Tuesday, March 18

I sewed!

Sadly I'm not done yet so I don't have pictures to show you, but progress has been made.  It's been ages since I last sewed and I'd like to commemorate the event with a sewing room saga.

When my parents were in Florida, I had two pieces of corduroy shipped to them from Fabric Mart.  Sadly, I forgot to save the pictures from the web site and I haven't taken my own.  Mind you, black fabric doesn't photograph well anyhow.  So... piece #1 was black Ralph Lauren stretch pin wale corduroy and #2 is a dusky plum (hedging towards brown) very wide wale corduroy.  The reason pictures are moot is that they would not convey how soft both fabrics are.  I swear the dusky plum is like velvet in it's softness.  Both pieces are far better than the fabric I used for my grey skirt, the skirt that has me wanting another corduroy skirt.

I washed the fabric late last week.  I left it to finish the last drying over the railing in the upstairs hallway so it would be in my way, taunting me.  Sunday I had the whole day free.  I woke up and told myself I'm going to sew today.  And did I?  No, stupid Facebook games...

But the England/Germany trip is fast approaching (like two more sleeps approaching).  I thought of how much I want another somewhat casual skirt to wear.  So I did it.  I moved crap from my sewing room to the guest room, I chucked more stuff to clear off the cutting table.  And I was decisive and I cut.

A pencil skirt is pretty basic.  I have made a few skirts and didn't see an issue.  But then I started looking, I've mostly made A-line skirts, or patterns for stretchy fabrics (my mom loved Stretch n Sew patterns), or for a size 10 that would need grading even from the grading I did when I made it before, I couldn't actually find a pattern that was... perfect.  I have a UFO for the pencil skirt for Butterick 5147 but something went wrong at the zipper.  It's horribly warped and yes, I probably need to put some interfacing to stabilize it, but I think part of the problem is that my hip is not the right distance from my waist making it bunch up too high.  It was not the pencil skirt of my dreams.

Somehow, I thought it would be easier to work from a combination of a) measurements, b) the Lekala back skirt piece (no idea where the front piece is) and c) the front DRESS piece for Lekala 5432 just guessing where to put the waist based on the curve of the hip.  I've made Lekala 5432 many times, first as linked above for a wedding with satin and swiss dot, then again in a knit, then again looser in a light rayon.  Lekala has no seam allowances, but I also needed to add width.  The pencil skirt was 3" smaller than my measurements (with no ease),  I know that the dress I wore to the wedding that is the same size as the pieces is too snug at the moment and I used every bit of seam allowance, so it needed a little width too.  Added to this, I had the back pattern piece but no instructions (although it's no real loss, Lekala directions are well, worse than Burda), so I opened up another pattern to borrow the directions.  And yet, I chose to frankenpattern it up because the shape is right.  Mr. Lina loves that dress because he thinks it makes my ass look good.  I trust his judgement on something I can't see well myself.  I added the requisite inches (roughly) and cut away.

At that point, I became my usual terrified self.  What if it's too small?  I knew I wanted either lining or underlining, I've found tights get caught on my grey cord skirt. So I used the already cut corduroy as my pattern and cut out some Bemberg lining.  I sewed it up with the laziest (crappiest) French seams EVER, and pulled it on with lots of room.  Lots.

For my grey skirt, I finished the seams by zigzagging and while it works and it's fine now, there was a phase of finding loose threads everywhere until it essentially shredded back to the stitches.  While I was trying to find pattern pieces, I came across my shoe box of satin bias tape and I thought that would be lovely on the inside.  So now it's sort of a Hong Kong finish with ivory satin bias tape.  But in my slapdash mood, I just folded the tape over and sewed it up rather than two passes to sew it on like proper bias tape.  The plum stitching looks pretty on the ivory satin bias tape.

As I was about to figure out the zipper situation, Mr. Lina came up to bed.  A sure sign it's time to stop sewing.  I really didn't want to sleep with thoughts of how it could be big like the lining or too small.  In attaching the bias tape, I was also having second thoughts because the seam allowances were going to HAVE to be wider than the bias tape (and thus wider than my crappy French seams).  And the corduroy is a lot thicker than lining, there will be turn of cloth kind of issues, I used the cut cord pieces for my lining patters so the lining is naturally a little bigger... maybe it wouldn't fit...

So I set the longest stitches and sewed up the sides.  The zipper isn't done so I can't speak to the true fit, but it's going to be just fine.  It's not crazy potato sack big, it went over my hips and it's not obvious where my thighs end so I won't be crying as I give it away or wait for 10lbs to magically disappear...  it's going to fit.  I can't speak to the fit at the waist, I haven't sewn the front darts nor the zipper, but if there is a little extra room there I might add a little elastic to pull it in rather than using darts to remove it.  A little pretzel and schnitzel room so to speak.

I am going to wear it in Germany after all.


  1. Yay for sewing! I feel ya on the stress of fitting--I've struggled with that recently too. And I never have the patience to pull out the tape to measure the pattern pieces before I get all cut happy...but I'm going to have to break that bad boy out at some point in the near future. Anyway, can't wait to see you model the skirt! I mean, if hubby says your ass looks good in it, it's definitely worth blogging! ;-)

    1. I have bowling tonight so I'm hoping to finish it up on Wednesday night. Pictures might have to wait until I return for posting but... given how much Mr. Lina likes taking pictures of me, I'm sure there will be something.

  2. Oh isn't it wonderful to come back to sewing after a break? I'm thrilled for you. ANd I laughed when you said you had fabric shipped to your parents on their Florida holiday. I do that with my sister and brothers all the time. I am so glad I am not the only one. Have a great trip.

    1. I really can't justify the shipping costs to Canada for the most part. I find myself shopping online just because I can when they are in Florida, not because I need anything. It feels like an oddly wasted opportunity if I don't!


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