Thursday, March 17, 2011

papel picado skirt

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Once again, my favorite local fabric store, Fabrique, was hosting their remnant challenge where you can win up to $200 in store credit by making something from the fabrics in their remnant bin.  The selection of remnants was much more picked over this year, but I finally had a eureka moment when I found a piece of pink ultrasuede.  It's a funky color and the stiffness of the fabric limited my garment options quite a bit, but it is perfect for cutwork, and that seemed like a fun way to turn boring fabric into something really unusual.

1977 - Simplicity 8112
Since I already have some experience with cutwork, I knew what I was getting into (sore fingers and many many hours on mindless cutting!), but I also knew that it usually goes faster than you'd think and the payoff is well worth the effort.  Although it is perfect for cutting, ultrasuede is not the most forgiving fabric for tailoring, so I picked a basic mock wrap skirt pattern from my stash that dates from 1977.  This pattern has minimal shaping and and no zipper, so I was hoping that it would be simple enough to work with the suede.

Next I drew out a border design based on Mexican papel picado (perforated paper) banners.  As an art teacher, I thought it would be fun to take a traditional art form that we study in class and translate it into fashion.  The hardest part was getting the design to curve to fit the shape of the hem, but luckily, Photoshop came to the rescue and helped me bend the borders without too much frustration.

Next, I printed out my patterns for the entire border design and stuck it to the back of the ultrasuede with spray basting adhesive.  I used an exacto knife and a leather punch to cut the pattern, and it took me 6 days to get the cutwork done... which is actually much faster than I expected.

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The only part of this project that gave me problems was assembling the skirt, which I thought would be the easy part.  HA!  I underestimated the amount of time it would take to make the lining due to the scalloped hem, the ultrasuede liked to stretch when I sewed it, my experiment with spray fusing was a failure, the skirt was too big, and the waistband just refused to go on.  But I pushed on through and the skirt was finally beaten into submission.  I turned the skirt in to the fabulous ladies at Fabrique with 3 whole hours to spare before the deadline.  

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When I was finished with the cutwork, I was left with a big bowl filled with little tiny scraps of the ultrasuede.  These little pieces reminded me of confetti, so to celebrate the end of a VERY long week, I decided to indulge in a little silliness.  I'll probably be sweeping ultrasuede bits off of my patio for the next year, but it was so worth it!  :)

This was a fun project, and I enjoy having a chance to step away from the authentic historical projects for a little while and flex my creative muscles.  Thanks to Fabrique for hosting this inspiring contest!

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25 comments:

Missie said...

That came out amazingly! And the style looks stunning on you. How you find the time with a job and family, I don't know!

Catherine G said...

You are just too awesome!

(cathgrace from LJ)

Jennifer said...

That is awesome!

peteyfrogboy said...

Fantastic!

Evie said...

That cutwork is gorgeous!

fiberferret said...

It came out amazing. I love how you tackle daunting projects and make them look so easy.

ingrid said...

Wow, this is just amazing! I LOVE it!

spyder said...

sensational!

Garnet said...

That skirt is simply amazing! I've been cutting similar intricate patterns out of paper for years, but I never dreamed of using fabric! Very inspirational.

Garnet

Lauren said...

This is so amazing! I really admire all your hard work on this. Gorgeous pics, too!

What-I-Found said...

Stunning! One of those "why hasn't somebody thought of this before" ideas.

thornberry said...

That is so beautiful! It looks lovely on you and is worth every second of the time it took you.

snusmumriken.wordpress.com said...

Wow. I am really impressed.

Roobeedoo said...

That is just incredible! I would never have thought of doing this and the finished skirt is just - wow!

KibitzKnitz said...

Amazing!! What a creative idea; your skirt is lovely.

casey said...

Wow! I am blown away by the intricacy and work the cutwork took! Bravo--a really stunning piece! :)

♥ Casey

Summer Flies said...

Sew beautiful... I have only just seen your blog and it is lovely. I think you have styled this skirt beautifully. I normally do not like black on top with light on the bottom but it really makes the skirt pop! And I love the belt too. A really beautiful job and I hope you win!!

Modern Suzie said...

That is a stunning skirt. Wow, just stunning. I hope you win. The cutwork is really neat.

lsaspacey said...

WOW, WOW, WOW!!!! Just amazing!

Selina said...

That's such a beautiful skirt! You did a really amazing job, it's super inspiring :) Thanks for sharing it with us!

Christiana said...

Sew creative and stunning. Sure to win awards!

Christiana
sewamusing.blogspot.com

LydiaO said...

Jen that is just a friggin awesome cool skirt. You have a lot of patience LOL!

Iz bakinog ormara said...

One of the coolest and most creative things I've ever seen sewn. It could have never ocurred to me. What a great idea, and also the way you carried it out. Bravo!

K.Line said...

What a beautiful garment. Looks as complicated as I'm sure it was!

Time Traveling in Costume said...

This is beautiful, and congratulations! You did a lot of hard work on it and it shows. I'm glad they appreciated that.
Val

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