Monday, May 16, 2016

FO: Green Melissa Skirt (A Cautionary Tale)

This is a tale of fabric woes ... A sad tale in which the perfect color bottom weight material just wasn't what my beloved pattern called for, but I tried to force it anyway. It's a wearable lesson though, so I wanted to post about it anyway.
This is my latest finished item (and long standing WIP) - a Melissa Skirt from some jade green stretch sateen-ish fabric. I bought this fabric as a designer factory remnant and didn't know what the content was, but it feels like the stretch sateen at Hancock if that helps anyone. I thought, "Oh sweet, it should make a great Melissa skirt!" since that is my favorite skirt pattern. Favorite pattern + favorite color must = favorite skirt, right? That was my train of thought. Having never worked with a stretch woven fabric before, I thought it would fit the same as a woven just with a little extra give as you moved. I'm sure more experienced seamstresses out there are laughing to read that, but that was my notion when I started this in January. By the above picture, the skirt looks pretty good, so what is the hold up? Let's investigate...
I made this skirt up with the same alterations as my Brown Melissa Skirt since it's easily the most worn item I've made thus far. Since I've already made this pattern two times, I didn't bother to check the fit as I went. Really, that's not very effective on this skirt since the buttons and waistband aren't added until the end. I could vaguely tell that it was wider than my previous skirt, so I took in the side seams before attaching the waistband. Then I pinned the waistband in place to check fit, and it was still too big! I then took it in even more. I think I took about 1.5 inches off each side seam - yeah, that's a ton, right? It's all from the stretch in the fabric, which is still pretty bewildering to me. Even after taking in the sides, the waist is still too loose now that it's all done, and the unfortunate side effect of the stretch in the fabric is that it hugs the area I am most self conscious about. From the front, all is well here in the above photo. With my shirt untucked. On purpose. And with a shirt that covers my hips. But when the shirt is tucked in ... Oh my.
Please keep in mind that I only post these photos in the name of sewing science. As a curvy lady, there are areas of my body that I accept but deliberately dress to smooth over. I'm a total pear shaped body type, which I why I love the fit and flare look on me - hug the waist to look slimmer, flare away from the hips to disguise them. That's why I love this pattern so much! It's interesting but still flares away. Usually. The stretch in this fabric and having to take it in so much just to get it to not look like it was way too big means that now it hugs my gut area. Seriously, this skirt makes me look like my gut/hip area is a swimming donut. At least that's how I feel when I wear it. Not good. So let's just quickly scroll past this photo if you please ...
That's better. It's such a shame, too! The green is seriously my favorite color and it matches the leaves in this tulip shirt amazingly as well as my epic Chinese shoes I bought recently. Realistically, I always wear my shirts untucked just for my own comfort and preference, but having the waist so loose does me no favors either. I wore this out for a few hours last week and it loosened up even more to where I could probably have just accidentally walked out of it if I hadn't paid close attention. Really not good. Another bad side effect of this fabric is that it's stretch prevents it from flaring away from the body, making it just hang straight and sad, thus all the photos of me holding out the sides. Plus it creases like the dickens. *sigh*
All other aspects of this skirt are fantastic though, right?! I adore the pockets (again altered to be wide enough to fit my hand easily), the top stitching is on point (and holy crap did it take a ton of thread with top stitching and overcasting - this is the first time I needed to buy a new spool to finish a project), the buttons are subtle but fun, and THE COLOR, people. The color. Ugh. So sad. The bad fit is the reason this skirt sat since January waiting to be finished. I just didn't have the mental fortitude to work out its issues. In the end, I just finished it to get that guilt out of my head and feel like I accomplished something, but the loose waist has still got to be addressed. I'm not unpicking the whole thing, so there will be a side seam in the waistband, which just bugs me to think about. Oh well. One of these days I'll get around to the alteration, and then I'll never buy a stretch woven again, lol.
So there you have it - a sad learning casualty. I hope to find the same color in a more suitable bottom weight fabric one day, and then all my jade green dreams will come true :) At least I stuck it out and finished this one and it's slightly wearable. Live and learn!

Fabric: 1.5 yards green stretch cotton sateen - $6.00
Pattern: Melissa Skirt by Muse Patterns
Notions: fusible interfacing - $1.00, 7 buttons - $2.00, 2 spools of thread - $5.00
Time: 6-7 hours
Total Cost: $14.00


  1. I feel your pain...same thing happened to me with a stretch woven...

    1. How do people sew with this stuff?! When I think about it, most successful makes I've seen online were slim ladies, so maybe it's not friendly with curves? But then I know Meg from Cookin' and Craftin' uses it, so maybe I just don't know what I'm doing, lol.

  2. What a shame! It must have a fair bit of stretch to cause such problems . . . you might consider putting some elastic in the waistband to cinch it in a bit. Always such a bummer when you look forward to having something new and wonderful to wear and it doesn't work out. Hope the next project is a winner!


  3. That is such a shame, as it is a stunning colour! Stretch sateen is a bit odd, I think because it's heavier than other stiff fabrics so it just flops..

    If you want it to stick out more you will need the pieces to be FAR more flared, as it takes a lot of the fabric to fold properly.

    Aim to use a pattern where your can use the stretch fullness in a 3D way rather than just being able to make a smaller size, as this will tend to cling places you don't as well as places you do! It tends to work better for example, as a skirt yoke rather then a waistband, as you can shape it round you more easily, you could then add flared pieces on underneath.


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