Vintage Maria Drape Skirt

I had a rummage through my stash looking for long lost projects to make as part of my stashbust. I came upon this piece of vintage curtain fabric, bought from the local flea market last year, I think it cost £8. It is getting so difficult to find vintage fabric nowadays so I snapped it up with a view to making a rather lovely vintage skirt. That was as far as it got before languishing at the bottom off my stash chest, until now! It is quite a heavy fabric so did take up a fair bit of space in the pile so I thought I’d create a bit more room by finally putting it to use.

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The problem with this fabric was that although it was two and a half metres long it was only 57cm wide. I knew I wanted a skirt with a bit of body and flare but it was too thick to make a gathered skirt. I raided my skirt patterns but couldn’t find any which could be cut with my limited fabric and so I decided to have a go at drafting my own. I knew I wanted it fitted over my tum and hips and so I thought I’d go with stitched down pleats or tucks.

I cut two pieces for the waistband along the crossgrain as I couldn’t spare anything off the length. I planned to stitch the waistbands together at the sideseam, fold it double and attach a side zipper which would go all the way to the top of the waistband.

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After cutting the waistband I cut the remaining fabric into two equal pieces. I tapered the sides a bit to add some shape and reduce the bulk around the top of the skirt.

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Then it came to figuring out where to place the pleats. Half the waistband measured 16 inches. I roughly calculated that I could fit six pleats in total at a depth of one inch each. I decided to put three pleats either side and so spent quite a while measuring, fiddling, pinning, unpinning and fiddling a bit more until the pleats were more or less even and the waistline was matching the waistband at 16 inches. I did exactly the same for the back piece and then stitched the pleats in place on the inside. They are actually more like tucks as I stitched them as you would do a tuck. I did two rows of stitching and backstitched a few times at the bottom as I didn’t want them to come undone, this has unfortunately happened with the stitching on the pleats of my Colette Zinnia, I guess they just couldn’t take the strain!

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It was easy to put together after that, I sewed the side seams (no pockets because I didn’t have enough fabric and thought they might gape a bit with the fitted top of the skirt) and then attached the waistband, interfacing both sides. I put a standard zipper in the side seam and took it to the top of the waistband so not need for a button. I turned the hem up using the selvage and was finished!

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I’m quite pleased with the result, although when I asked my other half what he thought his reply was that it looked like an old curtain! I countered this by informing him that it was vintage and if Julie Andrews could do it in the sound of music then so could I! (Hence the Maria Drape Skirt!

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It is quite a heavy skirt so I think it will probably work better in the winter with thick black tights and a sweater. It was only after taking these photos that I realised that the skirt is quite well camouflaged with the flowers and greenery in the background!

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I think this skirt was a bit of a nostalgia trip for me, taking me back to my teenage years when I wore nothing but ‘vintage’ which was then called second hand. In abundance, dirt cheap and therefore affordable to a fifteen year old indie chick! We had a wonderful shop called Jins which was full of clothes from the twenties onwards. I was quite lucky being short and a bit curvy as clothes from the fifties fitted me perfectly. Most of these clothes have got lost along the way but I still have a couple of dresses and a beautiful New Look style shawl collared coat which I will probably never be able to fit in again but can’t bear to get rid of. I just like getting them out and admiring them every now and a again. A bit like all the shoes I have which I can’t walk in but occasionally put on to do the ironing in! I guess I am a bit sentimental about clothes, I’ve still got the top I was wearing the night I got together with my other half! I just think clothes hold memories, sometimes more tangibly than photographs.

Do you have any sentimentality when it comes to clothes? Have you any treasured outfits which hold memories for you?

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