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Lengthening a Cloud Skirt

Sunshine | Posted in General Discussion on

My dear GD is just 14 Y/O, about 5′ 10″ tall (YES!!) and about 105 lbs — or in other words, a beanpole!!  She almost has a waist, but she doesn’t know where it is! We’re working on that…….

For her 8th grade Spring Dance, of couse Grandma has to make a custom dress for her, partly because any RTW won’t fit her and partly because it has to be a more “modest” style.  She picked out McCall’s M5382 for the skirt and a sleeveless fitted U-neck top. The link to the skirt pattern is http://www.mccallpattern.com/item/M5382.htm?search=5382&page=1 .   I am lining both the top and skirt (the skirt requires a lining to make the draped “cloud” effect.) I have added 9″ to the skirt lining to get it to the proper length (below-knee).  My question is, should I add 9″ to the skirt fashion fabric also?  Or maybe more like 12″ to 14″ so it’s long enough for more “clouds”?  I have plenty of fabric, and I haven’t cut out the skirt yet, since I need your advice! Any recommendations from all of you more experienced ladies will certainly be appreciated!

So far, I have the top & skirt linings cut out, and the top lining is being my “muslin” for fitting.  I’m working on cutting out the fabric top today, and then joining the two.  I’m going to use a modified burrito method to join the top and lining together to get finished edges, and skip the armhole/neckline facings.  I did put fusible interfacing on the lining neckline and armholes. When the top and bottom are joined to their linings, the top and bottom are joined together at the waist, and the invisible zipper is inserted.  BTW, the fabric is the periwinkle BFF lining and poly satin currently featured at Hancock’s in their prom fabric group.

Thanks in advance for all of your suggestions!  If I can do it, I will post pictures as we go along. She will be here for fittings this weekend. 

Ooops — one more question!  Any advice on how to make a TALL girl stand up straight and not have rounded shoulders?  It’s driving me NUTS!!  She’s a beautiful girl, but her poor posture really detracts from her appearance.  I’m already taking a tuck at the CF neckline to take up the “gaposis” there.  I have fantasies of putting something rigid in the lining, from shoulder to shoulder, to make her shoulders go back, but I doubt that would work.  Any suggestions, PLEASE?????????



  1. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #1

    Yes, you need to add the extra length to the overskirt as well. If you do not, the extra length you have added will have eaten up the fullness needed for the cloud. Add the same amount extra that you did for the underskirt (lining). You may have to divide the length in two parts, as the fullness seems to be taken up in two parts to create different puffs in the skirt, so if shaping is involved in the overskirt, you may have to adjust it equally over several places.

    This stooped shoulder thing is something I also hate to see in tall young women. My family handled it this way, and I think it worked as we do not stand stooped. Tell her it draws attention to her height instead of hiding it. When you stand straight, you blend into a crowd of other people, even if they are mostly guys. If you stoop, you stand out as being different in shape. Also point out to her that most models are very tall, and need to walk erect! She is doing this as she is feeling self conscious, she needs to feel good about her abilities. Pointing out her good points, to reinforce good feelings about herself will help big time as well! Good Luck. Cathy

    Edited 3/31/2009 5:14 pm ET by ThreadKoe

  2. Josefly | | #2

    That is a darling pattern. It appears, as Threadcoe (Cathy) said, that the skirt has "pick-ups" in addition to the poufy, "cloud" hem, so I think I would extend the outer skirt length 12 or thirteen inches instead of just the 9 extra you're adding to the lining length. I would want to experiment with placing the pick-ups, since the skirt will be longer and there's more space from waist to hemline in which to scatter the pickups, and the 3 or 4 extra inches will give you room to play with. May turn out to be too much length, but that can be corrected, and better safe than sorry.

    Your granddaughter is lucky to have you to make her dress. It will be beautiful.

    1. Sancin | | #3

      I can't believe this style has come around again! I wore a 'balloon' dress to my junior prom in 1956! It was made of silk and very light. My grandmother shortened it for me - at 5'2' I am shorter than short 5'4'. My mother made me some sachet's with heather from her garden from the scrap length. I came across one of the sachets not long ago in my lingery drawer. While the dress was lovely it definitely was not my best colour - red and gold big print. My mother must have picked it out. I am much fairer than she was and she always wanted to 'brighten' me up, encouraging me to wear eyebrow pencil when most mothers were trying to forbid their daughters from wearing lipstick. She is dead now but is probably rolling around in her grave as my blonde is now pure white and I do watch the colours I wear else I disappear in the fabric cclours.

  3. suesew | | #4

    I would vote for adding the same amount to the fashion fabric as you did to the lining. I think I would split the pattern and add it in a couple of places rather than just at the top or the bottom. When you lengthened the lining did you keep the original circumference around the bottom or did it get bigger by extending it? I would keep both as the original pattern. It's a really cute pattern

  4. VatrushkaCat | | #5

    The unfortunate "stooped shoulder thing" is sad.  My guess is that someone influential in her life said something about her height that she took as a criticism. 

    I've taught high school and middle school for nearly 30 years, and I've seen many tall girls.  I have an 8th grader this year who must be 5'10" in flip-flops, taller than almost all the staff members, and she looks like she's stretching to be taller.  There's another who's only about 5'6" who hunches her shoulders and looks like she wants to hide.

  5. ecovalley | | #6

    What to do about a girl's terrible posture?

    Ballet classes!

    You can always tell a woman who took ballet extensively as a girl, for the beautiful, perfect posture seems to last a lifetime. For the rest of us, it is a great remedy for poor posture habits over the years. I'm 50+ and still take ballet classes, with one of the prime reasons to avoid a stooped-over affect as I age.

    Ballet posture is basically.....tuck in the stomach, tuck in the butt, pull up tall through the ribcage, raise the chin, drop the shoulders down and pull them back.

    Your daughter is still young and her posture is certainly correctable. But whatever the age, ballet is the greatest thing for posture. And it's FUN!!!


  6. Teaf5 | | #7

    There are many reasons your tall GD is slumping, but the good news is that this phase may pass quickly. Other than making a comfortable, custom-fitted dress for her, there's probably not much you can do to change her posture in time for the dance.

    At age 14, nearly all the girls are taller than most of the boys, and the tall girls will be taller than most boys till about age 22 or so. Slender girls usually develop a bust much later, so they also feel self-conscious about their chest around other girls, too. Plus, adults tend to treat taller children as if they are older, so a shy tall child will feel pressure to behave more maturely yet not know how to do so. And strangers constantly notice tall children and don't hesitate to comment, leading to even more awkwardness.

    As really tall girls mature (DD is 6 foot and in her twenties now), they learn the advantages of their height and learn to cope with the disadvantages, but the teen years can be really difficult for them. The recommendation for dance classes is great, especially if she can find a program that focuses on fun rather than competitiveness (classical ballet is prejudiced against really tall females, who are even taller en pointe).

    The custom sewing you do for her will be a tremendous help; you can help her accentuate her positive features and accommodate her fitting issues while giving her creative input. The tall, slim, slumped figure is exactly the same as the designer drawings, so she'll probably look just right. And, by fitting the muslin to her real posture, you'll be able to make sure that it fits when she wears it for the special occasion. What a lucky girl!

  7. User avater
    genevieve | | #8

    Hello Sunshine, and Sunshine's GD

    I am 6'1 1/2" tall and 65 years old - and I got to my height before I was 12 !!  My way of reminding myself to stand up tall- I resolved that if anyone was going to be embarrassed about my height it wasn't goung to be me!!! I'm not saying I didn't have any other embarassments, but this carried me through- I still frequently wear 3" heels, and even though that makes me a little taller than my husband, he likes it.  My two daughters are also tall (not quite as tall as me) and proud of their height.

    I hope your grand-daughter finds out soon, that being tall and calm gives the impression of confidence and wisdom - even though you might be thinking on the inside - 'what the heck do I do now??!!'

    Best wishes, throw those shoulders back, and stride out into the world.

    Genevieve  (in Australia)


    1. mainestitcher | | #9

      I would add more than nine or twelve...I'd add fourteen or fifteen inches so your last pick-up or poof won't look like you skimped on fabric - but that's just me. Or a ratio..remember sixth grad math? Add the same proportion to the out layer that you did to the liner!liner= 9 .................outer skirt= magic number
      ....liner measured originally .............outer skirt measured orig9 multiplied by original outer skirt piece length, then the resulting number is divided by the liner length. (Cross multiply, for those who remember.)(Wow! you are thinking. Mainestitcher is good at math! No!!!! mainestitcher had to work too hard to learn this to let it go unused!)There was a line from the old Murphy Brown sitcom. Her boss, a short-ish plain man was dating a tall beautiful woman, and was self conscious of it. "What does someone say in Washington D. C. when they see a tall, beautiful woman with a short, average looking man?" "Hello, Dr. and Mrs. Kissinger?"[url=http://dragcave.net/viewdragon/Dkzc][img]http://dragcave.net/image/Dkzc.gif[/img][/url]Edited 4/13/2009 10:14 pm ET by mainestitcher

      Edited 4/13/2009 10:15 pm ET by mainestitcher

      1. User avater
        genevieve | | #10

        good one!

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