Friday, May 4, 2012

Cardinal Sin

I should know better. Seriously. I mean, I've been sewing for so long that I should remember that I always need to double-check patterns before I make the actual garment. I mean, it's not hard to make a muslin, right? But I was excited about finally taking time to sew for myself and jumped in feet-first.

So, Colette Patterns Beignet skirt, red wool (a gift from my husband at Christmas) and some diamond-patterned red and grey-blue silk that I dug out of my stash and I was convinced that I'd have a beautiful skirt. I had it all in my head, especially after the button fiasco. How can buttons be a fiasco? Well, apparently finding a dozen buttons at the local JoAnn's is too much to ask. And I dug through my stash of vintage buttons, only to be immediately reminded that I stupidly used a majority of the red ones in a crafty project about 2 decades ago. Which sucks because I had these beautiful red glass buttons that would have been perfect.... but I digress. Anyway, no red buttons here and not enough at JoAnn's, so I resorted to buying some very cool-looking black buttons that have a decidedly Deco vibe to them.

Now that I had all my components I was set and had decided that I needed this to be what I wore for my birthday. And at that point I only had 2 weeks to make it which, while it sounds like plenty of time, is not really enough when I factor in the demands of my family - particularly since everyone got sick right around this time. I'm blaming the not making a muslin on this, since I felt pressed for time, but in reality I was just not thinking.

So I got everything cut out and missed my birthday deadline completely. But I still wanted to finish it while it's still cool enough to wear wool, so I charged ahead. In the process of sewing the skirt - which is always easy with Colette patterns - I found that the fabric I was working with was simply too bulky to press the seams to the side, rather than press them open, particularly at the top edge when joining the skirt body to the facings/lining. I know that some people think that it weakens the seams, but I highly recommend pressing the seams open when using thick fabric.

After attaching the skirt to the lining/facings I tried it on and looked in the mirror and instantly saw the problem - aside from needing to take in the seams a bit all the way around, I realized that the pockets were too low and therefore stuck out like wings from my thighs. Not an attractive look, I assure you. I should have taken the time to shorten the pattern properly prior to cutting out. Consequently it was also too long. Shortening it wasn't going to help this problem at all. So I put it aside to think about how to fix it. I don't want this to end up in the ufo pile. So what to do? I made a muslin, post-haste.

Since I didn't necessarily think that this would be a wearable muslin, I just dug around in my stash and found some navy and white gingham made from some mystery fiber (probably a poly blend of some kind) and some cheap polyester lining in a very pale grey. I didn't even bother to use thread that matched the lining - I just changed the needle to a smaller size and used the same navy thread I was using for the gingham. Also, I eliminated the pockets, since I didn't think this was something that would go into my wardrobe. I ended up shortening the skirt at the line marked on the pattern roughly 2 1/4". Then I sewed the skirt shell and tried it on. It needed taking in all around, so I resewed the seams 1/8" further in. Yes, this means that the seams got taken in 1/4" at each seam, for a total of 1 1/2" . That may seem like a lot but it helped a lot with the shape. In fact, the shape is so good in the back that when I finished the main construction and tried it on again (no buttons or hem yet) my husband commented that it made my bum look good. That, folks, makes it a winner.

So now it needed buttons. A quick search through my stash of blue buttons (yes, I have them sorted in canning jars by color) told me that I didn't have enough in the right size and in the right quantity. A brief stop at JoAnn's revealed a severe shortage of navy buttons so I took what I could get. But I did mention it to the manager - 2 cards of each button type is not adequate for most people. She agreed and said that she was trying to convince her boss that she needed more stock. I felt lucky to walk out of there with 12 of the same button in the right color. So now, the finished product:

It turns out that this is sort of wearable. And I like it. In fact, I like it so much that I decided I had to make a Jasmine blouse in navy lawn with a white tie and cuffs. Yes, the gingham is a little wonky in places but it's not really that bad. The hem was a beast to finish and get right - the gingham really fools the eye. And I hemmed it with a blind catch-stitch, which is easy to do and easy to mess up if you're not careful.

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