Monday, May 22, 2017

Skirt Challenge: Selene for Travel!

I wore this outfit on Friday to school, to give the skirt a test run before my trip!

When Fabric Mart announced they were hosting a skirt challenge for May, and asked if I would participate, I jumped in with both feet immediately.  During the school year I prefer to keep my makes to once every two months, but I couldn't say no!  I am heading to California in a week to spend time with some relatives, and I figured making a skirt and top from a double knit printed fabric (they sold out of this pretty feather printed version) would be an excellent choice.  I told Fabric Mart I loved the idea of wearing the two pieces together so they looked like a dress, and I also loved the fact that the skirt could pair well with multiple tops in my closet, and the top would also pair with many bottoms.  This means I can pack less for my journey out west!


The Selene from Colette Patterns was my first choice for its classic shape (a straight skirt that I could modify to fit my smaller waist and larger hips).  The fact that it had pockets not in the side seam were especially appealing.  I chose version C which features a pocket made from a yoke feature near the waistband.  The skirt also has princess seams with a center panel.  This makes fitting very easy, and now that I know this skirt is a bit loose in a double knit, I can definitely use this size for any future makes in a non-stretch woven.

I love the look of version A's welt pockets, but to be honest, this yoke style is a lot easier to construct, so I'll probably stick with C in any future makes.  The C version has a clipped V detail on the pocket, but I didn't want that for this skirt simply because the detail would have been completely lost in this fabric.


I rarely like the way I look in skirts from the back, but this one's very large darts*, combined with my grading the seams from a size 8 at the waist to a 12 at the hips and hem means that it works with my shape.  I definitely want to make this one again since this one works for my lower half so nicely.  I do believe the 8 waist is a touch big, but I won't know for certain until I try the same pattern sizing in a woven without stretch.  I added interfacing to the waistband so the double knit wouldn't stretch, but I do feel like the stretchy fabric might mean there is an ease there that wouldn't be so apparent with a non-stretch fabric.

*One thing I did NOT like about the Colette pattern was the way the sizes were printed on the paper.  It is all one color and with many sizes, I found it very difficult to follow my size line.  I used a size 8 dart, and it had the same printed line as two other lines on the pattern paper, which meant that I initially started tracing the size 20 (I think) line and not the size 8. I then said, "oh, there's my line," and traced the size 2.  Ugh.  Finally I found the 8, thank goodness.  But I really do think different colors might help differentiate the sizes better.  I know it's more expensive to print in color, but if the patterns are that expensive AND with that many sizes, it seems to be the only logical choice.


I didn't add any length, and it seems fine, though I may want to add an inch for something a bit more modest/formal.

The skirt is lined in stretch nylon tricot, but I decided to use the original skirt pattern pieces (with the exception of the side front, I used the lining ones for that).  The lining patterns end something like ten inches ABOVE where the regular pattern pieces do.  Ugh.  I am very sensitive to fabric changes in a garment, and I know I would be really bothered if the lining was that short, and I know I would feel the lining in half the skirt but not the other half.  I did shorten the lining, though, a bit, to account for the hemming of the skirt (I didn't hem the nylon tricot, it doesn't fray, so really not a huge priority of mine).  I decided to use the size 2 length on the lining, whereas I used the size 12 length on the main portion of the skirt.

I'll wear it together in California!

Here is the skirt with the matching top.  As you can see, it does really look like a dress.  With the tee, it takes on a casual look, but with the sleeved top, it seems a bit more formal, which is what I'll need as one of my engagements in California are my cousins' confirmations!


Sad change happened to this top from conception to creation, though looking at it from this photo, I am digging the change, since the contrast of the dark blue looks really nice with the skirt's pattern.  I had originally intended for the top to be completely made from the feather print double knit, and had cut out both pieces from it, but somehow, SOMEWHERE in my blasted house, is the front part of this top.  Gah.  I blame my children, whose adorable little hands probably put it somewhere.  So I had to take the back piece I had cut out and cut out a new back piece from another fabric that matched (this is a gorgeous rayon/nylon/lycra ponte I received from Fabric Mart in a bundle).  Then I had to re-cut the front from the original back piece.  Sigh.


Here is my "pattern" for the top.  LOL.  I recently purchased a very nicely fitting v-neck linen tee from Boden, and it looked like the world's simplest design, so I figured I could do the old "lay the tee in half and trace around it" trick.  It worked, and the top really does have a similar fit and feel to the linen one (though the ponte makes it a bit more structured).


I added a 3/8 inch seam by using my (very handy) seam ruler.  I highly recommend one of these if you ever plan to draft your own patterns, or if you use some of the European magazines (like Ottobre or Burda) where the seam allowances are not included.


Here are some detail shots of the pieces...on the left side, top to bottom, I've shown the neckline detail of the top, the button detail of the back waistband (the Selene calls for a lapped zip and a hook closure--I went invisible zip and a button instead), and the pocket of the Selene.

Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Coat, Top, Shorts, Tee, Dress, Pants, Sweater, and Skirt.

Here is my packing for the trip.  It is central coast California, so I have to add a light jacket and a sweater (cold cold nights!).  I also am including a pair of black pants for travel, a pair of shorts, and a tee.  I will wear the sandals (not photographed) for the more casual outings, but will wear the closed toe shoes (not photographed) for travel and at the Confirmation.


This is how I wore the top with a skirt to church yesterday.  I love both pieces so much.  I am so excited to have two nicely fitted, travel-friendly pieces to bring with me to California next week.

Okay, that's it for a bit.  I hope you all are experimenting with your skirts this month!




Share your me-made skirts thru May 31st and be entered to win a $50 gift certificate to Fabric Mart! Share on Facebook or Instagram using #sewcoolskirts. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Skirt Challenge Inspiration: Drawstring Maxi Skirt with Pockets


I love maxi-skirts!  They let you really show off a beautiful fabric.  Although there are lots of patterns available for maxi-skirts, you'll notice that many do not have pockets.  I don't know why that is, as pockets are so essential!  When I got my March issue of Burda Style magazine, I couldn't help but notice this skirt in the plus section:


The line drawing showed that it was a simple design but with a few features that I find desirable: pockets, a combination drawstring and elastic waist, and long side slits.  I find that a combining a drawstring with elastic helps you to cinch the waist to just the right snugness.  And side slits help you to move freely and provide extra ventilation on warm days.  So, even though these are small details, they can really make the difference between whether you end up wearing an item or not!


I made this pattern three times out of different fabrics- one ITY knit, one rayon gauze, and one french terry knit.  My first one was this ITY knit in a tropical leaf pattern that I got in one of the pre-cut fabric selections.  My first piece from this fabric is here.  I think that large prints are great for maxi-skirts.  This skirt version is the dressiest one of the three that I made, and I can definitely wear it to work.  


When making it, I discovered that the slit was really high!  I moved it down about 4", so the slit would only go to my knee level, not thigh level.



My next version was out of this Kaleidoscope Blocks French Terry.
French terry is much thicker and more like a sweatshirt fabric, so I wasn't sure if it would have the appropriate drape for a long skirt like this, but I decided to try it anyway.


I centered the blocks and matched the dark stripes at the sides.  It's really comfortable, and great for a cool summer night, as the french terry is much warmer than the ITY knit.


My last version of this skirt, and probably my favorite of the three is made from a striped rayon crinkled gauze (sorry it is sold out!).

This one was also the most challenging as the crinkled gauze tended to stretch out of shape very easily.  That made matching the stripes at the side seams particularly challenging!



To stabilize the pockets so that they wouldn't stretch and grow,  I stitched 1/4" wide twill tape into the pocket seams by feeding it along the seamline when serging.


So, the pocket ends up looking like this picture below.  Now, even if I put my phone in my pocket, it won't stretch out of shape.


The waistband is a separate piece, which at first I thought was not necessary, but then I realized, that is how to create the opening for the drawstring.  Sew the short ends together, leaving an opening at the front, like this:

Then, after attaching it to the skirt, feed both the elastic and drawstring through this hole, eliminating any need for a buttonhole or eyelet opening.


Do you know what they call the little ends of shoelaces that keep the cord from fraying?  They are called "aglets".  You can purchase these on Ebay or Etsy, but a quick little way to make your own is to just wrap a short piece of scotch tape around the ends. After wrapping it a few times, just cut the homemade aglet to whatever length you would like!


I'm pretty sure that this won't be the last skirt that I make from this pattern- it goes together so quickly, and can be made out of woven or knit fabrics.  It does take quite a bit of fabric though- I would allow 2-1/2 to 3 yards per skirt.


These photos are all taken in my garden- which is my other obsession, especially this time of year!  I love flowers, flower arranging, and just getting some fresh air after a long winter. 

Have a great Spring and enjoy the Skirt Challenge!

Ann 
SewBaby News


Share your me-made skirts thru May 31st and be entered to win a $50 gift certificate to Fabric Mart! Share on Facebook or Instagram using #sewcoolskirts. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Skirt Challenge Inspiration: Pamela's Deconstructed Pencil Skirt

My name is Pamela Leggett, and I am the owner of Pamela’s Patterns, a pattern company based on teaching women how to create great fitting basic garments that flatter their “fluff and scallops”.  Check out www.pamelaspatterns.com for helpful YouTube tutorials, patterns and supplies.  And if you  need some help with your knit sewing techniques, get my Craftsy class, Fashion Sewing & Serging Techniques (order from my website and get 50% off!).


A great fitting pattern, flattering angles, a bit of fringe and some cool stretch denim is all you’ll need to get this deconstructed look.  While this technique could have been done on any skirt style, I chose the pencil skirt for its versatility.  I wear this style skirt in the summer instead of shorts or capris (neither of which are flattering on me anymore!), and it looks equally good in the fall/winter with tights and a pair of cool short boots.


I used Pamela’s Patterns #109 Magic Pencil Skirt and a beautiful purple stretch denim from Fabric Mart. It isn't available anymore, but HERE are some other denims that would work well. 

Get the Pattern Ready
Trace two pattern pieces from your pattern, and tape them together at the center front to create a full front pattern piece.

Use a quilting ruler to create 45-degree angle lines on the pattern.  Think about where the lines are placed; I made my lines just above and below the widest part of my hips, a little off center, and extending into the hem.  This placement is pretty flattering to most figures.



Cut the pattern apart on these lines, and add ½” seam allowances.  I used Perfect Pattern Paper from Palmer/Pletsch to add the seam allowances, it has fraction lines printed right on it!



Test and Cut the Denim
The Magic Pencil Skirt Pattern features a smooth elastic waist finishing, so you will need a stretch denim if you are using this pattern.  If you make this from a non-stretch denim, you will need to add a zipper.  

Denim is most often the combination of two colors of fiber – one color fiber in the crosswise grain, and another color in the lengthwise grain.  You’ll want to test the fabric to see which “fringe” color you want to feature.  Cut a square of the denim and pull the fibers on each edge to create the fringe.  Make a note as to which grain has the desired effect.


Mark the pattern carefully to ensure that you know which grainline has the desired fringe look, and where the appropriate angle line of the pattern needs to be placed on the fabric grain.  The angle line that will be fringed will be laid on the crosswise or lengthwise grain, making the side and waist/hem edges on the bias.  Double check your layout, this is the part that needs concentration!  TIP:  Do this part before a glass of wine!



Construct the Front
Draw ½” lines with a chalk marker onto each of the pieces where the angles have been cut.  You will be matching up these lines when putting it back together.
Serge or zig zag finish the edges that will be underlapped.  TIP:  Lay the pieces out in the desired placement and finish the underlapped edges one at a time.  It’s easy to get confused!


Overlap the first section on the ½” lines.  I found a very easy way to do this is to use Double Sided Fusible Stay Tape.  Cut the stay tape to a 3/8” width and fuse to the right side of the underlap edge.  Peel off the release paper, match up the ½” lines and press in place – no pinning needed!


Straight stitch two rows of stitching, about ¼” apart, just above and just below the marked line on the fabric.  I have a coverstitch machine, and used that to get both rows done at the same time – and I love the way it looks on the wrong side of the fabric!




Fringe the edge up to the first row of stitching.  Repeat for the final skirt section.


Now cut out the back of the skirt and construct per the pattern instructions.  This skirt takes less than an hour to make!




Pamela's Tips


- I felt like my fringe look too “uniformed”, so I snipped into the fringe and at angle every ½” or so. Then I roughed it up a bit with my hands. It is a subtle difference, but I liked it better!

- For fitting and construction help, check out my YouTube videos for the Magic Pencil Skirt at pamelaspatterns.com

- Be sure to check out my website for all the supplies mentioned in this lesson – Pattern Paper, Stay Tape and Fantastic Elastic to finish the waist.

~ Pamela from Pamela's Patterns


Share your me-made skirts thru May 31st and be entered to win a $50 gift certificate to Fabric Mart! Share on Facebook or Instagram using #sewcoolskirts. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Skirt Challenge Inspiration: Summer Maxi Skirt

Hi Fashionistas:

It's May and I decided to jump into the summer skirt challenge!

This is my very first time making a gathered maxi skirt. I chose this beautiful and summery print. The fabric is a chiffon.


This is my second time working with chiffon. The first time I failed miserably, so it has taken me a long time to pick this type of fabric up again! This time around I took an online class on working with sheers. I'll include that information for you and also some tips and tricks  I picked up to make this project a success.


If you saw my silk top, I mentioned some of the challenges I ran into. Since then, I took this online class on sewing with sheers and I was better prepared to deal with a sheer fabric. I do recommend taking this class if you want to take away some of the frustration of working with sheers.  

Here is the back and side view:


I used an invisible zipper on the center back. I was a bit worried about how fragile the chiffon is, but I doubled it up on the center back by folding the chiffon under. This gave me two layers of chiffon, which is more stable than one. I also have a full lining on the skirt, so the lining also added some stability. 


Here are some things I learned from this sewing project:
  • Never cut chiffon on the fold. Only cut one layer at a time!
  • Cut the fabric by placing it on top of paper. This stabilizes it and if the paper is a rectangle, you can use the edges of the paper to make sure your straight grain and cross grain are correctly aligned while cutting.
Here are some challenges I had with this project:
  • Keeping the fabric straight while cutting! It was challenging. 
  • My fabric around my zipper was a bit "ruffly". Luckily for me, the skirt is gathered, so the imperfection is hidden. 
The skirt hit floor length with heels on, which is how I plan to wear it. I paired it with a white tee. Here are some pictures of the garment construction:

I drafted a straight waistband using my waist measurement. I top stitched two rows on the top of the waistband.


The skirt is lined.  The lining is an A-line skirt instead of a gathered skirt to reduce bulk.  For the fashion fabric, I gathered it manually and attached it to the lining. Then attached the lining to the waistband.  So the entire piece is self-drafted/ free handed.


This is the fabric I used. I hope you enjoyed this project!  I will see you in the month of June! Are you participating in the skirt challenge!? If so, please post your skirts on Instagram using #sewcoolskirts!

See you soon!

XOXO
Vatsla at Fashion Behind The Seams


Share your me-made skirts thru May 31st and be entered to win a $50 gift certificate to Fabric Mart! Share on Facebook or Instagram using #sewcoolskirts. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Made by a Fabricista: Thakoon Bomber Jacket

For this month's post, I wanted to stretch myself a bit with a fabric I don't normally sew with.  I choose a really nice Thakoon Satin which sadly is sold out.  I can see why, it is just yummy and you can decide which side you want to use.  I had such a hard time making up my mind that I decided to incorporate both sides!

Here is the pattern I used: Our wonderful bomber features a zip front, panelled raglan sleeves, rib bands and pockets
This is the Bobbie Bomber jacket by StyleArc.  I thought the challenge of the pattern along with the challenge of the fabric would be the perfect combination.  




I love the black and silver combination of the fabric and did I mention that it you can use both sides of the fabric?



As you can see, I decided to use silver for accents to highlight all the work that went into the pattern!


Check out that cute little zippered pocket on the sleeve.  I could have used a silver or black zip, but I wanted to add some color so I choose lavender, which matches the zipper guard fabric and also my lining.  


The pocket is only on one sleeve.  


Satin isn't hard to sew.  In fact, it is rather easy.  


Have your hand sewing needles ready to do some hand basting, especially along any sort of zipper.

I decided to add some color along the front of the zipper as well.  The pattern has you use the main fabric as a zipper guard.  I decided to incorporate some additional color that matched my lining fabric.  And, the lining is also from Fabric Mart.  Zippers and ribbing are from my stash.



 I love that beautiful color on the inside!


Stretch your sewing skills this spring by picking up a designer fabric and a pattern that might be a challenge.  Take your time putting it together and then have fun with the results!

Thanks for reading!
Sue from Ilove2sew!