Thursday, April 30, 2015

FO: Pretteh Kitteh Skirt

I am proud to announce that I actually finished something that I planned fro a sew-along and I absolutely LOVE it :) I call this my "Pretteh Kitteh" skirt.
This project sort of started out a year or so ago when I decided I would like to replicate one of my favorite ready to wear skirts. I bought a Liz Claiborne skirt years and years ago that is just over knee length, a fun polyester print with a lining, and has a ribbon waistband on the inside of the lining. It always seemed like a simple construction and I knew I could replicate it if I set my mind to it. A few months ago when I was walking through Hancock Fabrics (I was there for 99¢ patterns and a zipper, I swear!), I passed by this kitty ca fabric and I was in love. It's a nice, light fabric with a pretty drape, but mostly I was so in love with the print that I knew I had to have it in my life. I'm not even a crazy cat lady (I do have a cat, but I think most cats are jerks), but the print was just so fun and I love the colors. I bought 2.5 yards with the plan of finally remaking my beloved skirt with it :)
It's so wonderfully swishy!
Construction on this was fairly interesting. I started by just taking my measurements and drafting a simple a-line skirt pattern for the lining. I dug through my stashed lining fabrics and settled on the only one I had that didn't show through the front and wasn't too heavy - this thrifted pink mystery fabric. I think it might be bemberg rayon, or at least a much higher quality polyester lining material than I've used before because it was much nicer feeling, though it still did fray like the dickens. I think the pink is pretty boring to be perfectly honest. I don't really think it looks complimentary inside the skirt either - I loved the look of a brown fabric I had, but it showed through to the outside :( Oh well, it was the main fabric I was concerned with anyway :)
Ugh, talk about a lack of hanger-appeal!
Once I had the lining fitting well, I added a 1/2" wide orange polyester ribbon just outside the seam allowance to act as the "waistband" but still be invisible from the outside. Next I just measured my original skirt and cut two pieces of the cat fabric across the entire 60" width (the pieces I cut were 26" long). I sewed the side seams first and inserted the invisible zipper, then I sewed the lining to the zipper - I had never done this before, so I followed the free Craftsy zipper class to do it and I am so proud of how professional it looks! The hardest part of this was figuring out the size to make the pleats. This took a few hours of measuring and pinning each pleat as I went, trying to make the main fabric the same width as my waistband. I finally ended up fudging it a bit - the pleats aren't all perfectly even, but I don't think it's very noticeable unless you're really inspecting it close, so I can live with that. These pleats are sewn down as rectangles and then all of them are laid in the same direction inside the skirt. Once I got the pleats situated, I sewed the lining to the main fabric and under-stitched the seam allowance onto the ribbon. It kept everything very neat and tidy inside :) Sadly, when I tried it on I discovered a big mistake - I had sewn the pleats 5" long and straight down - I didn't angle them out for my hips at all! The result was that my waistband had to sit up under my boobs to even zip up - not a good look. I was really bummed, and I certainly wasn't going to unpick the under-stitching and everything at the already graded waist seam. I had to unpick the bottoms of the rectangles until they were only about 2" long, and when I tried to stitch the bottoms back at a perpendicular angle, I kept sewing the pleats together accidentally since it was pretty impossible to separate each pleat enough to get my foot onto the original seam line at that point. I ended up hand stitching them back, which is certainly less than wonderful looking, even from the outside :( I still plan to finangle it somehow into my machine sometime soon to keep it from falling apart on me. That would be tragic.
Here are the detail shots. Isn't the fabric great?! I love the occasional blue cats with stars on them - so fun! And I am still impressed at how good the inside of my zipper looks, even though the ribbon doesn't match exactly - oh well, you can't have everything. I also am thrilled with my narrow hems! I've only done narrow hems a few times, but I am fast becoming addicted to it - it's really simple with the rolled hem foot on my machine, and it just looks so professional. And I'm pretty proud of the outside of my zipper as well, even though I didn't pattern match at all - the pattern is so crazy that it didn't matter to me.
So, there you have it - I have a ridiculously fun skirt With kitties AND goes along with a sew-along AND goes with my Swedish Hasbeens wonderfully :) I'm so excited about this skirt, and even in spite of its flaws I know I will wear it like crazy. Hooray for sewing!

Fabric: 1.5 yards Polyster Value Print from Hancock Fabrics - $ 7.00, 1 yard pink mystery lining (possibly bemberg rayon) - $0.25 thrifted
Notions: 9" invisible zipper, $1.00
Pattern: self drafted from rtw Liz Claiborne skirt
Hours: 6-ish?
Ha ha, these were just too ridiculous not to include in this post. Enjoy!

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