Bowie Sewalong Make – And it GLOWS IN THE DARK!

Fabric, Notions and Kitty, Ready to Go

Fabric, Notions and Kitty, Ready to Go

So, I have finally finished my project for Bowie Sewalong.  The lovely and unique Tempest Devyne, from FanBloomingTastic has been the gracious host of a Bowie Sewalong, a sewing group dedicated to everything David Bowie.  She has been so great about posting music, information, movie clips, it’s been great fun following along!

I remember when I was young, single digits years old, and my brother and I went to camp in the summers.  And all the camp counselors listened to David Bowie and Supertramp.  At that age, there are really no cool cliques at school or with your friends yet, so, the camp counselors were the very first “Cool Kids” encounter for me. So, I took what they gave very seriously.

Is Bowie the best singer around?  Definitely not.  The best musician? Not really.  But, can Ziggy Play Guitar??? Oh Yes, you bet.  He is such a performer and free spirit and I love the personas he takes on and how unapologetic he is about them.  His creativity knows no bounds and the key underlying theme is to express himself, any way he sees fit.

Bowie Sewalong Skirt at Piano

My contribution for the sewalong is a wrap-around skirt, that I designed and sewed myself, with no patterns or instructions.  I really wanted to ‘wing it’ for this project, as it seemed the perfect time to try my hand at something unique and off the cuff.Bowie Skirt Full View, Wrap, Front, Ties, Back  I have no idea if it’s drafted, put together or sewn ‘correctly’ and, in fact, have never made a wrap skirt before.  But, that was the point of the exercise, to channel the Bowie Spirit and just let it roll!

The skirt references, not only the ’70’s, when they were so popular, but all things Space that David Bowie was interested in during that decade, including Space Oddity, Life on Mars, Starman, even Ziggy’s last name was Stardust.  It was definitely a huge theme in his art.

I found two scarves in my parent’s basement (we can call them vintage) that depict a map of the universe with the entire night sky, including stars, galaxies, planets and horoscope signs.  I used these scarves for the back panels of the skirt and then added a fabric that looked like the sky with stars and planets all over it for a smaller, front panel.  I added some tucks to front and back for shaping, a bit of a waistband, and, of course, embellished with bright red chevron and silver trims.Bowie Skirt

And, the best part?  The scarves glow in the dark!!!!  The whole night sky lights up in the dark and glows on my backside!  This just felt ‘right’ for a Bowie sewalong. 🙂 I wanted to offset the universe pattern on the scarf, so that the entire night sky was not centred perfectly on my backside.  Something about that thought, just didn’t quite jive.Bowie Wrap Around Skirt Back View

Bowie (on shelf) and I

I love this video, it really depicts Bowie’s inner geekdom.  Doesn’t he look like guys from your high school and not a ‘rock star’?

Charging My Skirt Backside

Charging Up My, uh, Backside with a Lamp to Get its Glow on! As you do. Don’t you? Maybe it’s just me then.

Proud To Be Charm School Reject

Proud To Be, Charm School Reject

For his contribution, Kitty made a chevron choker and blinged it up with gold and pearl studs and gold and silver appliques, as well as a huge remove-able charm.  Kitty channels Bowie easily and is and always will be, proud to be a Charm School Reject.Kitty's Bowie Chevron Choker with Stars and StudsKitty's Bowie Chevron ChokerKitty's Chevron ChokerProud To Be The Charm School RejectSkirt Back Close UpBowie Skirt Sitting DownPlaying Piano in Bowie Skirt

Easy A-Line Skirt

A Line SkirtI completed this A-Line skirt in the same way as the two rectangle skirt, only instead of rectangles, these quadrilateral shapes are actually isosceles trapezoids (to be precise).  Yes, that’s the math/science nerd in me leaking out.  It’s really one of the reasons why I love sewing and pattern making.  The geometry involved delights me to no end.  🙂

But, now that you’ve finished rolling your eyes and being embarrassed for me, here is some information about the A-Line skirt.

A Line Skirt 2

I used fabric with a one way pattern on it, so I actually had to cut it across the grain instead of with the length grain (following along the selvage) so that the pattern would go vertically up and down the skirt.  I’m not sure how much this affects the integrity of the skirt, but how else do you use these directional prints?  If you cut along the length of the grain, the pattern would be lost.

A Line Skirt Flare

A Line Skirt Flare

With respect to the A-Line, you can add as much flare at the bottom as you wish.  Basically, after you’ve made a rectangle, add another two triangles on either side of it to create a wider, flared bottom.

I also added a belt in the same fabric to disguise the elastic waistband casing.  To learn more about how to sew a fabric belt with buckle, click here.  I sewed on belt loops, also in the same fabric to hold the belt in the right place.

Fabric Belt and Belt Loops

Fabric Belt and Belt Loops

And, I bought a self cover belt buckle, where you cover the buckle with fabric of your choice.  I think it’s a good investment (and very inexpensive) as it really ties the belt in with the skirt.  With such a busy pattern, I didn’t really want the belt and buckle to stand out more than the skirt.

How to Construct a Waistband Casing

A waistband casing consists of a tunnel sewn to accommodate a drawstring or elastic at the top of a skirt or pants and at the waistline of a dress.  A casing can also be used at the hems of sleeves and pants.  You will need to fold the fabric towards the wrong side and press about 0.75 cm (quarter-inch), then fold down again the width of the elastic or drawstring, plus about 1 cm (half an inch).  Sew the casing closed, all along the garment, leaving a 4 cm (2″) opening.  Optional:  You can also edgestitch all the way around the top of the casing.  This flattens out the gathers at the hemmed edge and neatens the look.

Bodkin with Drawstringand Safety Pin with Elastic

Bodkin with Drawstring
and Safety Pin with Elastic

Using either a bodkin or a safety-pin attached to one end of the elastic or drawstring, thread the item through, being careful not to pull the opposite end into the casing.  For an elastic, overlap the two ends about 1 cm (half-inch), sew together and insert back into casing.  Adjust gathers and sew the casing closed.  For a drawstring, you will need to insert two buttonholes, approximately 2 cm (1″) apart at the front of the garment, within the casing, in order for both ends of the drawstring to exit and be tied.  The buttonholes can be placed so that the drawstring exits at either the inside or the outside of the garment.

Waistbands with Elastic Casing (left) and Drawstring Casing (right)

Waistbands with Elastic Casing (left) and Drawstring Casing (right)

You can also add a casing of different fabric, instead of folding down the fabric of the existing garment.  For this, you would do as above, but instead of adding the amount you calculated for the casing onto your original fabric, you would measure this amount onto the new fabric and cut it out.  You will also have to add another 0.5 cm (5/8″) or whatever is your seam allowance, as you will be attaching the casing to your garment.