Fabrics, Notions, & Other Materials · Sew-alongs · Sewing for Argentine Tango · Sewing Techniques · Skirts · Tango Skirts

Asymmetrical Skirt Sew-Along 1: Getting Started

This is the first in a series for my second sew-along, the 2-Layer Asymmetrical Skirt, which is happening at the same time as my Wrap Skirt Sew-Along. (To be honest, I’m not quite sure how this will work, since it’s my first experience with hosting sew-alongs, but hey, I’m willing to try it if you are!) This double sew-along is following up on projects started by last weekend’s sewing workshop participants, but is open to anyone who’d like to sew along with us! Here’s what we’re making:

Vogue 8981 skirt sewing pattern
Vogue 8981 skirt pattern. We’ll be making the 2-layer asymmetrical skirt, either View A (with contrasting fabrics) or View B (both layers in the same fabric). The schematic drawings make it more obvious that the back pieces hang longer than the fronts, so each of the 4 skirt pieces must be cut separately.

Tip: According to the Vogue Patterns website, this pattern is out of print (sorry!), but it’s possible you can find a copy at your local fabric store. You could also try sites that specialize in out-of-print patterns, such as SewingPatterns.com. McCall’s 7170 might be an acceptable substitute (there’s a 2-layer option), although it specifies knit fabrics rather than wovens.

I’ve chosen Vogue 8981 skirt pattern, for several reasons: It’s intended for woven fabrics (generally easier to sew than knits), the elastic waist is simple to sew and makes fitting easier, and this pattern offers more than 1 style: the double-layer asymmetrical skirt (with 2 fabric options), and a maxi skirt with a short lining. You could also make the asymmetrical skirt with the longer layer only.

Let’s start with fabric considerations:

  • Look for light-to-midweight woven fabrics with some silkiness, so that they’ll drape nicely (as opposed to sticking out stiffly). One of my top choices would be rayon (sometimes called viscose), such as rayon challis; there are also rayon blends that work well.
  • Silk charmeuse and/or silk double georgette are options too; these are relatively easy to sew, although they can be slippery to handle, especially when cutting.


Tip: Assuming you’ll sew the elastic waistband as shown (with an attached waistband/casing), this means you’ll have multiple layers of fabric at the waist; stay away from bulky and/or stiff fabrics!

One option for this skirt is to just use the same fabric for both layers (shown in View B). But with 2 layers to play with, you can get very creative with color, texture, and weight contrasts!

Ideas for fabric combinations:

  • Sheer fabric over opaque, or vice versa (meaning the longer layer is the sheer one); sheers could be lace, chiffon, or georgette.
  • Mix 1 print with 1 solid layer; using a sheer solid color or lace over a print creates an interesting effect.
  • Make 1 layer metallic or shiny, the other layer matte. Sheer matte over solid metallic can be very pretty.
  • If 1 fabric looks good on both sides, consider making the 2nd layer out of something sheer, like lace; the back side of your solid fabric will show through, in effect creating a whole new color.

So what am I making my skirt with? Well, like my wrap skirt, I’m determined to use fabrics already in my stash for this skirt. Here’s what I decided to use:

  • A gorgeous hammered-finish silk with an artistic print that came in panels; luckily, I had 2 panels, so I’m using these for the front and back of my top (shorter) skirt layer.
  • For the underlayer, I found a semi-sheer silk/rayon crinkled georgette with a silvery metallic finish on one side; since my silk print has just a touch of silvery-grey in it, I thought these would combine well.
Asymmetrical skirt fabric mockup
After cutting my pieces, I’ve laid them out to see how they look together. (I apologize for all the wrinkles— these just got unpacked from my supply suitcase after last weekend’s workshop!) By the way, my plan (right now, anyway) is to use the dark green silk to make the waistband; I think this will give it a nice streamlined look.
Close-up detail of silver georgette.
Here’s a closer look at my silver-grey georgette. Now you can really see the beautiful metallic finish, as well as how sheer this fabric is; I’m starting to consider adding a 3rd layer, like a built-in slip, under this sheer fabric.

Elastic waist options: The pattern shows an attached waistband that folds over to form a casing for the elastic; if your fabric is lightweight, this will work well, and it’s fairly easy to sew.

Another option is to use a wide, decorative elastic, applied over the skirt top; this will be much flatter, but keep in mind that your elastic will show. In addition to making the waistband the way the pattern shows, I’ll be showing you how to do this when we get closer to finishing this skirt.

Cutting: Be aware that the front and back pieces are not identical! (I didn’t realize this myself until I looked at the directions; see the schematic drawing up top and you’ll see what I mean.) So you’ll have to cut each piece separately, each on a single layer of fabric, since the pieces are asymmetrical.

Tip: Here’s something I’ve learned from sewing lingerie: If you’re working with a very lightweight and/or slippery fabric, use a temporary spray adhesive (this is the one I use) to hold your pattern pieces to the fabric; it evaporates after a few hours, leaving no residue, and it really does make it so much easier to handle temperamental fabrics!

Whew! That should give you plenty to get started with, eh? Of course, if you have any questions at all, please ask— everyone reading this will benefit!

Coming up next, I’ll talk about seaming techniques (including the French seams I’m doing on my sheer layer), adding an optional 3rd layer, and narrow-hemming. I’ll see you then!


Want more sewing stuff from Colormusing? Check out myBratelier (lingerie sewing, including bras!), and Changing Your Clothes, which covers everything from repairs & alterations to dyeing and remaking thrift-shop finds.

And don’t miss all my color-palette-related excitement at the  A Musing blog! (Click on the dots above to visit my mother ship, Colormusing.com.)

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