Sorry for the delay in posting about this costume– I was waiting for a zipper to arrive, and then it turned out to be out of stock (thanks a lot, FashionFabricsClub.com, for making me wait three weeks without bothering to tell me you didn’t have my order), and I had to order it from Amazon.
Anyway, Janet’s skirt is a bit more flared than a standard A-line, but doesn’t have the fullness through the hip of a circle skirt. The panels (I think there are nine, since there’s no center front seam) are actually fitted through the hip and then flare out from just below the hipline.
To draft my pattern I took my waist measurement and my hip measurement (8″ down from the waist), and divided by nine to get the fitted top part of the skirt. From the hip point I continued drawing the lines along the same angle just for reference, extending them down to the hem (the panel was a total of 25″ long). Once I determined where the original lines would be, I extended the width of the panel by 3″ at the hem (total, so 1.5″ on each side) to get that extra flare.
I added seam allowances to my panel pattern, cut out my panels, and stitched everything up, leaving the back seam open for the top 9″. However, I realized at this point that my seams, despite pressing, just weren’t staying flat. In the fitted sections of the skirt that was fine, but the flared sections were falling inwards at the seams due to the lack of support, and it interfered with the shape of the skirt. I decided to topstitch the fabric to the seam allowances on either side of the seams with a very, very narrow margin. It really helped the seams lie flat, and provided a little extra body to the skirt, which you can see on the before-and-after below.
After that I added my invisible zipper to the center back (the only one I could find on short notice was a 22″ zipper so I had to cut it shorter), then added a lapped waistband with a button. The waistband was cut on a curve and interfaced with lightweight iron-on interfacing to provide structure to the soft scuba knit. I’d originally intended to attach the waistband first and have the zipper go all the way to the top, but my fabric was thick enough that I was afraid that the bulky seam allowances would interfere with the workings of the zipper at the waistband seam.
Finally, I evened up the hem by trimming away the extra fabric points at the panel intersections, and pinned up a 1.5″ hem. Since the hemline was curved, though, I had to take steps to ensure it stayed smooth– first I topstitched about 1/4″ up from the hem to really set it in place (since this knit doesn’t press well). Then I ran gathering stitches around the top of the turned-up hem (separate sets for each of the nine panels) and drew up the threads just enough to make the hem fit into the curve– kind of the way you would do with horsehair braid. Finally, I hand-stitched the hem in place to minimize visible stitching from the right side. I could’ve just trimmed the hem close to the 1/4″ mark, but I wanted the extra thickness of fabric to help the skirt stand out just a bit at the bottom.