Friday, November 21, 2014

FO: Falling Flowers Skirt

This project has been a seriously long time coming ... over 2 years in fact. Isn't that just ridiculous?
I started out trying to make this skirt back in 2012 when I decided I wanted to sew clothes for myself. I began with a super simple pattern from New Look 6981. I chose this because I really wanted to showcase the flower fabric, but I also wanted to change a bunch of things on my own. The pattern didn't have pockets and it didn't include instructions for a lining, both of which are necessities with me. According to the pattern measurements, the largest size included wasn't big enough for me. Naive little me thought that just increasing the width of all the pieces by 2 inches would fix this - can we say it was enormous that way? I had no idea about built in ease at the time, so I just trusted the pattern envelope and it came out so wide my hips couldn't even hold it up. After all that, I was incredibly frustrated. Not only was it too big, it also was just not a flattering style on me (somehow I decided to convert the 3 box pleats into one large box pleat down the middle - not wise, former Megan), so in my frustration I hung it up in my closet to be dealt with another day. Well, two years have passed. I've even moved and hung it in my new closet, lol, still just never had the desire to unpick the whole thing and try again. A month or so ago I finally bit the bullet, ripped it all out, and re-did it. I'm much happier with these results :)
Ugh, sorry for the crappy flash photo.
Once I had the entire skirt unpicked, I made some new realizations with my much more developed sewing brain. First off, I had cut the flower fabric so that they were "falling up", lol. Luckily I had enough fabric since I had cut it too wide in the first place, so I just turned the fabric the right way and recut the pieces. Glad I know a little more about fabric direction now. I also know more about stitch lengths - I don't know why but I used something like a 1.5 stitch length originally, which made unpicking it all a nightmare. I also had no idea what I was doing on the pocket and zipper, gladly I was able to remedy this now.
Here is my single pocket, lol. Since the pattern had a side zipper, I had absolutely no idea how to add a pocket along with an invisible zipper, so I just decided one would be fine. Nowadays, I would have looked up how to do two pockets, but I wasn't in the mood when I finally fixed this. The pocket actually came out really well :)
Sadly, the other side of my waistband ... not so much. The zipper looks great, but the waistband just wouldn't meet any closer. By the time I put the skirt on and realized this space, all it needed was a hem, so I was not about to rip the entire thing apart yet again. To be honest, I never wear anything tucked in, so no one will even see the waistband at all in real life. I may move the hook and eye eventually, but I just couldn't be bothered at the time.
 The lining did come out quite nice. I had no idea what I was doing at the time, but it seemed to work out. I didn't want the pleats to be in the lining, so I constructed the outside of the skirt, then laid the lining on top and cut it to be the right shape without the pleats (hopefully that makes sense). I also hemmed the lining about an inch shorter than the skirt to prevent it peeking out.
Originally, there was a bit more of a difference in the length of the skirt and lining. I would try on the skirt and just hate how the hem just hung there. I wanted a little volume at the hem - I'm a "fit and flare" gal. I wanted to try a hem finish to stiffen it a bit, and I decided to use interfacing. Sadly the only interfacing I had on hand was the cheapy light stuff (that wouldn't have done anything) and super heavy duty (think the stuff you use to make bags hold their shape), so I cut a 5/8" wide strip of the heavy interfacing, sewed it on, turned it under, then did a blind hem. It looked completely ridiculous! I seriously don't know why I thought that would work. This fabric is technically a quilting cotton, but it is much lighter weight than your typical variety. I purchased it at The Quilt Place in Rockledge sometime back in 2012 and I remember it was in their clearance for $5.00 a yard. I don't have the selvage piece anymore, but I'm pretty sure it was an Art Gallery fabric. Anyway, I then unpicked the hem, and cut off the interfacing section, which made me lose about 5/8" of main fabric. Then I just turned 1/4" under, turned another 5/8" under and did a tiny blind hem on my machine.
It all came out really nice looking if I do say so myself :) I did my first ever tiny rolled hem on the lining - it was quite an experience, but it worked out fine. Plus it's the lining, so I don't care if it's perfect. I thought I would need to add tulle to the lining bottom to give me more flare, but when I tried it on after the normal blind hem it looked great - just enough flare - so I left it alone.
I also decided to get really fancy and add tailor's tacks to the skirt and lining to keep it from sliding up. They look pretty dang good imo :) Also, I just pinked the insides to finish them - since there is a lining I wasn't worried about getting fancy.
For the pocket, I just copied a pocket from a skirt I already liked. I had no idea at the time that I had chosen a "complicated pocket" - it wasn't really too hard, but definitely harder than just a normal one made of lining fabric. The pocket has a band of the main fabric along the outside so it looks really professional now it's all finished :) Also the pocket was designed to be caught in the waistband which I really love - it's nice and sturdy!
Ugh - and the dreaded zipper area. The zipper looks good outside, but since the pattern didn't include lining instructions, I just winged it and it doesn't look too pretty. I didn't know how to attach the lining to the zipper at the time, so I just cut that area open in the lining. Even when I recut the pieces, I had cut too far in for me to change that now, so I just left it. I just turned the opening edges under twice and top stitched. I had to hand stitch the ends of the waistband closed inside, which was kind of a pain, but it helped me avoid any visible top stitching on the outside. I seriously hate the hook and eye area though. Oh my gosh, it looks so awful.Really though, because of how I wear my shirts it won't be an issue. The second picture at the top of this post is how it will look when I wear it in real life. I really don't know what I was even thinking about making the waistband a different color since no one will really ever see it, lol. Ah well, early sewing design choices - what can you do?
So, that's my skirt :) Is it perfect? Absolutely not. The important thing is that it is finished and wearable, so it's not hanging in the closet making me feel guilty, lol. Does it go with anything else I usually wear? No - in fact I'm pretty positive this green shirt is the only thing I have I can wear it with, lol. Also, I generally avoid white and cream on the bottom since I'm always afraid I'll stain them. Oh well.
I'm still undecided if wearing it with my favorite sweater looks ok. Is it too matchy matchy? Thoughts?

Anyway, this was definitely a "Make it work" project, and while it wasn't the most fun thing to puzzle through, I am really happy to have it finished and wearable :)

Fabric: 2 yards Art Gallery (?) quilting cotton, $10.00; Brown quilting cotton, maybe $2.00(?); White poly acetate lining, $2.50 (?)
Notions: Invisible zipper, $2.00 (?)
Pattern: New Look 6981, pattern pieces only
Hours: About 4 to redo it, but who know how many hours when I first made it years ago...

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