Sewing a Vintage Spiderweb Skirt

I’m trying to get back into sewing after a bit of a sad-spell so I figured Halloween is a great time to really get the creative juices flowing. To get some inspiration I went straight to my old vintage-sewing Pinterest board and stumbled upon this skirt that I completely forgot about. I’m not sure exactly where this original image is from but I do know it is from the 50’s and absolutely fabulous. For this sewing adventure, we will be making a felt circle skirt and use cording to achieve the spiderweb look. I cannot wait to fire up the sewing machine.

Materials Used:
2 metres of felt (the wider the better)
11 metres of satin cording (3mm)
Invisible thread
8″ zip
General sewing supplies
Spider applique (optional)

There are heaps of circle skirt tutorials already out in the world so I will just let you know that the main one I use is this one from Gertie. It just so happens that Gertie also has her own spiderweb tutorial and although she does the application on a dress, I managed to put it onto a skirt. I didn’t follow Gertie’s method of application exactly as I was a little pressed for time but I’m still happy with how it all came together.

-I started by folding my felt into quarters. I used a circle skirt template from The Littlest Studio (as recommended by @Caitconquers) which made calculating my waist cut out really easy. By cutting along my waists guideline, I simply line up the corner of the template to the edge corner of my skirt, mark it out and cut.
-I decided to make my skirt 28″ long so using my measuring tape I lined up the top of my tape and then went along the waistline marking at the 28″ point. I then cut out along the marks and I had half of my circle skirt cut out.
-Before I unfolded my skirt, I used it as a template for the second half that I needed to make a full circle skirt. Lined up, I had myself a massive felt donut.
-I cut out a waistband 2.5″ thick and at least 29″ long. You want to cut out your waistband whatever your waist size is, plus one inch for seam allowance. Iron on some interfacing.
-Lay out one half of your skirt and using a water soluble marker and a ruler, start marking out where you want your spiderweb to be. I put mine slightly off centre as I didn’t want it directly on the front of the skirt. I found it easy to start with a centre line and then forming a cross. I added more arms to the spiderweb and made some of them reach the end of the skirt or taper off.
-Using my ruler, I marked out where I wanted the rungs of my web by putting a mark along the spiderweb arms. From the centre point, I made a marks at the 2″ point, then a further 2.5″, then 3″, and then at 4″ increments until I reached the end. I didn’t need more than 5 points. I realised that my biggest rung would not be fully complete as it went off the edge but i really liked how it looked.
-Using invisible thread and a wide zig zag stitch, I very slowly sewed down my cording. I took my time doing this and made sure to follow my guide lines. I began with my main centre line, this would serve as my guide. I then sewed down in a < shape the right side of the web, and then a > shape on the left side. I finished my web structure by sewing down the final line doing directly through the centre left to right.
-When it came to sew down the rungs of the web, I began with one of the middle rungs. I decided that my web would be made up of circular shapes of different sizes within the centre of the web instead of a swirl that gets bigger the further it gets from the centre. I found this made the web come together nicely.
-I started realising that I may not have enough cording to finish my web so I made sure to finish the centre rungs first. I was a few inches short on cording so I used up any scraps that I had left and decided to leave a strand unfinished and attache my spider applique to make it look like the spider was still in the process of finishing their web.
-I attached my spider using fabric glue as it was getting quite late and I didn’t feel like hand sewing at 1am.
-With my web complete, I put both halves of my skirt, right sides together, and sewed down the side seams leaving space for my zip.
-I then attached my waistband and zip to the skirt.
-With the skirt being made of felt, I didn’t have to worry about hemming or trimming the skirt which made the process super easy. I did think about using bias tape along the edge but didn’t have bias tape thick enough for this attempt.
-With my skirt put together, I looked back on my original inspiration as well as the design shown on Gertie’s web and added a few extra crystals to the centre of the web just to give it some sparkle and a bit more pizazz.
-The final touch was using some water and a paint brush to remove any visible ink left over from the marker.

The main lesson I wish to incur from this tutorial is that it’s best to use non-elasticated cording. When I first started this project, I had elastic cording and after a few practice goes on some scrap felt I thought everything was fine. After sewing down my first piece of the web, I accidentally pulled on the cording to try to straighten it out and of course, the whole thing suddenly gathered and bunched up. Oh no … I found I could sew the elastic cording without stretching it but there was no guarantee I wouldn’t accidentally pull it later and have it bunch up and bulk out forever. I had no choice but to head to the fabric store and buy a different type of cording. I ended up finding 3mm black satin cording which worked a treat once I got home and continued.

Miss MonMon wearing a vintage inspired spiderweb skirt.

I am super chuffed with the results of my spiderweb skirt. It came out better than I expected and overall, it was a very simple sewing project but it was a little tedious sometimes. This project can easily be done in a day or even an afternoon if you are an experienced with a sewing machine. I love the fullness of the skirt and the way it lays and folds. I think the spider is a cute touch and I’m really glad I spotted it at the fabric store because it was the perfect finishing touch. Originally I was going to make the web red as pink and red is my favourite colour combination but after I found the spider, I decided to go with black thread to match and I’m glad I did.

Miss MonMon wearing a vintage inspired spiderweb skirt.

I’d love to try this project again but perhaps turn it into a dress like Gertie did and I’m already thinking that a navy or a teal might be the way to go with some white web. I mean, it looks good in my head but you never know.


Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions and thoughts expressed are solely my own and not influenced in any way. There are no affiliate links and I do not benefit from any link clicks or purchases made.

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