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inspiration: Skirts

DIY TWO TONE TARTAN SKIRT

And just as everything 90′s is de rigueur this season, tartan has made a serious comeback (but I’m guessing you know that already, right?). And because it’s pretty much a requirement for me to make a skirt using every fabric that crops up on the trend-o-metre, I recently crafted this two tone tartan number, perfect for virtually instant lumberjack-ensemble-craving satisfaction.

To make this skirt I used a super simple gathered elastic waist construction (you will have seen it before here and here), but this time I made it half black and half tartan for the two tone look. In case you’re wondering, I often opt for this type of skirt when I want to make something fast (it looks particularly good in brocade or taffeta), for this version I crafted a belt in matching black fabric to go over the top of the gathered waistband, the perfect finish for the easiest skirt you’ll make all year (and it’s only January!).

how to make a two tone tartan skirtHow to make a two tone tartan skirtGeneva Vanderzeil from A Pair and a Spare makes a Tartan Skirt

Outfit: DIY skirt, Tony Bianco Heels, Witchery tee, Boda Skins Jacket, custom tartan watch that I designed here.  

You need:

  • 1 metre of black fabric (1.2 yards)
  • 1 metre of tartan fabric (1.2 yards)
  • Thread
  • Elastic to match the size of your waist
  • A sewing machine

Geneva Vanderzeil from A Pair and a Spare makes a Tartan Skirt

1. First, cut the fabric to the right length and shown in this pattern corresponding to how long you want it to sit when you wear it.

Two Tone Tartan Skirt

2. Sew the black and tartan fabric together where shown by dashed lines in the pattern.

Two Tone Tartan Skirt

3. Open out and iron. The resulting piece of fabric should look like this.

Geneva Vanderzeil from A Pair and a Spare makes a Tartan Skirt

4. Finish the hem on the fabric by rolling twice, ironing and then sewing down.

Geneva Vanderzeil from A Pair and a Spare makes a Tartan Skirt

5. Sew all the way around, creating a hem for the whole piece of fabric including the black section. Make sure the transition between the tartan and black section is as natural as possible.

Geneva Vanderzeil from A Pair and a Spare makes a Tartan Skirt

6. Then sew down the top edge, leaving a gap through which to thread your elastic. Sew the elastic together to secure. and then snip off any excess.

tartan skirt (4)

7. Sew the final short edge together, using a zig zag stitch to finish the edges so they don’t fray.

Two Tone Tartan Skirt

8. To create a simple waistband that looks better than the gathered elastic, cut a section of black fabric 7.5 cm (3 in) wide and sew down the edges ensuring the rough edge is folded over completely. Tie this over the top of the waistband and in a bow at the back to give a more finished look.

Geneva Vanderzeil from A Pair and a Spare makes a Tartan Skirt

Voila! Wear with your favourite biker jacket.

Two tone Tartan Skirthow to make a two tone tartan skirt

Oh and in case a tartan skirt wasn’t enough, I recently took my addiction to all things tartan to another level by custom designing a tartan watch using this cool program. All I did was take a picture of the fabric, edit it for colour and upload it to Zazzle’s website, playing around with the layout of it on the watch. The finished product came fairly quickly (considering most post takes foreverrrrrr to get to Hong Kong), and was such a simple way to get on board with whatever the perfect print or fabric trend is around that you like.

I can’t help but think good a watch design would look with this Tory Burch print or this Givenchy one be in the lead up to the summer season? Oh and psst, I’m told you can use the code ‘pairandaspare’ for 10% off your own design!

Outfit images by Luke Casey

DIY SCUBA / NEOPRENE MINI SKIRT

I’ve been feeling the scuba trend for quite a few seasons now, and recently got my hands on some blush pink wetsuit/ne0prene fabric and knew it would make a great skirt (you can find a few colours of neoprene here). I experimented with this process and made the template from scratch, so it needed a bit of tweaking here and there, but I found neoprene to be a really simple fabric to work with, particularly given you don’t need to sew any hems, and it was stretchy enough to not have to put in a zip, yay!

Geneva Vanderzeil of A Pair and A Spare makes a scuba skirt
Geneva Vanderzeil of A Pair and A Spare makes a scuba skirt

Wearing: Gap Tee, DIY Skirt, Zara Heels, Dylan Kain Bag

You need:

  • at least 2 metres ( 2.5 yards) of scuba/neoprene fabric around 0.5cm thick (1/4 of an inch)
  • craft paper
  • a pencil
  • super sharp scissors
  • pins
  • a sewing machine
  • matching needle and thread

(a sewing kit like this will have most of what you need to get started).

How to:

1. Draw and up and then cut out this pattern onto craft paper. Note the pattern isn’t to scale as it will end up being bigger than A4.Just sketch it onto paper and make sure the dimensions are the same. You may also want to modify it slightly for length by adding a few cm/inches to the wider part of the template at the bottom.

Geneva Vanderzeil shows you how to make a scuba skirt

2. Work out how many pattern pieces you need. They are 10cm (4 inches) wide at the top (the part that goes around your waist) so what you need to do is work out how many panels you need to go around your waist. Remember you will lose some room when you sew the seams so if need be cut an extra one. I cut 8 but ended up only needing 7 when I sewed it all together. Cut your chosen number of rectables out of neoprene bigger than the template.

Geneva Vanderzeil shows you how to make a scuba skirt

3. Stack them together and pin the template on top.

Geneva Vanderzeil shows you how to make a scuba skirt

4. Cut them out around the template.

Geneva Vanderzeil shows you how to make a scuba skirt

5. Make sure to match the template carefully!

Geneva Vanderzeil shows you how to make a scuba skirt

6. Placing the wrong side together, pin two pieces of neoprene together.

Geneva Vanderzeil shows you how to make a scuba skirt

7. Pin the rest to the edges all the way around.

Geneva Vanderzeil shows you how to make a scuba skirt

8. Sew all the edges together making sure to reinforce the beginning and end stitches.

Geneva Vanderzeil shows you how to make a scuba skirt

9. Sew the final panels together, you won’t need a zip because you should be able to get it over your head due to the stretch in the fabric. At this point you will want to check where it sits on your and perhaps add or remove panels, I ended up removing a panel and sewing the last seam together because I wanted it to sit high on my waist.

A Pair And A Spare Scuba Skirt A Pair And A Spare Scuba Skirt

Voila.

Geneva Vanderzeil of A Pair and A Spare makes a scuba skirtGeneva Vanderzeil of A Pair and A Spare makes a scuba skirt

Btw, have to say I’m loving my new bag from Dylan Kain, a super cool brand created by my sister’s friends who live between Melbourne and New York. I have my eye on this backpack too, although, having two black leather backpacks would probably be a bit over the top (or would it…?).

Geneva Vanderzeil of A Pair and A Spare makes a scuba skirt

Photography by Sarah Deutrom

DIY INSPO: TARTAN SKIRTS

And just like clockwork, the new season brings on an urge to make a new skirt. Every time I see a trend I love I think to myself – could I make a skirt like that? I wonder why that is…? I guess admittedly most of the skirts I make are of simple construction and are therefore an easy way to experiment with fabrics (hoping to master sewing a jacket one of these days!). In tune with grunge vibe I mentioned last week, tartan has be catching my eye of late. Lucky for me you can pick up some tartan at just about any fabric store, something I did recently. In case you were wondering I skipped making a skirt out of dollar store tartan bags a la Celine! Now, all I have to do is decide whether it’s going to be pencil or flippy. Thoughts? Slimline or fluted?

a pair and a spare tartan inspo a pair and a spare tartan inspo a pair and a spare tartan a pair and a spare tartan inspo

Images: here, here, here, here, here, herehere, here.