattern. 

With that very long-winded intro, here's my muslin version of the waistband of 2009-01-112:

I left it open at the front for ease of use while fitting.  I traced a 38 which is my waist size, but had to let it out at the lower edge, and take it in at the upper edge (I guess I have a really small ribcage). 

I'm going to morph this waist onto the skirt pattern I developed using PatternMaster Boutique (PMB).  I've already made this pattern in at least 4 different versions and it will lend itself to this waistband very well, since the PMB skirt has princess seams.  Here's a pic of one version of the pattern.

This skirt had only side front and side back seams - the princess seaming and a deep side dart took care of my low curves. 

Here it is in action - the fit is the best I have ever achieved (which is why I've used this base over and over and over).

This particular version was long but for my current project I'm shortening to knee length and pegging the hem slightly. 

So here's my question for all you gurus out there.  Since the waistband on my skirt-in-progress is high, should I bone it to keep the high waist from collapsing?  I have some spiral steel boning (4" length) which I bought for a song at Dressew when last in Vancouver.  The seams in the waistband are longer than 4" but I thought perhaps I could make channels that end 4" down from the top of the waistband.  I would use an inner layer made of something substantial so the channels won't be seen on the outside.  What do you think of that idea?  If I do it, should I place the boning at the side-front and side-back seams or at the actual side seams?  The Sewing Lawyer is a bit embarrassed to confess that she has never ever sewn a garment with boning in it before and this seems like a possibly-good experiment.  If it won't work or you know of a fail-proof trick for making it work, please speak up!


  1. Here is a link to Ann of Gorgeous Fabric's blog where she shows how she used boning in a high-waisted skirt: I have been making a lot of skirts lately, too, and have been thinking of doing a high-waisted pencil skirt. Cant wait to see how yours turns out!!

  2. I love this pattern. It reminds me of Vogue 8425. Both the Burda and the Vogue suggest wool crepe or faille, and neither pattern mentions boning or any extra support. I am inclined to omit these if you use the required fabric.
    I am planning to make either one of these patterns in the spring and hope to use a wool double knit and THAT might require boning.
    Just my 2 cents worth..... Good Luck!

  3. Michelle beat me to it, so I'll jsut add that Ann added two short pieces of rigilene at the side seams to keep the waist standing up. I thought that was a great idea.

  4. Me again. I just researched Pattern review and many did use boning.......Lauralo has pictures and I think you can put rigilene in, or more sophisticated, depending on what you use.
    Thanks for making me think a little differently on the subject!

  5. P.S....I don't think you need spiral steel. Its always my first choice for a gown because it moves in every direction and makes a heavy gown more comfortable, but here you need only two small pieces that are not being used for supporting the body. Also, spiral steel is not hard to cut but crimping those little end caps is **such a pain** and hard to do from four sides. Mine always fell off. Just use rigilene unless you can find spiral steel cut to order (Lacis sells it that way)

  6. I just recently read an article about boning. I remembered it is on the Threads website. Here's the link:

    It's an article by Susan Khalje. She shows different areas to use boning in several areas of garments, including skirts. I think you would find this helpful.

  7. I am thinking of making a higher waisted skirt but being short waisted I will need to be careful of not going too high. I am interested to see how you go about it and even more importantly if the finished skirt is comfortable to wear :)

  8. I've read the same Susan Khalje article and I would use it. I think that you'll end up with a sleeker band that stays in place. It's going to be gorgeous.

  9. Kay, I made this very skirt recently. I did not use boning or rigiline. I wish had now. I did double interface the corset waist band area which did firm up that area, but it does tend to relax after wearing for a while. As noted above Anne Steeves wrote about this on her blog for a different highwaisted skirt. Also of note with this '09 skirt, the waistband facing is too short to cover the entire corset waistband pieces. So you may want to duplicate the pieces for the facing.

  10. Late to the party and Michelle already linked to my post (thanks Michelle! :) ). I've worn that skirt many times and the boning really keeps it looking sharp. I just used it at the side seams, and I used Rigiline instead of spiral steel. I'm sure either will work just fine.

  11. I'm planning to make this skirt as well so I'll be following your progress!

  12. On reading your post I just checked Burda's site. In German the archives always went 2 years further in history than the English (showing all from 2004 on). Where did they go with all this great information? Stupid decision.
    You got some great information on the boning already. I did a skirt like that, and didn't use boning, but interfaced the top part. For me that did work.