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How to Make a Winged Skirt

Ever since I first encountered a “winged” garment by Japanese designer Issey Miyake, I’ve been inspired by the idea of extension panels. Miyake has used these extensions beyond the garment’s main silhouette on dresses, skirts, jackets, blouses, pants, and shirts. As you can see in the photos here, wings can drape freely or be held by buttons, buckles, or ties. Pulled up close to the body, gently folded, or flying free, wings can simply be flaps of fabric added to a garment; but more often the whole garment is oversized, with the excess fabric secured with a closure, as in the skirts illustrated here.

In this article, you’ll find detailed directions and drawings for three of these Miyake-inspired wingedskirt designs that I’ve developed. They’re simple to draft and sew, and each would be an ideal starting point for exploring how wings can free your garment-design creativity. First, we’ll look at fabric selection and closure options for your garment. Then, because wings offer so many options for lending movement and drama to basic garment shapes, I’ve included a gallery of ideas on p. 89 for variations on these winged skirts. The gallery and tutorial from Tara Arnold can be found in this article from Threads #95.

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