Monday, September 28, 2015

FO: Blue Jean Melissa Skirt

 I've officially finished another entry for the Sewing Indie Month contest - a blue jean Melissa skirt!
I made this using the Melissa Dress/ Blouse/ Skirt pattern from Muse patterns. I liked the dress when it was originally released, but I picked it up in the Sewing Indie Month bundle for a sweet deal (this was one pattern I was most excited about in that bundle!). Originally I only thought about this pattern as a dress, but then Rochelle from Lucky Lucille posted her skirt version earlier this month and I saw more of its potential. While I love the dress, it does remind me of an 50s bowling team dress or a waitress' uniform at an old school diner. That look definitely has it's place and I fully plan on making the dress and blouse at some point, but seeing Rochelle use all the same fabric and basically making a gored button up skirt with cute pockets really sealed the deal. I needed a skirt now, and I had the perfect denim in my stash.
Since the finished measurements listed on the pattern were very close to my own and this really just has to fit at the waist and fall, I skipped making a muslin. I figured I could work out any issues as I went. The only fitting issue I ended up having was the waistband area (the one fitted spot, of course). I had to add a little piece to the waistband (I made sure it was to the side that will be covered by the buttonholes) so that was easily fixed (*after wearing the skirt, it has loosened up and it looks like it's a little too big now with this piece :/). The other issue was a little beyond me at the time. The pattern has you ease the skirt into the waistband piece, and it's a good 2" or so you have to ease in. That just wasn't wanting to happen in denim. I have a few little puckers, but knowing that my shirts will always cover the top I didn't bother taking it out. The thing that frustrates me is that there is actually excess fabric at the top of my waist under the waistband. It actually bunches up there. I think that next time I will try taking the ease out of the top pieces just in that top inch or so - I guess my back waist decreases faster than the average or something.
I had to find a piece of fabric for my mom in her really (really) really old fabric stash a month or so ago, and I cam across a huge cut of this lightweight denim. She said she intended to make me, my 2 sisters, and herself jean jumpers back in the early to mid 90s with this fabric. I told her I'd add a removable bib to my skirt to make her dream a reality, lol. In the end she was fine with me taking a small amount and putting it to use instead of it waiting around any longer. This skirt only took 1.5 yards, so she still has plenty left for her dream jumper :) I love gored style skirts, and in reality this so close looking to my Altered Navy Button Front Skirt it's scary, but I know this will be one of those garments that matches anything so I don't mind at all that it's similar to another item I have.
The gored style is really flattering to my shape (at least I think so), and I just love the little pockets! I will confess that the instructions were seriously confusing for the pockets. I think that the diagram actually made me more confused because of what it shows as the right and wrong sides. When I realized that all you have to do is press the seam allowance under, lay the pocket edge piece on top of the front panel piece (the one that is the length of the skirt), line up the top edges, then top stitch the bottom edge, I was surprised it was so hard for me to get it. This is the very first step of the pattern, so at least I was raring to go and willing to try it and rip it out a few times without chucking it in the naughty corner. In the end, I love how the pockets look, though they don't quite fit my hand inside. Next time I will make the piece a little wider to actually fit my hand into the bottom so I can take things out of my pockets. The way the pockets are inserted would make this very easy to just remove them completely and have just a plain gored skirt (I may actually do this in the future and add side seam pockets).
I was really torn with what spots I should use gold top stitching on! At first I thought I'd use it on every seam, but when I started thinking I knew that would be a lot of gold lines for such a simple skirt. In the end I decided for gold thread on the pocket V, the hem, and the buttonholes and all of the other seams have navy thread that blends in so well it's basically invisible. 
I wanted my insides to be nice and clean as well as hold up for a long time to frequent washes, so I overcast the seam allowances inside and then top stitched them down to make faux-felled seams. I love how nice and flat this turned out. I did make one flub up that resulted from me just not reading the instructions well enough - I lined the entire front pieces with fusible interfacing instead of just half like it calls for. This made the front quite thick compared to the rest of the skirt, but honestly I kind of like that about it because my tummy is my most self conscious area and this really prevents any clinging to lumps. You can also see the pocket bags in the above shot :)
And some up close details! My top stitching isn't perfect, but considering I didn't use any type of guide foot for it I am pretty proud of it :) I used some satin finished brass buttons from my stash that a friend of mine gave to me. These are quite old, and some are a little scratched, but I really like how they look on this skirt. The upper right pic is to show my faux-felled seam. The middle shots are the waistband issues - you can see the seam line from the piece I added to the waistband, but I'm sure no one will see it when I wear it. The other pictures are just to show my top stitching and how neat the insides look. For the hem, I didn't want it to be too bulky and the pattern only allots for one turn up of 5/8", so I just overcast the edge, turned up 5/8", and then top stitched 1/2" from the folded hem.
So there you have it - an awesome wardrobe basic with a few special touches to keep it different :) I know that I will wear this a ton. I've already worn it once and it was really comfortable, so I'm already trying to plan another version. I think once I get the little things fixed that I need to tweak, this will be a tried and true and quick project!

Fabric: 1.5 yards of lightweight denim - Free ("borrowed" from my mom's stash)
Pattern: Melissa Dress/Blouse/Skirt by Muse Patterns - $3.80 (from Sewing Indie Pattern Bundle 1)
Notions: Pellon fusible interfacing - $1.00, gold top stitching thread - $0.50, 7 gold metal buttons - Free (given to me by a friend), Navy blue thread - $0.50
Hours: assembling pattern, tracing pattern, and cutting fabric - 2 hours, actual sewing - 5 hours
Total Cost: $5.80

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