Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Details: Chico's Basketweave Cattrall Skirt

I recently got an interesting skirt from Chico's that had some details that I thought I'd share. FYI, the skirt is sold out. So if you want a skirt like this, you'll need to make it! Here it is on a hanger, since the picture and description have already been pulled from Chico's web site.

The band trimming the bottom is latticework! Strips of coordinating fabric were cut on the bias and sewn together in a grid pattern. The very bottom edge is a bias binding of the same fabric. Great idea!

True to RTW, some shortcuts were taken that we sewers probably would not do. The lattice was completed for front and back, sewn on the bottom of each skirt piece, then the side seams were sewn. It doesn't look bad, but it's not the neatest finish.

Most sewers would not have left the back side of each bias strip raw like this. At the very least, a coverstitch could have been used? It looks ok from the front but the back looks more messy than I'd want on one of my creations.

I know it sounds like I'm complaining but I'm really not.

I like the skirt, it's cute on me, and it's a clever concept. And it was on sale! The original price was $108 and I got it for $26.12 with free shipping. Don't get me wrong, I didn't buy it just because of the price. I'd noticed it before and liked it. However, the price was what pushed me over the edge.

This would be a cute touch to replicate on a hem, sleeve, or even on pants legs. Keep in mind that the latticework does stiffen the hem, resulting in a bell-like silhouette. You could put it as a lower band as Chico's did, or make an insert, ending with a lower band of the main fabric. There was an example of this in Threads' recent article on working with sheers.

In addition to my previous comments, here are my suggestions for incorporating this technique into your own outfit:

  • Use a lightweight fabric--the Chico's version uses rayon charmeuse for the skirt and poly charmeuse for the latticework, which works well.

  • Finish the raw edges of the lattice strips. Yes, they're bias and shouldn't ravel out. But you know better! 'Nuff said.

  • Lay out your lattice strips on a layer or two of stabilizer; a water soluble kind like Solvy should work fine. The lattice on the Chico's skirt starts with a layer of vertical strips overlaid with a layer of horizontal strips. The horizontal strips were finished and attached to the vertical strips at the same time. I think it would work better to finish all the strips, lay them out, and tack together the intersections. But whatever. When everything's laid out, layer some more Solvy on top, pin all layers together securely before moving the whole "sandwich" to the machine to sew together. Make a piece long enough to fit all the way around the bottom with one joining seam. I'd work "semi-round". In other words, sew one of the side seams, attach the lattice (still contained with in the stabilizer), then sew the remaining side seam, skirt, lattice and all. Then bind the edge. Then, and only then, remove the stabilizer after everything is safely attached.

  • If you have a serger, use it. Lots of raw edges to deal with. If you don't have a serger, bind your seams.

  • This technique would probably work better on a straight-ish hem edge vs. a curved one. I know, someone will prove me wrong. Good for you! I'm just saying that's how I'd work it.

By the way, I'm thinking of adding this kind of post as a semi-regular feature on my blog. I'm thinking posts like this, little construction details, etc. I may or may not go into much detail, it just depends on what I'm featuring. What do you think? Good idea? Meh? Let me know...


kasizzle said...

Great idea! Your suggestions are great.

Debbie Cook said...

Definitely a good idea to do these types of posts on semi-regular basis (or even regular!). I often "steal" from this types of details in RTW and I really liked your post today.

Gigi said...

I love this type of post because I'm always scouring RTW for special little details that I can add to my own creations! The skirt is adorable - they sewed it the super easy way with a double needle chainstitch machine. I'd probably want to make bias tubes and actually weave them. This would actually be a great trim to use on a dress or top too. Thanks for sharing it - skritches to Smudge!

Nancy (nanflan) said...

Thanks for the positive responses, everybody.

Gigi, I'm glad you responded--I knew you'd know exactly how it was done. They probably produced miles of lattice when doing the production run for these skirts.

I'd also prefer bias tubes woven and tacked at the intersections. Lyla Messinger used that technique for a vest in Threads many years ago. On the other hand, the strips could be cover stitched, a great excuse to get a binder attachment for my Evolve!

When we used to go to Juarez, there were a couple of bridal and formalwear fabric shops that had lovely stuff. They actually sold trims similar to this that were woven in the bias, usually with rattail cord. Gorgeous stuff, and expensive even at Mexican border town prices.

Little Hunting Creek said...

This is a great idea and I found your post very educational. It got me to thinking about what OTHER things one could weave and use as an embellishment...ribbons? wider tubes of sheers? illusion? I got out my idea notebook and added those. Thank you for sharing a great idea!

Little Hunting Creek said...

p.s. I hope Smudge is feeling better!

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

I also vote yes for seeing more of these RTW details! I don't do a lot of shopping so to see some of the details upclose and personal is really helpful!

Cindy said...

Fantastic detail! Thanks for the post and I'd love more like this.

Gigi said...

A binder attachment is a must-have but you'd probably want a belt-loop folder to do something like this on the coverstitch. Wow, that would make it really, really simple - and nice enough for casual wear when you don't want to invest a lot of time using couture techniques.

Years ago, I taught a lattice class (we used Ultrasuede). We traced the pattern onto Solvy and marked our grid and then just sewed the strips on, cut it out, bound the edges and washed out the Solvy. A bit time-consuming but fun and very easy.

ACorgiHouse said...

I really like this idea, both the lattice and the posting of interesting construction details. I have a black pair of cotton pants that are just a hair too short. They need about an inch along the bottom, but could handle more if I wear taller shoes. I'm thinking if I could find a print with the same shade of black, I might use this technique to lengthen them. I was going to do some (real) work this morning, but perhaps I need to go poke through the stash first and see what I can find! thanks. K

Nancy (nanflan) said...

Gigi, of course you're right. I meant the belt loop folder attachment. I think it's neat, but I've had a hard time convincing myself to get it--after all, how many belt loops does the average person make?

Mardel said...

Great post, cute skirt and interesting details. I love this kind of post even though I am a little late at getting around to it. This would be really fun to do in using either couture techniques or something quicker.

Thanks for posting and the wonderful discussion.