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Inner Tube Skirt – Update 3: More Testing!

This post is part of a creative challenge for May to create a skirt from punctured bicycle inner tubes. You can find all posts in this series here, and my other challenges here.

Surely I’ve tested enough already?

No! As I mentioned in my last post, I’d made so many little tweaks to the pattern to make it fit the skirt I upcycled, I decided to make another test to be certain it would work.

And here it is:

I’m honestly not sure why I turn into some kind of dancing clockwork person, but I love how Tilly barges in at the end in the lower right corner so it’s the winning take!

The Fabric

Before I go into more details about the finished skirt, I want to talk about this fabric.

I absolutely love it. I found it back in 2019 at a charity shop in Ashford – in fact, the same day I found the rainblow Dinosaurs at the centre of this weekend launch! It was a good day of shopping. Looking through my photo archive, I even found the original photos I took of the fabric:

When I go charity shopping, I’m on the lookout for stuff for myself, my business, and my sister-in-law Jacq, who’s behind the fabulous A Good Talking To (which specialises in replacements for single use items made with second hand and remnant fabrics). I’m constantly asking her opinion on interesting things I’ve found and things she may be able to use.

This fabric caught my eye because of the amazing design. Most anything featuring that wonderful mustard colour is already halfway in my shopping cart.

The length really sold it to me, though. Yes, that’s 63 x 310 INCHES, meaning about 787 cm of fabric that’s also nearly 10″ wider than the standard fabric widths found in most shops. At just over £1 a metre, it would be a crime not to pick it up, even though I had no idea what I was going to do with it.

Thankfully it’s cotton (burn tests are useful for figuring out fabric content), but it was probably meant for curtains given the length and the fact that it’s on the stiff side.

But there are some clothing patterns where that structure isn’t a bad thing, and a slim skirt like this is one of them.

The Skirt – A Lesson in How NOT to Place a Pattern

I knew I wasn’t going to pattern match, so I didn’t pay that much attention to what went where. But I should’ve realised that with a very large, graphic print like this, it’s important to know where things will sit so you don’t put something in an awkward place.

You also want to make sure it’s not close – it’s got to be deliberately not matched.

But I rushed through and my skirt now features:

  • Front: a handy arrow on the front at the hem that points up to my crotch (this could’ve been much worse to be fair)
  • Side: an awkward repeat
  • Back: a grid that centres squarely on the middle of my bum. Better yet, that intersection is a few mm off!

But all that being said, I still love it and will wear it regardless. You see much worse things in shops. I’m especially proud of how neat the inside is, so even stuck a Team Sikel label in there:

French seams and binding (and an overcast around the zip)

What I Didn’t Get to Practice

One thing I was hoping to attempt this time around was an exposed zip, which I want to have in the final make. The construction would be different here, but I’d at least see how it’d look.

I did not read my trusty Reader’s Digest Guide to Sewing before cutting out my fabric though (really worth picking up if you find one in a charity shop – it covers so many things!). The very first line in the exposed zipper instructions is: “The exposed zipper can be applied only where there is no seam.”

Oh well. The centre back seam meant I went with an invisible zip, which is fine for this test. I’ll still go ahead with the exposed for the final!

The Takeaway & A Timescale Adjustment

I’m pleased with how this skirt looks on me, and am happy to keep going on with the pattern as is. It will need a bit of tweaking to work with inner tubes, but I don’t need to do any more tests.

What I have realised is I’ve given myself too much to do this month. The Fri-Yay surprise launch this Friday has occupied the time I’d normally be doing a lot of other things (such as sewing for myself and working on random creative projects like this). And if I were to forge ahead with my current end of May deadline:

  • I probably wouldn’t make the deadline
  • I wouldn’t enjoy the process
  • I’d probably make mistakes and waste materials

So I’m giving myself a break. I’ll finish the skirt by Mid-June. It was only going to be for me anyway, and it’s important I do it as well as I can and learn throughout the process.

2 thoughts on “Inner Tube Skirt – Update 3: More Testing!

  1. I’m pretty sure you can put an exposed zipper on a seam. See here for an example: https://blog.megannielsen.com/2015/06/tutorial-how-to-insert-an-exposed-zipper/

    1. Thanks for the link!

      I wish I’d seen this, oh well. I’m not in the mood to unpick everything, but I’ll keep it in mind for next time.

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