I have been waiting for the perfect fabric to design a skater skirt. So the moment I found a thick boiled wool fabric, it was time. A skater skirt is a high waisted skirt that has dramatic flare. The term 'skater skirt' originates from what a female figure skater would wear. When a figure skater did their spins, their skirt would flow around them beautifully, hence the term skater skirt.
I wanted to design my version of the skater skirt with as much flare as possible. Check out highlights from my design process below.
I used a thick black boiled wool fabric. It is fantastic for the winter, but looking back it was not fun hand sewing the waistband due to the thick seam allowances it was creating. Regardless, it was worth it! I purchased the fabric from Fabricland on Marine Drive.
Boiling wool dates back to the Middle Ages. It is the process of taking already weaved or knitted fibers, which makes fabric, then boiling and agitating it in hot water. This process shrinks the fabric resulting in a really tight and dense fabric. This create the heavy weight you feel. I am fairly sure my skater skirt weighs at least 2 pounds.
I wanted as much flare as possible in this skirt with out having to add any gathers or pleats. So, I drafting a complete circle with enough space in the middle to fit my waist. A waistband was also drafted (sorry not shown) that fit right around my natural waist. Seams are only on the side seams. Ideally, it would have been nice to only have a center back seam to decrease the weight with the boiled wool.
Another term for this style of skirt is a circle skirt. Any guesses why it would be called this? Just have a look at the pattern!
This skirt was almost fully hand sewn with the exception of the side seams, the zipper and the initial attachment of the waistband to the skirt. Normally hook and eyes are used to accompany a zipper closure, but I opted for snaps as I find the larger snaps much more secure and discreet.
The majority of my time was spent preparing and hand sewing the hem. The length of the entire hem all the way around is 145 inches, so you can only imagine how long that would take to hand sew. I applied a blind slip stitch to finish the hem.
A helpful characteristic of boiled wool is that when pressed or steamed the fabric will mold to the shape you require. This made pressing the hem into place really easy with out any excess fabric in the hem seam allowance.
I thought I would include an inside view of the skirt for you. How cool does it look laying flat? Makes me want to twirl around to show off the flare.
Learn how to make your own skater skirt by booking yourself in for a sewing lesson with me. This is how I wore my skater skirt. Now its time to twirl!
Designed, photographed and written by Sheila Wong Studios