Picture Perfect Handwoven Skirt

The skirt in my mind is picture perfect in style and fit. If I could snap my fingers and make the skirt appear, I would. Instead, I find my way to a workable sewing pattern by trial and error—agonizing over every small step. The sewing part doesn’t scare me. But I’m in over my head in the garment design arena.

Using Garment Designer to design a layered tiered skirt.
Quarter-scale pattern pieces give me a way to test and try various ways to put the skirt together. I learn a lot of things that don’t work. There is much sewing, ripping, tweaking, calculating and recalculating, etc. And pulling my hair out, figuratively speaking.
Designing a handwoven skirt using Garment Designer software.
Settling on something that works. One more little mockup should answer most remaining questions. I use Garment Designer (patterning and design software) to create the patterns. I can print quarter-scale and full-scale sewing patterns.

A not-as-simple layered tiered skirt replaces my original idea of a simple three-tiered skirt. The new design has a fitted yoke at the top of the skirt (and a zipper) instead of a super-simple elastic gathered waist. All this, so the distinctive borders of each tier will flutter freely, and not be trapped in seams. The trouble is worth it. I can see the finished skirt in my mind’s eye. It is phenomenal! The fabric is handwoven, made for a purpose. This is a skirt worth waiting for.

Testing ideas for a handwoven skirt.
Testing ideas full scale. After several tries, I finally have a good fit on the skirt yoke, which is encouraging.
Handwoven skirt in the making!
Full-size mockup (not shown) satisfies my fit and style requirements. Floral cotton lining fabric will be concealed under the handwoven tiers. Full-scale sewing pattern is printed and ready…

You were skillfully made for a purpose. Through many trials and errors, lessons in success and failure, we discover why we are here. God created you for this very time. Trust him to guide you, especially through agonizing moments. By his grace, he forms us into the phenomenal masterpiece that he has always had in mind.

May you walk with purpose.


16 thoughts on “Picture Perfect Handwoven Skirt

    1. Hi Elisabeth, It’s going to work! There is less than an inch of handwoven fabric to spare, so I will measure twice (or more), cut once. I am proceeding very carefully, and full of hope.

      Thanks for your help and encouragement,

  1. Good morning Karen. Your system is admirable. Research. Sample. Do it!!

    Years ago a bride and mom came with a bridesmaid commission. Veveteen bodice. Full gathered plaid taffeta skirts for a winter wedding.

    In this case the planning was already done. Not a thimblefull of fabric was left over.

    God gave us the ability to use his resources. We are indeed blessed.


  2. Hi, Karen! I love your posts! They are so inspirational and real! I’m thrilled to know there is a design software for us non-production oriented weavers to use! I’ve struggled with making my own patterns for years! Can you tell me a little more about Garment Designer? pros/cons? Thanks again!

    1. Hi Marilynn, I have been very happy with Garment Designer. The only downside is the learning curve, which is true for any software. Fortunately, there are instructional videos on their website, and they offer inexpensive webinars. The webinars I have taken have been very thorough and helpful. Having this software made this skirt project possible for me.

      Thank you for your encouraging words!

      1. Thank you, Karen – I’ll look into it more. I know I’ll have a learning curve, but it’s worth it considering how much time I spend trying to get a pattern to fit if I’m just using my own ingenuity!

    1. Hi Gabriela, It’s nice to hear from you. We learn a lot through problems! Weaving and sewing includes much problem solving, doesn’t it?

      All the best,

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