Tuesday, 3 February 2015

WAAF Skirt, or how to make a 4 panel skirt in a day.

I'm in the middle of getting kit together for my last WW2 interpretation - Womens Auxiliary Air Force.
Original at the IWM

Getting the right fabric for WAAF is really hard, the colour never seems to be quite right. Anyway, I managed to find someone selling some old Hainsworth blue-grey barathea on eBay which is lighter than Hainsworth's current range.

With this I've made a skirt. WAAF skirts are made up of four panels and they don't have a waistband, the opening is at the front and on the left as you wear it. Simple! This pattern can be used for modern skirts too! So how did I go about it?...

- 150cm fabric, any width should do.
- matching thread
- 1 x button
- 3 x hooks and eyes (you can use a zip if you are making a modern skirt).
- 1-2m Petersham ribbon (Grosgrain will also suffice), about 1.5 to 2" wide.

- Measure your waist and hips (as I wear a girdle for WW2 I made sure I wore this to get a more accurate measurement). Add a little extra for ease - if for example your hips are 35" then add an extra inch or two to allow for movement. Also measure from your waist to 3" below the knee if making a WAAF skirt, or to your desired length if making a modern skirt, and from waist to hip.
- Divide your final waist and hip measurements by four. This is then how big your skirt panels will be.
- Fold your fabric so both selvedge edges meet in the middle (or any other way you choose, whichever is more economical). This means you will cut the panels on the fold meaning you then need to half your measurements when drawing the pattern.
- From top edge, assuming it's level (or make it level) measure and draw with chalk 1/2" , this is the seam allowance to be turned over at the waist. Mark your waist measurement (half of the quartered total as previously mentioned). Use your waist-hip measurement to determine where you are to mark your hip measurement. Then from the waist seam (not including the 1/2" turnover) mark on the length.
- Draw through the waist and hip marks to connect them and continue to the chosen length. Please note, the waist and hips may not fall in a straight line, this doesn't matter just draw a straight line from the waist and there will just be extra room for your hips! Also because the line is at an angle, the length measurement will appear shorter than the one drawn on the straight, just connect these two measurements with a curve (see photo).
- Now the important measurements are drawn on (you can always measure them and double check) you need to add on seam allowance. The waist is already done. For the side seams I used 1" which allows for any alterations if needs be, and for the hem I used 2".
- Cut out the panel and repeat for the rest of the panels.

- Pin the panels together leaving a gap of 6" from the top edge on one seam. This will allow you to get in and out of the skirt! Sew the seams and then neaten them (also neaten the gap you left).
- Zig-zag stitch along the top edge to stop it from fraying.
- From the fabric, cut a placket. The finished size should be the length of your opening (so 6" in my case) and at least 3-4" wide.
 - Sew the placket onto the left side panel (see photo) leaving a 1/2" gap at the top.
- With the ribbon, neaten one end. With right sides together, pin the ribbon along the waist edge. (NB. don't pull it tight because the ribbon is straight whereas the skirt flares out). Stitch into place, neatening the other end when you get there. On the outside, top stitch along the waist edge.
- If you've allowed 2" for the hem, pin up 1" and stitch along the folded edge. Then turn it up another inch and pin in place. This is then ready to hand sew later.
- Make a button hole. I used the machine. This will go on the front panel on the left along the waist (see photo). You may need to trim the fabric in the waist if it is a little bulky!

- Trim all loose/hanging threads.
-  Hand sew the hem.
- Sew a few stitches where the ribbon meets the skirt seams, this will hold the ribbon in place.
- Sew the ends of the ribbon down. 
- Sew a button onto the placket so it matches up with the button hole.
- Sew on hooks and eyes along the opening.

Done! Any questions, then don't hesitate to ask!

No comments:

Post a Comment