Lesson one: Don't count your meters before you unfold. I really should have checked this and planned for what I had not planned for what 2012 Heather said she had.
I decided to cut the first tier at 30cm then the bottom two at 40cm. The benefit of two tiers being the same was that I could sew and gather one full strip and then just sew on however much it took to attach to the full circumference of the preceding tier. I was going to get out my gatherfoot and it was going to be so fast breezy and dreamy. That was my second hiccup - pride goeth before the fall.
Unperturbed I pressed on with one 30x150cm strip and less 40x150cm strips than I had hoped but assumed with less gather I should be fine. After all I only needed a hem of about 4m to go around the hoop.
Lesson two: the gatherfoot says it can gather and attach easily in one seam is the biggest lie since the cheques in the mail. I watched the tutorials I have seen it done but attempting myself was a hellish trespass that I won't be quick to try again. Instead I selected the rate of gather I wanted, used that to simply gather single layer of fabric and then pinned and attached a second layer in another step. This seemed to work well and with practice I feel I can say I even became proficient.
Lesson three: One can not gather material that has already been gathered, or has any sort of thread left in it from a previous gather. I would even consider fabric with slubs a risk the foot was that touchy. I broke two needles on that.
So with those two things in mind the project is coming along very nicely. I was however about to learn another valuable lesson in planning;
Lesson four: there is more than one hoop in a three hoop skirt, and you should know the circumference of all of them as well as their distance from each other and the waistline.
As you can see this outcome is not really what was in my head when I pictured it. So I had to move into the how the hell do I fix this mode. Thus I took my overtired butt to bed. When I woke up my plan was simple - get more fabric and make the same thing again and use one as a front and the other as the back. By Lunchtime I had decided to tackle in a different way - one which was mirrored by another sewing friend.
Step one: The first tier is obviously too long, to combat this I halved the distance by self facing the top tier. The self facing would allow for a strong support for the rest of the skirt (reasons to follow) and the sewing of a channel to put a drawstring through.
Step two: add pin-tucks to the obviously also too long and too tight second tier. this would allow the first tier seam some room to breathe and also put some added bulk over that first hoop better disguising it under a skirt.
Now it was looking more like I wanted. In fact I would almost call it pretty. Short but pretty. There was no escaping it I knew I would need more fabric and as luck would have it Spotlight was selling there cotton linen at some sort of markdown. I took 3 more meters because I didn't want to end up short again.
Not really learning from the above I cut 4 more 40cm strips for a total of 5.4m (this was a shorter bolt). When attaching to the above tier I was short and cut another "40cm" strip that ended up being 35cm but in the end that didn't matter to much as I was able to hem out more than what I had missed. Final hem is over 6m.
For decorative reasons and to create a more ideal length I added two more pin-tucks on the second tier. The whole thing sits beautifully but weighs a fair bit. When they say use lightweight material they mean it. The lightest you can work with because this fabric economical design has still got 4m ish fabric in it and it all adds up. It does mean that the extra fabric on the waist adds weight but it also anchors well.
Finally because I am trying to use finishes on all my pieces I moved to decoration. I contemplated covering the pin-tucks as I don't think they are neat enough but was convinced otherwise by various strangers and friends on the internet.
In the end I am glad I did because I planned to do 4 rows plus ribbon row on the bottom hem - and ended up with just two. It literally took 20 minutes easy to pin the trim on and sew it round. Not all the trim that is 20 minutes for each row. Not to mention the time it took to thread the golden orange ribbon (I know orange is an odd choice it is a nod to my sons favourite colour), only to discover I was under a meter shy of a full run
So another day, another spotlight trip and 20 more minutes and I have a finished and final petty petticoat.
Apparently I should be wearing at least two so I have plans for pin-tuck petticoat sometime in the future but today is not that day.