Sunday, June 30, 2013

Project 1-4: Tutorial to Make an A-Line Skirt

This was a pretty easy, standard skirt pattern (here's the first and the second posts on this project) and took me about 5 hours (mainly because I had to recreate the belt!).  Below are changes I made to this pattern.
Facing and Lining
I have a confession to make:  I don't like to work with most lining fabrics.  They're too squirley, moving this way and that and having to be pinned like crazy to stay still.  That being said, I absolutely love how they look.  So, I am lining this skirt, but I don't have to like it (I think of eating peas, yuck!)

I've had women tell me over the years that zippers can be a real challenge.  I find that in order to get a really even zipper, I handbaste it first, so I don't stick myself with pins and the zipper comes out perfect. 

The pattern instructions called for me to fold over the carrier piece, sew down the side and turn inside out.  As with most fabrics and especially this slightly rough, medium thick fabric, it would be a major impossibility to turn the fabric inside out of this small tube.  Instead, see the method below, the carriers looks professional after spending way less time and frustration.


Prior to sewing the seams together, I pulled off all sequins that were going to get caught in the seams, including the hem, zippers and darts.

I didn't want the thread from sewing the lace on the hem to show so I measured where the hem line would be, and then sewed the lace upside down at that point. Then, I flipped the hem up.
This cotton was great to work with--I was able to steam the hem and get it nice and flat!

Expect the Unexpected
I lost the the belt to this pattern!  Here I go into detail about how I re-created it.

I can't wait to show you the finished skirt!  I'll be sharing pictures next time...and I might have a surprise, something else I made with this fabrics' scraps!

Project 1-3: Recreate the Lost Belt Piece

I was not a happy camper when I realized that I didn't have the belt pattern piece to this Simplicity 7377 skirt pattern for my first challenge project


 I had such a great belt buckle...I just had to recreate the belt.  As you can see, the belt (C) is curved rather than straight (which would have been easy), because it falls below your waist.

1.  I figured the easiest way to recreate the belt was to copy the facings at the skirt waistband.

  2.  It ended up being easier than I thought -- I just added extra length, cut it out and made a point at one end.  I used medium interfacing and it worked great.

I turned the belt, ironed it nice and flat, sewed topstitching and handsewed the buckle to the flat end.  Voila!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Project 1-2 Add A Cool, Retro Belt Buckle

One thing I've found in sewing is you need to try combinations out first before you sew them together permanently.  It's funny how certain you can be that colors will look great together or a certain button is perfect...and you are wrong!

With that in mind, I laid the skirt fabric on my bed and placed a plain white and then a black shirt next to the fabric to judge what looked the best.  The black shirt won hands down...and then I decided to add some black accents to my outfit.

- I pulled out a black belt buckle from my stash--very 80's looking, cool.

-  I pinned some 1" straight black lace at the bottom of the skirt hem.  I wasn't sure if it was going to be too it turned out, it looks nice and isn't overpowering because the skirt fabric is so dramatic.

- I have several pairs of black shoes that I will share with you, wedges, pumps, sandals and mary janes--they'll look adorable with this outfit.

- I will use a 7" black zipper


I have cut out my skirt fabric and made the following adjustments:

The pattern was a size 14 and I need a 16-18 pattern.

1) The pattern is cut out for a waist size 14 or 28" but I needed a 32" waist.  I subtracted the pattern waist size from my waist size and divided by 4 (4 = the two front side seams and two back side seams). 

       32       -         28              =    4     divided by        4         =                   1 inch
 (my waist)    (pattern waist)       (answer)                   (4 seams)        (add to each seam)
 I added 1" to each of the side seams, facings and belt.

2) I moved the front and back darts over 1/2 inch towards the side seams.

3) I took 2" off the length.  For my body type, I make this standard adjustment to the skirts and sleeves of all the garments I make.

3) Because I am now adding 1" black lace on the hem, I made the hem an additional 1" shorter.

4) I am putting the zipper on the side because I don't want an additional seam in the back to disturb the pretty pattern and sequins.  I cut the back and facings pieces on the fold.

5) I am adding a black lining fabric.

 Posts for the First Project Challenge:  Introducing the project, discussing pattern changes, making the skirt and recreating the belt (I lost the belt pattern piece). 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Project 1: Black and White Checked Skirt--With Sequins!

As promised, I've chosen the fabric I will be using for this first project in my Fabric Stash Challenge and here's the photos.

This is a black and white checked gingham cotton fabric, with a little stretch.  It has lovely thread swirls throughout and sewn on silver sequins in the flowers (my favorite!)  What's nice about this fabric is that it is a medium thickness and doesn't require a slip.  However, because the fabric is a little rough (it feels like a broadcloth), I may want to line it anyway.  Also, I generally like to line fabric with sequins because the sequins are little itchy. 
Pretty sequins are sewn in the flowers
I have several options for patterns because of this fabric weight and slub.  I could make a cute spring/summer jacket, except I only have a yard and half fabric at 52" wide and I do need to line up the checks...I could make a sleeveless, snug dress with a slit in the back.  That would look nice except I think it will be dressier than what I want.  I could make a jumper and wear a crisp, white blouse underneath.  I have a great pattern but it has a ton of pleats and I don't want to deal with sequins in the pleats, plus I don't want a lot of pleats or darts taking away from the flower design.

I could make an a-line skirt...that would be so pretty and summery with a white blouse.  I will use a pattern that I don't have to cut into too many pieces and disturb the fabric pattern.

I'm going to use Simplicity 7377--I'm well acquainted with this pattern and it's easy to make.  I like option "C", and think it will look cute with the belt.  The facing waistband is comfortable too.  You'll see my progress over the next week!