Piet Mondrian Skirt

Who doesn't love the mod aesthetic of Piet Mondrian? My personal default aesthetic falls somewhere more in the country-bumpkin-meets-art-nouveau-urbanite-goth-mom-cyclist, but even I can't deny the power of the primary graphics and the perfect intentional asymmetry within symmetry. Gah. It's so good.

I can't take all the credit for this idea. I first saw Rowena Joe's Mondrian bra back in March while I was still finalizing the Hazel pattern. I knew then it was brilliant and it gave me the inspiration to apply the art to my style. 

I've done this before a few times, although I promise these two examples being both in the same color scheme is purely coincidental.

If you've ever done any quilting, the premise of designing a quilt pattern is the same as what we're doing here. You design your block assembly order by working backwards to give yourself as many whole blocks as possible. Working in a block format, even if it's not an obvious block, then into strips, gives the assembly process more control and less chaos.

The trick is to imagine as you go along, how they'll press and sew back together. You need to visualize a tiny bit. Sometimes using your hands as the pieces being sewn together, and opening them like a butterfly to see which way a set would go helps.

Smaller bits get sewn together to create a longer seam to attach to the longer seam of other smaller bits. Whatever you do, don't give yourself a Y-seam as I accidentally did in the cosplay above. They're a bear even for the most advanced sewist. I'd rather work in curved seams than Y-seams; they're that fiddly.

That said, this Mondrian is 100x easier than the cosplay above. It's a great intro to piecing a basic pattern.

I used the Hazel skirt knit hack for this, then taped the yokes to the skirt panels, leaving just the columns. You'll need to trace for the opposite sides. You'll have 8 panels total.

I knew I'd be framing each piece, so had to calculate in Seam Allowance (SA) of each black frame strip, the width of each frame strip, and then shave that off of each panel before designing the piecing elements. So, my strips are 3/8 + 3/8 + 1 inches wide (SA+SA+final width) = 1.75 inches wide strips.

That's a lot. There will be a numbered list at the end.

This is the fun and easy part. Color your design directly on your pattern pieces. I didn't copy any particular Mondrian painting directly. That would have honestly taken the fun out of it for me. There's enough math going on here, I didn't need any more. Just enjoy this part. Lay them out and color them. Put side panels next to side panels as you go around the skirt to see how they'll match up, but other than that, don't stress about it too much. You don't need to worry about the horizontal framing as you're not adding IN any fabric this way. 

Then, number them in the order they go on the panel, but NOT necessarily the order of assembly unless you prefer. In the photo above, the back left side panel pieces numbered 3 & 4 with the center black frame get assembled before the rest of the panel. Experience taught me to do that assembly first, but please when you do it, if you need, number in order of assembly as well.

Take a photo of them before you cut them apart. No, really, take a photo. Future self with thank you.

Doing one panel at a time, cut the panel, cut the fabric to the panel, PIN the fabric to the panel, lay it back down with the pattern piece pinned to it, and keep your panels together in piles or laid out if you have the room. IF you have to leave this to come back to it before finishing, I suggest putting each panel in a ziploc bag and labeling it with which panel it is, such as Front Left Side Panel, Back Left Center panel, etc. so they don't get mixed up.

Choose to assemble JUST the front or the back. Sew together one panel at a time. Add on the vertical framing strips as you go. Each time you finish another panel, add another vertical framing strip. Sewing the panels together as you get them done cuts down on possible mixing them up and confusion that may occur. 

Press the horizontal seams down, and press the vertical seams in towards the vertical black strips to press in the path of least resistance. Repeat until all panels are done on one side. Repeat entire process with opposite side. NOTE if you already put in the vertical frame piece so that you do not have a duplicate when you get to sewing Front/Back together. Sew together at side seams.

Insert elastic for the waist and hem as noted in the Hazel Knit Hack.

Go take lots of fun photos. If you can find an actual Mondrian exhibit to pose next to, even better. Or maybe some fun mod scooter to pose next to? Have fun with it.

Here it is in list form:

  1. Knit Hack for Hazel Skirt Pattern.
  2. Tape yoke to coordinating panel. Make sure to overlap 1.25 inches to account for seam allowance.
  3. Trace to make opposite side panels, 8 in total. 4 for the front, and 4 for the back.
  4. Shave off width of framing strips but not SA. If framing strip final width is 1 inch, shave off 1 inch from one side, or 1/2 inch from both sides.
  5. Get color coordinated pens or pencils ready next.
  6. Lay out the panels and color them. 
  7. Number each piece on a panel in the order of assembly (don't do like I did if you're not experienced in piecing.)
  8. Take a photo of the final, colored panels. This is important for reference. You will not remember. You know you won't. This will also help you if you didn't number in order of assembly.
  9. Cut the panels apart, one at a time, and cut the fabric for one panel at a time. Pin each pattern piece to each piece of fabric. IF you have to leave this to come back to it before finishing, I suggest putting each panel in a ziploc bag and labeling it with which panel it is, such as Front Left Side Panel, Back Left Center panel, etc. so they don't get mixed up.
  10. Choose to assemble JUST the front or the back. Sew together one panel at a time, adding on the vertical framing strips as you finish each panel.
  11. Each time you finish another panel, add another vertical framing strip. Sewing the panels together as you get them done cuts down on possible mixing them up and confusion that may occur. 
  12. Press the horizontal seams down, and press the vertical seams in towards the vertical black strips to press in the path of least resistance. 
  13. Repeat until all panels are done on one side.
  14. Repeat entire process with opposite side. NOTE if you already put in the vertical frame piece so that you do not have a duplicate when you get to sewing Front/Back together.
  15. Sew together at side seams.
  16. Insert elastic for the waist and hem as noted in the Hazel Knit Hack.

Apply colors as you like. Make stained-glass of your clothes. Take that sweatshirt pattern you bought and re-use it. Color it and cut it up. Have fun. If you choose to do this, you may need to add SA. Here's a time capsule link to the cosplay shown in this post from 4+ years ago. There are 5 posts total, this is the final post and you can work backwards if you're interested. Enjoy adventuring!

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