Monday 18 March 2013

I've sewed not one, but two skirts!

A post long overdue... I've finished an everyday wearable skirt! I first wrote a bit about here, and it's a wool/poly blend that I bought the fabric for ages ago. Of course, at the time I didn't know it was going to be a skirt... Ever had a moment when you suddenly just know what to make with something, and it's so obvious that you can only marvel that the idea hasn't struck sooner? This was one of those moments for me =) After stashing the fabric for three years, and lamenting the fact that I had too few fall/spring skirts, that all my skirts were blue, that I had the sewing funk and just wanted to make something fast, then I finally put two and two together and made this fabric into a very wearable but easy to make skirt.

It's a halfcircle, cut on the straight of grain with no front- or backseam (only sideseams).

The zipper is lapped and inserted in the sideseam. To make my life easy I just cut all the sideseams with extra wide seam-allowance =)

The waistband is in one single piece, the whole of it interlined with a stable woven fusible. The back of the waistband is stitched down with a stitch in the ditch (from the right side).

That's really all there is to it. I actually finished this skirt before the Stockholm trip in October, but for some reason I just haven't come around to photograph it until now.


The second skirt is an UFO from last winter. After I finished the coat I wanted to make something easy, something fun and fast. An A-line skirt in wool seemed to fit the bill, and I had the perfect TNT pattern and a good fabric. So how on earth did it become an UFO? Basically, I have a very, very hard time to keep things simple. To stick to the plan.
"Wouldn't it look a lot more interesting with the plaid on the bias?"
"Pockets would be fun to add!"
"Let's try out this cool new method for the waistband!"
Nevermind the fact that I hadn't done pockets on this pattern before, and only once added pockets to any pattern (not a huge pocket fan) so drafting and sewing those took a lot more time than I thought it would. I hadn't sewn on the bias before either, nor matched plaid to this extent. Not very advanced things, but they did slow the project down a lot!

The pockets and inside of the waistband.

To make matterns worse, when laying out the pattern I had a hard time fitting all the pieces on the bias on my 1,5 metres of wool. I made two pattern pieces and refused to "waste" time and paper on drawing up two more so I would have one piece of pattern paper for every final piece of fabric. Not a mistake I'll ever make again... After playing around with different pattern layouts, I finally figured "Well, this looks like it might not work, but then on the other hand it just might! I'll just start by cutting these two pieces and then I'll see how I can cut out the other two." If by now you're wondering "What was she thinking!!!" then you're totally justified and I'm pleading temporary insanity ; )
I could not cut out two or even one more piece. So I set about puzzling together these pieces instead.

From the inside...

And from the outside.

Matching these up and making them lay still while I sewed was no mean feat. There was basting on all sides involved! But I doubt the casual observer will notice the patchwork =)

The final straw (this past fall/winter), was when I had finally sewn the whole thing together and hemmed it and it was done - and the zipper boggled like crazy. Unpicking tiny stitches in thick, wholly wool was for a time my perceived version of hell ; ) I handsewed it back in, even gathered and steamed the skirt to counteract the stretch of the bias, but I'm still not happy with it.

Boggling zipper

This is a bit weird, but my measuringtape says my waist is 3 cm smaller than in October when I last tried on this skirt (and it looked good). I made it a bit roomier in the waist, very comfy for days when I... just need a little bit of extra room in the waistband, let's not dwell on that, right? Also good for layering stuff underneth it during the very cold months =) Smart thinking, but now a few extra centimeters has become too many extra cm's! The skirt sits too low in the waist and therefore falls wrong. It feels... just wrong... in the waist, and I'm pretty sure that's why the zipper goes crazy.

If I pull the skirt up to my natural waist (where it's meant to be) the zipper looks good. Problem is, the skirt doesn't stay there...
I'm undecisieve on what to with it. Scrap it, sell it, save it in case it will fit later in life? I have no illusions that I will keep my current waist-measurment for the rest of my life, but do I like the skirt enough to store it until it fits? Also, it's a style that I fear would look very old lady on me in 10-20 years. On the other hand, who knows what will happen the coming year? Maybe next winter it will be the only thing fitting in a closet of skirts just a smidge too small =) It get's to stay, for now. If it hasn't been worn in a year or two, I'll re-evaluate.

It took over a year to finish this project, but I learned something important: when I want a fast and easy project, I need to stick to the basics and not start adding "interesting features". Keep it simple, and leave fancy for when I feel for a more demanding project. And if a project becomes an UFO, measure again to make sure it still fits =)

It feels good to be done with these two projects. The green skirt was an overall nice experience, from inspiration, planning, sewing and all the way to wearing. I managed to keep it simple! The plaid was an interesting learning experience on many levels, and even though I didn't end up with my comfy warm winter skirt, the work was not in vain. And who knows, maybe it'll come into use eventually.

Love, Erika


Samia said...

You look very elegant in both skirts. I really love them.
The problem you have with your former UFO (keep it/sell it) is understandable given the time you spent on the project.
I too would find it difficult to part with a piece of clothe I put so much time and care in. And I definitely wouldn't redo it, way too frustrating !
On the other hand, often seamstresses choose to sew rather than buy rtw in order to have clothes that are perfect for their body type and the need for near perfection (in complicated as well as simple projects) is a quality I found in many other sewists.
For what it's worth, it doesn't look bad at all on your pictures and the material looks so comfy ! I would definitely wear it as it is.
Well done for both.

Foster said...

Pretty good and clever plaid matching with only a small amount of fabric. Both skirts are great. I don't notice that the plaid skirt is too big in the waist. It looks great to me.

Suzanne said...

The skirt looks great. Perhaps if you wear layered on top of a top/blouse/bodysuit, that extra layer will keep it up? Or how about suspenders ;)

Erika said...

Thank you, Eurielle! It really is a bit of a quandrum what to do with something I've spent so many hours on... I agree, the comfort of a good fit is one of the reasons why I sew, and I now have a hard time wearing ill-fitting clothes. But I've decided to keep it anyway! It ok as it is, and who knows, maybe it will fit perfectly next year =)

Foster; thank you! It was a bit of a puzzle =) The size-issue of the plaid skirt It might be something that's more felt than seen... Ah, well, I'll use it and see how I feel about it after a while.

Suzanne; thanks, that's a good idea! It might work best with a lot of layers. I like the suspender-idea also! =)