Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rachel Skirt Complete

Everything that could go wrong did go wrong when I made this skirt.

First, I had trouble figuring out the pockets. Then I sewed the back side seams together and put the zipper in there, with contrast edgestitching and topstitching before I realised my mistake.

Then, when I finally put the zipper in the right seam, I cut off the top of the zipper and lost the tab, had to rip all the stitching out and insert a new zipper!

I was beginning to think that I had lost my ability to sew altogether. But the positive side of this project was that I had to take in the side seams at the waist and put darts in both front and back to make it fit. I had originally taken the darts out and added to the waist side seam, but it was not required after all. That was a pleasant surprise.

As other people have found out, this skirt is very short. I had added 6" to the length and this ends up at the knee for me. Double-stitched hem completed the skirt this afternoon.

This is a nice pattern, I will definitely make it again. I think a lining would be a very good idea, because the pocket bags feel weird against the front of your thighs. One is used to pockets being in side seams or being stitched down, not hanging loose on top of one's legs. A lining would eliminate that feature.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Vogue 1247 in denim

Working on Vogue 1247, the "Rachel skirt" as it is called. I decided to eliminate the waist darts on both front and back since I don't have any waist shaping - why use darts? this alters the waist of the pattern to fit me better and means I don't have to add so much at the side seams.

I also quit the idea of binding all the raw edges in favour of simple serging, as I plan on top-stitching most seams to make this look more like a denim skirt.

This is the front of the skirt. I stopped and started the top-stitching at the pockets and tied in the thread tails by hand. No back-stitching with this.

And the skirt back is stitched together, top-stitched and is ready for zipper-insertion. The pattern calls for an invisible zipper, which are hard to find in the right lengths and colours in this town, plus I prefer a regular zipper as I plan on top-stitching that as well.

I found the pocket instructions very confusing. I think they are missing a diagram there, the one that shows what to do with the pockets after they tell you to understitch them. There should be a diagram showing the pockets pressed up away from the skirt bottom and then you would see where you are supposed to stitch yoke to bottom, without catching the pockets in that seam. I felt like a real dolt trying to figure this out and finally just laid it out as it would be finished, in order to see what steps to take to get there. It is critical to stitch that seam well, or you might end up with lots of bulk at the pocket edges.

Update: I remember reading somewhere not to assume that, just because you made a mistake once, you won't do it again. I laughed then but I didn't laugh today. I can't believe that I inserted the zipper completely wrong. Rather than putting the center back seams together, I sewed the back together at the side seams, then inserted the zipper into that seam, and edge-stitched and top-stitched everything, only to discover that I was then trying to join the center backs to the front side seams. Those pesky notches showed me I was all wrong! I also recall Sandra Betzina saying that if you notice someone in a sewing class trying to put a sleeve into a neckline, gently suggest that they might prefer a cooking class. I often feel I should heed that advice myself.

Grrrr..... unpicking is now done, I will take this up tomorrow as I can't risk another stupid mistake today.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Not Inactive, Just Quiet

I haven't been doing much sewing over the past couple of weeks. Lots of other things to do, plus hubby returned from working away, and good weather makes me want to be outside rather than inside sewing.

I did, however, finish a jacket that I made last year. I found it in the closet, with just the sleeve hems to be finished. This is McCalls 5396, an out-of-print pattern from Pati Palmer that is still available on her website at

I particularly like back details on garments and this unlined jacket is gathered on the inside back waist with three rows of 1/4" elastic and then a belt is sewn over that on the outside. The jacket has a back yoke, another feature that I like, and I made this in a cotton/linen blend - which has to be my favourite fabric. It is lovely to sew, just like linen, but it doesn't crease like linen.
I think this qualifies as jacket #6, although I am no longer pushing to make 12 jackets before the end of 2011. A nice idea, but I haven't even worn the ones I have made so far, so it seems a bit frivolous at this point.

The plans for the grey/white linen blend changed from Simplicity 2938 to Burda 8511. I am sure this is also out-of-print, but since I can't seem to find my way around the Burda website, I am not going to try and find it here. You can see it (sort of) in the photo with the dress partially complete. I have lined the dress and will finish it soon. But I have to confess I lost interest as our weather has changed and the occasion to wear a sleeveless dress isn't presenting itself now. I shortened the dress to knee length and have lined it with rayon lining so that it will hang better. I find that even cotton dresses wear much better with a lining inserted and it eliminates the need to find a slip to wear.

I have another project lined up that I think I am going to really enjoy. It is Vogue 1247, the "Rachel skirt" - inspired by Carolyn's rendition. I have a medium weight blue denim that has just been through a hot water wash and dry twice and I will alter the pattern when I finish the grey dress. Must finish projects, must finish projects, must finish projects - even if I don't wear them right away.

I looked over the pattern instructions the other day when I bought it and was surprised to see that all the inside seams are bound with bias from lining fabric. I will use a soft cotton shirting rather than lining for the bias, and I will enjoy seeing the diagonal stripes whenever I put the skirt on. I also like the blouse in this pattern, although I think it would have to be snugged up closer to the neck for my use. You can wear something like this when you are 20-ish or 30-ish, but I think I would feel quite uncomfortable wearing something as floppy as this.