In this guest blog post, Ruth (aka @ninetostitch) shares the process that she used to make her version of this Christie Circle Skirt in African wax print fabric that I have called: 'Robina Leaves.' This pattern shows off beautifully this print and it is available in my sewing book: Sewing With African Wax Print Fabric. New to African Wax Print Fabric? Then you will love this blog post. Grab a cup of your favourite drink and enjoy!!
"I am big fan of circle skirts. They are my favourite style of skirt. I love a skirt with a god twirl appeal. Even though I have made a good number of circle skirts, I have always made my skirts with a sewing pattern, so this was not new to me.
I pre-wash religiously, but I didn't bother to pre-wash the African wax print. Growing up, I never pre-washed African wax print so I find it difficult to pre-wash now.
I made a size 12 in the pattern and made the shorter version. For height reference, I'm 5ft6, and the shorter skirt hit me well below my knees. As Ankara is 45" wide, it was not wide enough to cut the skirt pieces on the fold (straight grain). As such, I folded the fabric on the cross grain [*note this is not the bias*] and cut out my pieces on the cross grain. I also added pockets to the skirt. Being able to add pockets is definitely one of the best thing about making handmade clothes. African wax print is amazing because of of stable it is, this fabric was so easy to cut out.
As a rule, I add interfacing to pieces that require a lot of structure. Even though the pattern doesn't require interfacing since African wax print has great structure on its own, I still elected to add interfacing to the waistband. My waistband is interfaced with medium weight fusible interfacing.
After cutting out my pieces and interfacing the waistband, I sewed the skirt using my own method. As a lazy sewist, I always try to make garments the easiest and fastest way possible. In this event, instead of making the waistband as suggested by the pattern which involves putting the zip only on the skirt and adding hook and bars to the waistband; I shortened the waistband piece and added the zip from the waistband down to the skirt. Ankara is a dream to sew. It's beautiful stable and doesn't move around. So I was able to make this skirt with minimal pinning which made thing easier and faster to sew. I finished all the seams with the overlocker to ensure the raw edges are finished. However, African wax print frays quite minimally, I think one could get away with just finishing with pinking shears.
As a circle skirt lover, one thing I have come to realise is really important is waiting for the hem to drop. As circle skirts are made on the bias [*note that this skirt was cut on the cross-wise grain*], the fabric is likely to drop in different areas of the skirt. As such, you should wait before hemming your skirt. After sewing the skirt, I placed it on my mannequin. I would usually leave my skirt overnight or until I have time to hem my skirt. In my usual practice, after the hem had dropped, I'd level the hem of the skirt before sewing the hem. However, in this case, even though I waited for almost two weeks, the fabric didn't drop unevenly. I'm guessing this is because of the weight of the circle skirt. To make my hem, I also went the lazy route. I overlocked the hem edges and just folded once to create the hem. Circle skirts take a lot of patience to hem as there is a lot of fabric at the hem. All in all, circle skirts are very easy to sew. They are amazingly beginner friendly and they look awesome.
After making my skirt, I made my first handmade accessory. This is the Hattie headband. This headband is made of two rectangular pieces. The instructions provide the dimensions for the headband pieces. I used my quilting ruler to measure out the pieces that needed cutting out. After cutting out the pieces, everything else went very quickly. After sewing the two pieces of the headband, I used my loop turner to turn the pieces to the right side. I gave it all a good press and added elastic to the smaller piece. The elastic was added using safety pins. Attaching the larger headband piece to the smaller piece was very easy. The headband was created in a matter minutes. This was a very easy make and it was so rewarding. I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed this make."
Shop Sewing with African Wax Print Fabric Book here.
Shop Robina Leaves here.