A Brand New Skirt

23 March 2021

Soon it will be May 5 – Holland liberation Day, by which the Liberation Skirt Project was inspired and to which is was dedicated. My original skirt turned into a cape – so now I wanted to come up with a skirt.

So I re-read about the first Liberation Skirt by Mies Boissevain-van Lennep:

” the hem should consist of plain triangles, in which women were to write the years they wore their skirt. And everybody should start by embroidering 5 mei 1945 on the front. The rest of the pieces of the skirt were preferably to consist of authentic, used cloth and should not only be inscribed with important national events but also with important family ones. In the skirt of life the two kinds of experience that together shape a woman’s life, the personal and the political, were to be combined…”

Several new things occurred to me:

  • The importance of triangles with the written memories
  • The skirt should be in happy colors for it really is a liberation celebration skirt
  • Holland’s color is orange 
  • I have many orange strips of Coreopsis samples fabric left

I went back to my deserted Coreopsis and sun-printed pleated skirt beginnings and added Triangles and Balls. The triangles could represent my relation to Holland; the balls something that I had achieved in my life – all coming up from the rectangles at the bottom.

The challenges

  • The pattern. There was no pattern. It was quite the difficulty to fit the skirt to my body. I eyeballed several darts while pinning the pieces of the skirt to my body, using mirrors and pins. Then I decided to wing it and make the width of the skirt multi sizes by attaching strips to tie.
  • The irregularity of the fabrics.  “… the pieces of the skirt were preferably to consist of authentic, used cloth.“ I used old cotton sheets – but they were of different quality and thickness. In addition, I am a beginner seamstress, and accuracy is not my strong point. This meant that, even after ironing, the skirt was not looking crisp, and it wrinkled just by touching it! Perhaps I could use starch? I use no starch and began looking into making my own. Sure enough – a lady had a recipe for ironing starch on the internet. It uses cornstarch and boiling water. It works great! https://brendid.com/3-ways-make-non-toxic-spray-starch/
  • The skirt was not “hanging” right. I plan to add some turquoise Arizona beads on the bottom to represent my second homeland, Arizona.

Interesting how the orange and the white backgrounds on these photos c change the colors of the skirt. The bottom left ad the bottom right photos are the most true to the real colors. Here’s a chart of the colors used:

No-waste Triangles and Color Chart


Perhaps I should cover the hip triangle with a pocket? It looks too stark now. Now I am thinking about what dates exactly these triangles will have. Born in the Netherlands? Leaving the Netherlands? Losing my European passport? Becoming an American? And the bals in the back – I’m not sure if they are needed. I think they’re too much.

One Reply to “A Brand New Skirt”

Diane Baker

Your skirt is amazing Monique! The balls and triangles are just right. I wouldn’t change a thing. Enjoy wearing it!!

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