More Progress. And Now, Clothes!

So much sewing this weekend that I can’t fit it all into one post! Pics coming Monday.

As I said, I received my copy of Sew What! Skirts, and I was really excited to make my very first piece of clothing. Unfortunately, the result was less impressive than I’d thought. I made two big mistakes and one mistake-on-purpose. The “mistake” I made on purpose was to use less-than-ideal fabric for the skirt. It was $2/yard quilting fabric I bought at JoAnn Fabrics. I knew it might not drape quite the way I wanted, but I also didn’t want to make my first skirt with expensive fabric. And it didn’t drape well and was very unforgiving. More on that later.

My first real mistake was to choose an elastic-waist A-line skirt to make. As it turns out, I don’t like A-line skirts. I should have made a straight skirt, and I really should have done a zipper instead of an elastic waist. I followed the instructions in the book for cutting out the right dimensions. With the elastic-waist A-line, you’re supposed to go on your hip measurement rather than the waist measurement (so you can pull it on). My my hips are ten inches bigger than my waist, which may have been fine on its own, but I added ease and seam allowance, and the result was WAY too big. I really shouldn’t have added any ease at all. The second big mistake was this: overestimating dimensions everywhere.

I thought I was being smart and adding in-seam pockets, but the book didn’t give any instructions for them. I did figure them out, but I cut the pockets way too small. And it took me several attempts before I finally figured out how they attached on the seam, ruining the first pocket in the attempt. I ended up just putting in one pocket that was really too small to be functional.

Pocket
In-seam pocket too small for a human hand.

Once I had the side seams sewed up, I did try on the skirt, and I knew then that the waist was ridiculously big, but I figured that was how it was supposed to be and that the elastic would fix it. Threading the elastic in the casing was surprisingly easy, but again I should have been more conservative in my measurement. The final product was enormous. The A-line shape didn’t help, and while the waist could stay up, it was really, really loose.

A-line skirt

Bandit thinks it's too big too.

I thought about making the skirt shorter, which would help cut off some of the bulk of the A-line, but it would still be too big. Instead, I made new side seams in more of a straight skirt shape. Of course, I lost my remaining pocket with the new seams, but it didn’t really work anyway. The result is something that looks skirt-like and comes closer to fitting. However, the waist is still too big, and really, so is the skirt. And because the fabric doesn’t drape well, you can see a weird poof on the left side where my seam must not have followed my body very well.

Skirt

Slightly better but not great.

It was a disappointing start to clothing making, but I got practice doing waists and hems, and I now know how to do in-seam pockets. And I know to always make things smaller than I initially think.

Paper Bag Skirt

Love it! And it *looks* easy...

I will make another skirt soon, although I think instead of one from the book, I might try this easy paper bag skirt from Adventures in Dressmaking. So cute! And I have the bottom of a too-long curtain that would be perfect for it!

I was on a sewing kick, so I whipped up a little bag, based on the makeup bag tutorial from Flossie Teacakes. I changed the dimensions to make a long, skinny bag, in part because I wanted to make use of a 4″ zipper I had.

pouch

Zippered pouch for useless thread.

The result is cute and perfect for holding the spools of thread that are too small to use with the machine. Since I don’t do a lot of hand sewing, they just get in the way, and now they’re safely out of the way. However, I wasn’t totally pleased with the covered zipper ends, and I realized that I hadn’t top-stitched around the zipper.

Pouch

Zippered pouch of zippers. Meta!

So I gave it another try, this time making a much bigger patch, using a 12″ zipper instead. It worked much better, and I like the top-stitching around the zipper. However, I still don’t like the covered zipper ends. I think I’m doing something wrong, but I’m not entirely sure what. The bag worked well to take sewing notions with me to class today, and I’ll be using it to store all of my zippers (speaking of which, I think I need more). I find it meta to keep zippers in a zippered pouch. Oddly, though, the lining seems to be unraveling. I don’t know if I forgot to backstitch, or if it’s tied something to the covered zipper ends.

Tomorrow (or soon), reviews of my shirt class at the Needle Shop!

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2 responses to “More Progress. And Now, Clothes!

  1. Yay, pix! Now I can see what you mean. Cutting big is good – you can always make bigger seam allowances. Cutting too small can be dangerous.

    • Yeah, I suppose. The problem was that I cut big and then didn’t trust my instincts to alter as I went! Looking at the pics now, I suppose it doesn’t look terrible; it just felt enormous.

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