Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mod Mini Skirt Project: Black & White Arrow Pop Art Skirt (APPLIQUE)

One of my main inspiration pictures-- I love the pop art quality that the arrow applique brings to the skirt-- also like that "circle" applique skirt in the background.

The modern day company E.C. Star Clothing produced this arrow skirt

Making the black corduroy skirt

I had never attempted applique, but I really wanted to try it. I kept encountering pictures of mod dresses and skirts in which applique made the fashions look like pop art. Pictures of such fashions are included to illustrate my point.

More than once, I encountered skirts and dresses that had "arrows" appliqued onto them. I fell in love with the concept and was anxious to try my hand at making a dress or skirt with arrows appliqued for pop art effect.

Using my paper templates to cut out felt arrows

A pile of my felt arrows/paper templates

Right away I recognized that if I was going to applique, I probably did not want a stretchy fabric. Something stable would be easier, because memories of trying to sew pockets on stretchy fabrics still haunt me. The shifting, my god, the shifting!

And right away, I realized that I wanted to start with something simple like a skirt. So, as much as I don't like the fabrics at Joann's, I picked up some black corduroy from them, because I knew that would be a good fabric for a skirt and stable due to its lack of stretchiness. I looked online initially, but I didn't see any vintage that caught my eye. Luckily, I do not regret my choice to buy from them. Their corduroy was not a problem. Apparently, they do some things right. On the other hand, I'm a total corduroy virgin, so I have nothing to compare it with.

Playing with my paper templates to determine positioning of the arrows

I also wanted my first applique project to be relatively painless. Because I wasn't sure of the result, perfect wasn't my objective. So, to keep things easy, I read about "raw edge applique" and was happy to learn that if I bought felt and cut it out, I would not need to finish the edges. I could just sew the suckers on and not worry about fraying. So, at Joann's, I got some white felt too. I've always been a fan of black/white contrast in clothing. So mod!

More examples of playing around with positioning using the paper templates

My first applique project was a little challenging, but thankfully, less challenging than I expected. What I thought would be hard ended up being pretty easy. What I thought would be easy ended up being a little harder than I expected.

Got my felt arrows pinned and ready to sew-- finally decided on where to put them!

What was easy? Sewing the felt onto the corduroy. I thought that things would somehow end up shifting on me, but my pins kept everything in place.

What was difficult? Well, proportion was a lot harder than I expected. To get "templates" for the felt arrows, I found clip art of arrows online and then sized them on my screen. I printed them out, cut them out, and then pinned them to the felt. I then cut the felt around the template edges to get the shape I wanted. I experimented quite a bit with arrow size, but now that I'm through with the project, I recognize that the proportions could have been better. Smaller arrows would have looked better, because the larger arrows tend to be a bit overwhelming on the skirt.

The finished skirt

My husband and I also played around with how many arrows to include and how to position them. I like the design we came up with but again I think the result would have been better with smaller arrows.

I'm happy to say, though, that I still like the result and that I did a follow-up project in green corduroy with white arrows that is better proportioned.

These last two pictures show the skirt with a black turtleneck shirt-- I personally prefer the white shirt look, because it balances the proportions. This one is interesting though because the black shirt and skirt combo makes it look like a dress.

Not bad for a first try, though!

Happy sewing!


  1. Clever! I actually prefer it with the black top. Would love to see the green version too.

  2. Thanks you both for the comments! Green version to come soon : - )