The seminal Seminole experience
What do you do when someone gives you an entire shoebox (and they had large feet) full of bias binding in all the colours of the rainbow? This was my dilemma (yeah, first world problems) a few months ago when the grandmother of someone I know moved house and got rid of all her haberdashery from her seamstressing career by offloading it into the impatiently waiting arms of my sister, who then, as she had no room either, offloaded it to me (yes, I can hear your wails of envy and gnashing of teeth as it’s something akin to every DIYers fantasy, I know).
Having recently drooled over The Folkwear Book of Ethnic Clothing, I was not short of ideas for how to use all this trimming – in fact it was like I’d sent a wish out to the universe and, for a change, it had delivered, as I had fallen in love with the skirts worn by Florida’s Seminole Indians (like in the pic below) and the book gives instructions for how to create similar patterns using – such a coincidence – bias binding! (This pic is not from the book, I found it here while trawling the internet)
One of my many freelance jobs is as regular columnist Miss Sew & Sew at Peppermint magazine, and quite a while ago I created a circle skirt out of a bedsheet for that column (let me know if you want me to put up a scan of the article, I didn’t get round to it for this post). Being plain navy and mid-calf length, it wasn’t the kind of thing I would normally wear, so it ended up sitting in my wardrobe until I realised that it would be the perfect base for a Seminole-inspired skirt. I won’t tell you how long it took to stitch all the bias binding on, as I didn’t time myself, but let’s say I had three weeks of summer holidays and watched quite a few crappy DVDs while pinning metres (kilometres?) of the stuff to the skirt, which now looks like this.
If you would like to make your own version of the skirt, it’s not hard – you really just need to cut a huge circle with a hole in the middle for your waist, but as I’d cut the hole too big, I needed to gather the skirt material to fit me and attach a waistband and a zip. But if you’re starting from scratch it would be much easier just to cut the hole big enough to slide over your hips and then stitch elastic to the waistline (directly on to the fabric using zig zag stitch, or slid through a casing).
If you are going to do that, make sure you put the elastic in the waistline last, because you want the skirt as flat as possible while you are attaching all the bias binding.
I love how swingy it is! I have never worn this kind of thing before but all the colours make me very happy – as does the knowledge that this project is completed!! But now what do I do to give me an excuse to watch crappy DVDs? Oh, that’s right, muck around with iPhoto to make my pictures look vintage, just like this!
And there’s always another project in store – the cherry-adorned headband I’m wearing in these shots belongs to Lisa at Couturing.com and we used it for a Mexican-inspired shoot the other day (more on that another time).
Pretty cute, don’t you think? Hmm, I have a few plain hairbands just lying around…and stacks of beads and decorative stuff that would look cute on hairbands… and some crappy DVDs to watch…
Love it – what a great idea! I love bias binding and this is a wonderful way to use it.
Great use of all that bias binding. Lovely skirt!
It looks fantastic! I was so distracted by its awesomeness that I didn't even notice the headband until you mentioned it, so I had to go back and admire how well the headband suited the outfit.
That skirt's a masterpiece – absolutely stunning with all those colours. You've given me ideas for using coloured bias binding on dark backgrounds although it's a bit windy for circle skirts here…! Your suggestion about cookies worked a treat – I don't know what I did but clicked enable and it's all good – thank you!
Ahhh it's bloody fantastic! Gosh your lines are very neat, I think I'd end up with something a bit more abstract if I tried haha.
Gosh, your skirt worked out beautifully well! :)I think I'd drive myself mad trying to do all that zig-zagging. 😉
Very frida kahlo.
Ooh it came out amazing!!! And I loooove my iPhone 🙂
Lady that is a great skirt but no way would I call it 'mid-calf' – it's knee-length! Sometimes I worry that skirt length descriptions are getting too hazy – I've seen actual mid-calf skirts described as 'maxi' so what is an skirt that really hits the ankles – 'floor-length'?Phew, end rant. Great skirt.
Oops! Thanks for pointing that out, I forgot to mention that I cut off a fair whack of the hem so that it would be a better length for me. It was FORMERLY mid-calf length!
Wow what a wonderful skirt yes I agree about the Frida feel, beautiful. No pics of my caravan on the outside yet, kinda crappy white with brown stripe which I'm planning to paint red. Going to put red geraniums in pots out the front and hang fairy lights all over it too.
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