Friday, January 27, 2017

Modesty for the Active Woman : Farm Work / Gardening, Part 2


Hey y'all,

First things first, as of January 18, Frugally Fancy has a Pinterest page! Since my next few posts for the Active Women series require a large number of examples, I figured that this was the best way to do it.
Here is a link to the page : https://www.pinterest.com/frugallyfancy/.

Here on the second part of the first installment of Modesty for the Active Woman, I'll show the actual skirts that I've used for farm work and my groundskeeping job. I'll tell the pros and cons of each of the skirts I've made and some tips for creating your own work skirts.

The first work skirt I created from denim scraps. I took old pants legs and created a patch-work tiered skirt. Unless your ideal work skirt is similar in shape and stiffness to a hoop skirt, I would not try this. This skirt was NOT a success. Stylistically, it didn't drape at all (think I was kidding about the hoop skirt bit?). It was stiff as a board and didn't move with me at all. I was also forced to make it tight, which only made it worse. For lack of any other skirt, I was forced to use it for work, but now the only work I wear that old thing for is painting the house. (I have no picture of this skirt, and frankly, I wouldn't put it up if I had.)

The second work skirt I created was much better.

Front View - Upcycled
Side View - Upcycled
Back View - Upcyled

This is a typical upcycled skirt. I had a whole bag of jeans donated to me a year or so after I embraced modesty. Since I knew that I would not wear them, why not make something useful out of them?

When I first made this skirt, I made it much narrower than you see here, and had a split going up the front. Bad mistake! I soon discovered that the snaps that I used were almost useless for keeping something closed. It soon was more of an overskirt than anything. I had to deal with it for a few months until I could get more scraps. The first thing I did was move the split panel to the side (less likely to snap open, therefore less revealing) and opened up all the seams and further than I had the first time, adding new panels to give it extra width. Now, years later, I've discovered that I really don't need the split; but I won't overhaul this skirt again.

So a few tips:
1. If you absolutely need a split, never put a split in the front (or frankly in the back either).
2. Use whole (or at least 2/3) pant legs for panels. Sew a few together in order to widen them out if needed. Cut off any extra fabric with pinking shears, in order to reduce fraying.
3. Use jeans that fit you well around the waist. Waistbands are among the hardest things to alter. Everything else can be torn apart rather easily.

Notice the drape of the skirt? It does not curve around my rear end. That's because I tore the seam nearly all the way up to the waistband and widened the skirt as far as I could without causing strain on the fabric. As it was I did have to tailor it a little to fit me again. Why did I do this? One thing that ticks me off about upcycled jean skirts (besides the crotch seam being used on the front) is the fact that most end up revealing the curves of the hip and rear. I wanted to avoid that, hence the extra effort.

More Tips:
1.  Don't be afraid to experiment with the width. Pull the entire piece apart if you have to. How do you know when it is too wide? When the original fabric buckles or wrinkles.
2. Try on the skirt multiple times while making your skirts. This will help with any draping issues.
3. Use heavier cotton thread if possible. Less mending.
4. Try to use heavy metal buttons (like the buttons on regular jeans) if you need to use buttons at all. Snaps are useless and traditional buttons are not much better.  

The other two work skirts I bought from a thrift store. They were old and tough enough to withstand farm and heavy garden work.

Skirt 1
I prefer Skirt 1 to Skirt 2, for a variety of reasons. Skirt 1 has metal buttons and very little distance between the last button and the hem. Therefore, it is less likely to bust or lose buttons. While Skirt 1 is a bit on the short side, there is a nice flare to the skirt, and two tiny pleats in the front. Skirt 1 has two side pockets, fairly deep. It also has belt loops, perfect to support a belt (on which you can put cellphone holders, knife cases, tools, etc.) Unfortunately, the person who had this skirt last had cut off the tag, so I don't know the brand or who made it 😢
Skirt 2

Skirt 2 is longer, but has a thinner waistband (not very conducive to a regular heavy belt). The pockets are also around the same size as Skirt 1. This skirt is also thinner than the other, making it much more likely to snag and tear. This skirt also has regular buttons. Regular buttons tend to slip out of the buttonholes, especially the lower ones. I actually lost the bottom button and nearly tore the next one off this skirt entirely. Hence my distaste of actual buttons on work skirts. This skirt was made by TravelSmith.

On a side note, those are regular jeans underneath all of those skirts. I've paired them with hiking style boots with the upcycled skirt and my farm boots with the others to give you an idea of how they would look in each setting. (Please refer to Part One for my comments on skirts-over-jeans).

One thing that I didn't get to discuss in great detail in the last post was the idea of tunics-over-jeans. My personal response is that don't go this route unless it is absolutely necessary. By this I include activities that require you to lift and climb (unable to lift your skirt) and the your-boss-or-relative-refuses-to-let-you-work-unless-you-change deal. Most of the supervisors I've had have been very accepting of my style of dress (I think they respect me more because of it, to be perfectly honest with you). However, I know enough of the world that not every supervisor does. If that is the case, try to maintain your dignity as much as possible by covering as much as you can with the tunic. Short denim dresses over jeans may be the best route, as most tunics that I've seen in the thrift stores would not be able to stand up to farm work.

If you would like more examples of skirts to wear for farm work or gardening, please refer to my board on Pinterest.

Old-fashionably yours,

Farm Lassie

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