Friday, March 2, 2018

FO: Khaki Melissa Skirt

My love of the Melissa skirt by Muse Patterns is heavily documented on this blog. I've made 1 "eh" wearable, one amazing favorite, and two sad duds with this pattern, always hoping to strike gold like I did with my favorite brown version. Maybe 5th time's the charm? Could this finally be the skirt I've been trying for? 
When moving my stash, I came across some smaller cuts of what seemed like a twill with some polyester in it and in very neutral colors. They were only 1 yard cuts, but they were 60" wide. I held them out wanting to contrive a pattern to use them for, and then moved everything. When digging through my fabric in its current "home" location, I came across them again and wanted to satisfy my curiosity as to if I could fit a Melissa skirt on the pieces. It took some major Tetris and it required that the waistband and the pocket panel pieces were cut on the cross grain, but it actually all fit. This is a miracle for someone my size! I was so excited that I immediately cut out this skirt.
In my darkened sewing room, it looked like the cross grain would not effect the finished look, so I didn't think further about it. Once it was completed and I started trying to photograph it though, I could see that the twill weave was going in a different direction, giving the pocket panel the effect of being a lighter color. It's hard to see in the photo, but I can see a texture different at the very least. I have yet to wear this out and about, so I don't know yet how much this will bug me. Hopefully not at all, lol. For this version, I made the same alterations to the pocket panel pieces that I always do, adding 1/2" to each side so my hands fit comfortably in the pockets. I also took a wedge out of the center back panel seam - another usual adjustment. But aren't the pockets great? They are always my favorite thing about this pattern - it makes a great basic with a little something different.
The back is where I'm not entirely sold. I had this sewn - waistband stitched in the ditch and everything - only to try it on and it was just tight enough to be uncomfortable. I was going for a comfy everyday type skirt here, so that wasn't good. I picked the entire waistband off, lengthened it by 3/4", and sewed it all back together. That was a lot of added work, but it feels much more comfy. The one big issue I have still is wrinkling on the back. Even on my first version of this pattern that I hardly altered at all, the skirt had to be gathered into the waistband a little at the end. The pattern does not mention easing the pieces together, but it happens to me every time. The panels are cut on the cross grain, so it's not stretch from the bias or anything like that. With me adding to the sides of the pockets, that does create excess fabric at the waist, but the wedge I take out for a sway back adjustment should take care of most of that. I'm stumped on it, but I always have to ease - this time I had to down right gather. I tried to keep the gathering at the back, but it seems I got an almost pucker along my center back seam.
You can see the pucker here. For the top picture, I deliberately smoothed it all out, but as soon as I move it will look like this picture again. This fabric has a good deal of body, which I'm hoping will soften with washing, but I know that is part of the issue. At the moment the fabric feels so stiff it's like I'm wearing a bell, but if this twill is like my brown twill from the favorite version, it will soften with time. I'm still trying to decide if I should unpick the waistband across the back and redistribute that pucker, but I feel like it will just pucker again somewhere else.
I forgot to mention - I couldn't get quite all of my pieces cut out in the twill fabric - the center fronts are supposed to be cut on the fold, but I had to cut them as individual pieces. To compensate, I cut a piece out of a white acetate lining for the inside. I just sewed them together and understitched the lining piece to make sure it doesn't show outside. This worked like a charm :)
I even used buttons from my stash :) These came from the Hobby Lobby clearance section a few months ago and they work perfectly - just a touch of contrast but still neutral in the darkened silver metal, and they have a neat design on close inspection.
So will this take the place of my brown version? Only time will tell. I'm excited to see how this washes up and if it softens any. If it does, I have another piece of this fabric in olive green lined up and waiting to become the next Melissa :)

Fabric: 1 yard khaki twill - $0.25 (thrifted), 1/2 yard white lining - $0.25 (thrifted)
Pattern: Melissa Skirt by Muse Patterns
Notions: 1/2 yard Pellon SF101 interfacing - $0.50, khaki thread - $2.50, 7 metal buttons - $1.50
Time: 8 hours
Total Cost: $ 5.00

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