Wednesday, 6 August 2014

The Wild West Rayon Circle Skirt

Falls meine deutschsprachigen Leser sich hin und wieder eine deutsche Version meiner Posts wünschen: ich würde auch gerne jeden Post zweisprachig schreiben, aber das braucht fast doppelt so viel Zeit, obwohl ich sehr gerne schreibe. Ich werde dem Wunsch sicher hin und wieder nachkommen, aber sonst gibt es hier in der linken Spalte auch ein Übersetzungs-Werkzeug, das zwar nicht perfekt ist, aber eine brauchbare Hilfe darstellt. Habt bitte Verständnis, dass meine Zeit einfach nicht immer für beides reicht. :-)

I wanted to post about this skirt for quite some time, as I have been wearing it on several occasions before. But I didn't have time to take pictures earlier. Weather was bad very often. Or my hair. Or both. Usually it's both. As my hair is bad when weather is bad too. But my hair is bad even with good weather. It usually IS bad.

To tell you the truth straight away: Never ever again will I sew a rayon circle skirt. Ever. (Hit me on the head if I ever plan anything similar again… You have my permission.)

I know, there are different type of rayon fabrics. Those from the 40s sometimes have a more "cotton-like" feel to them. The one I have used on this skirt was slightly stretchy and slippery. Almost like chewing gum. A marvel to wear. A nightmare to work with.

But let's start with the beginning.

Since I was a little girl, I liked Western movies, and I was fascinated by the myth and heroes of the Wild West. John Wayne was my hero. No joke. I dreamt of living on a ranch somewhere in Montana or the Southwest. I deeply love the vast landscape of Northern America, and the history of these regions will always be one of my major interests.

So when I saw this vintage rayon print with lots of Wild West motives, I absolutely HAD to have it. I bought it on Etsy, and I was lucky the seller was willing to ship to Switzerland. When the fabric arrived I realized there where different meanings of vintage. Items from the 1940s definitely ARE vintage, but so are also items from the 1980s - as for example most probably this fabric. It just didn't have that 1940s touch to it, even thought the seller sold it as a supply from the 1950s - it looks like that old from the print, but isn't. And it's much wider than vintage fabrics usually are…
I certainly could be wrong, but it's just not the real mid-century stuff - but despite being much younger, the print looks very 50s like, and I love it nonetheless. The colour palette is adorable (perfect for a red-head like me) and great to find matching tops and accessories.

As a circle skirt is a must-have for a vintage wardrobe, I decided to make this skirt in one day. Plus. Circle skirts are sooo easy to sew. Well, things turned out a little bit different. First I calculated the dimensions of my "pattern" according to my measurements. Cutting the fabric would probably have been an easy thing, but not with this fabric. To lay out the material and cut it on the grain was almost impossible. I needed tons of pins and a lot of time. Jeeeez, you really don't want to spend 2 hours to cut a circle skirt, do you?

Stitching the side seams together was the easiest part, as they were made from the fabric selvages. Thanks to my miracle tape the zipper went in better as easy as ABC despite the "slipperiness" of the fabric. But sewing the waist band was a nightmare, and in the end the skirt turned out a bit too wide. I love skirts with a snug fit around the waist. But this skirt just keeps sliding down to my hips. It's also the drape of the material that somehow seems to make the skirt "hang" down more than probably a cotton fabric skirt would do.

As to the hem - well, sadly the hem doesn't look even at all. I let the skirt hang for almost two days. (So far to the one-day-project…) I have read once that you should give the fabric some time to "fall" properly so any differences due to drape and bias and stretchiness etc. are leveled. But the length of the skirt altered whenever I moved the skirt, and they remained uneven for  all those  hours. So in the end, I just took up a hem of a little bit more than one inch - and that's it. My husband of course noticed the uneven length (sometimes I curse his awareness of "sewing-stuff"), but I'm sure most people won't. And I will not mention how dreadful the waistband was to make. It WAS dreadful. And also looks like. The best thing about it is the button. A vintage button from my grandmothers button box. She will sit gladly on a cloud and look down on me, using all the buttons she inherited from her mom. I feel very gifted whenever I look at those treasures.

On the pictures I'm wearing a self-made knit blouse. I used a high quality cotton knit fabric from a jersey manufactory nearby, very light-weight but solid. A dream to sew and wear! It is made from a patio dress pattern (Advance 6760). I changed the length of the sleeves. It's a nice match for a western themed skirt, don't you think?

I will make the same pattern certainly again, but a little bit smaller. It is a pattern for wovens or knits, but as knits today maybe have more stretch than in the 1950s, there's no need for so much extra-space. A little bit too large, however, very nice to wear. I love the collar (front and back)  and the comfortable fit of the top.

This is the jewelry set I am wearing on the pictures. Well, it was, when I bought it. Even though sold as "shell jewelry", the seller pretended afterwards she "didn't know it was made from shell" and therefore breakable. As it was not wrapped properly for shipping, some flowers of the brooch unfortunately broke. Stupid cow.

In person the jewelry matches the colors of the fabric much better...

I can swirl and twirl, and it's really a great thing to wear such an amount of fabric. And so comfortable - it almost makes me forget the troubles I had…It feels cool and smooth and drapey... And it has all that Western stuff on it, wagons, yuccas in bloom, cacti, cowboy boots, bulls' skulls, a "hacienda"... I really like it!

Skirt: me-made, self-drafted circle skirt (incredibly slippery rayon fabric)
Blouse: me-made after Advance 6760, Swiss cotton knit fabric
Jewelry: 1950s shell earrings & brooch set, bought on Etsy
Watch: Italian Murano (Venice) millefiori glass watch, gift from my lovely husband
Glasses: repro eye-cat glasses, don't remember anymore where exactly from
Shoes: Moheda Toffeln from Sweden - they ship worldwide, and no, I don't get any money from them for promotion… But they are great and comfortable to wear, so why shouldn't I tell about it?


  1. Wow! Love the whole outfit! The shape of the collar is great, and who can tell if the skirt hem is uneven (well, apart from your eagle-eyed husband)?? With such bitchy fabric , you did really well!
    I hate it when sellers get it wrong, there's no excuse for it. The fabric might be a repro print, and the shell-woman....gah! Just stupid...

    Love your sunglasses too btw;)

    1. Siri, thanks! My husband is very patient since we live together, he supports my sewing, even though dinner isn't always ready when he comes home… After all these years, he must have learnt something!

      Best regards from Switzerland!

  2. Wunderschön und ich glaube das mit dem Mann und dem Knipsen wird immer besser :)

    1. Haha, das denkst aber nur Du… Manchmal hat er ein Talent dazu, in dem Augenblick abzudrücken, wo ich grad ein dämliches Gesicht mache… Aber es wird noch! Ich muss wohl auch noch ein wenig Erziehungsarbeit leisten. :-)

  3. Nice dress! Rayon can be quite difficult to work with! I love the colors of the skirt and your blouse is lovely too!

  4. wow! wunderschöne Farben! da ist es doch wurscht ob der Stoff aus den 40er oder 80ern ist :) ich weiß genau was du meinst, das ist echt keine Freude mit Stoffen zu arbeiten, die einfach nicht machen,was man will :-D
    Der Rock hat eine coole Länge. ich mach meine ja meist etwas kürzer,so dass sie das Knie bedenken, aber das sieht echt super aus.
    Nur noch ein paar Nahaufnahmen von dem Stoff hätte ich mir gewünscht :-)

  5. Dass die Angabe zum Stoff nicht stimmte, war mir auch Wurscht, nur die "Konsistenz" des Stoffes hat mich genervt, und die war nun mal untypisch 50er… Aber der Druck ist toll, und ich werde doch gleich noch ein Bild mit den schönen Motiven einfügen - danke!

  6. toller rock, tolles oberteil und deine haare sehen schon wieder so großartig aus ... und danke für das vorstellen der moheda clogs, die scheinen ja die günstigere variante der unbazahlbaren hasbeens zu sein. wie du sie beschreibst sind die mohedas mindestens genause bequem wie meine flohmarkt hasbeens. :)

    1. Tatsächlich sind die Mohedas günstiger, sind auch toll und superbequem. Mit meinen kaputten Füssen kann ich nicht mehr alles tragen.
      Hin und wieder gibt es auch Sale, was sich dann natürlich besonders lohnt. Ich habe drei Paar, und wenn die Kasse stimmt möchte ich gern noch rote haben nächstes Jahr. :-) (Frau hat ja nie genug Schuhe.)

      Grüsse nach Deutschland!

  7. OMG !!! My heart began to "gallop" when I saw the print of this skirt !! It's just wonderful! No matter sewing problems ... no matter the time spent in cut off the skirt ... only admire and enjoy this wonderful skirt, dear friend !! Also love that top ... I'm thinking of "blatantly copying" it ....

    1. Rosy, this is not "copying" it - we all look for inspiration, and that's what blogs are for. :-) There is a project you made that I'm thinking about to make it myself too… I have the fabric in my stash since one year, but didn't have time so far.

      And yes, the print is gorgeous! Not only the motives, but also the colors. I really love it!


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