Sunday, August 15, 2010

I promise, no more of this coral fabric after this!

I'd like to thank everyone on their input in my last post on how to finish this petal skirt this past weekend. I opted to sew it up plain for now, and then add the small peach coloured lace later if I decided to.

As yet, I'm still undecided. I think I'll live with it for now, and see how it looks when worn with my various tops and jackets. While mono-coloured, it still has more detail than I'm used to in a skirt, and I want to make sure it's not too busy to go with all the patterned tops I like to wear.

For now, I'd like to share the construction process for this skirt, particularly since it's drafted to hit mid-thigh, and I much prefer knee-length. It was a more involved process than normal because of all those curved pieces (there were 4 uniquely curved pieces to cut out individually).

Although hindsight is 20/20. It probably would've been easier to alter the actual pattern than the process I took, but where's the fun in that?

I knew I wanted to add 2.5 inches length to the skirt. I started with one of the back pieces that line up on the fold since I knew it'd be easier to work out the process on it (there's two of these pieces, in two separate lengths for each petal layer).

I pinned the pattern piece down enough to keep it from shifting around, and pinned it well along the bottom before cutting along this edge.

To mark where the skirt bottom finished, I just snipped along the side-seam about 1 cm.

Instead of cutting the side-seam or top, I marked a point 2.5 inches above the top of the skirt along the folded edge and moved the pattern piece up to that point. My reasoning for this was to add the desired length without messing with the pattern markings. Like I said, probably easier to slash and add to the pattern, but those curved pieces were tricky and I wasn't sure where to slash them.

Then it was just a matter of moving the pattern up to the mark and re-pinning it down, this time concentrating along the top and the side-seam. Because the skirt is flared a bit, if you continued the side-seam down to where we snipped it, they don't line up. I just shifted the side-seam edge over until it lined up with the snip mark. In this case, I wanted a straight skirt and there's not a lot of flared drafted into this skirt to begin with, so I wasn't concerned about losing about a half inch of width. However, this could be be a bigger issue if attempted with a more flared skirt. It might be better to cut or mark the bottom edge of the skirt on the fabric, then extend the side-seam as far as it needs to go with the added length.

Once the pattern was shifted up 2.5 inches, I just cut it out the rest of the way.

The process was similar with the curved pieces, just a bit more tricky. Not wanting to lose the effect of the curved petal parts of the skirt, I opted to cut along the curve up to a point 5 inches below the waist at the centre line on all 4 pieces. Then once I shifted the pattern up 2.5 inches, I just finished cutting that line.

I didn't even bother keeping track of how long this all took. But it did work out well, and I got the length I wanted without sacrificing the original drafted pattern!

Once everything was cut out, two of the curved pieces were sewn to the back piece to make what looks like two short wrap skirts. Or two fabric canoes.

Hello pinning nightmare.

Although I'm quite proud of my pinned curves. I think they turned out quite nice.

Then it was only a matter of layering and basting these two skirts together before attaching the casing for the elastic waist band.

I'm not a fan of how they had you attach the waistband. It was done by folding the waistband in half wrong sides together (after sewing up the side seams), laying the outer part of the waistband against the right side of the skirt, and sewing through the waistband and skirt raw edges. While I can see why you'd want to avoid having all this bulk inside the waistband when you still need to put the elastic in, my new found goal to keep the inside of garments as pretty as the outside chaffed at this. So I sewed some bias tape over this seam.

Let me tell you, attaching 1/4 inch bias tape to a seam that has anywhere from 4 to 6 layers of fabric in it is difficult!

I wore this out today for a test drive, and managed to work out a few kinks in the design. First off, my mistake, the elastic is too long so the skirt kind of floats around a bit. Not a problem, I can fix that easily.

Less easy is the fact that the fabric sticks to itself a bit, so those layers of petals don't sit flat, but tends to bunch up a bit. Not too bad, but I found myself fiddling with it all day. I'd recommend using a less piled fabric, something that doesn't stick to itself so easily.

The last problem isn't actually my fault at all, and is a design issue. Um, I found out the hard way that when a moderate to strong wind hits you in just the right direction, like Moses parting the water, the petals kind And then there's a bunch of flailing and grasping of the skirt to preserve your modesty.

It was a Marilyn Monroe moment, only more parting and less up. But maybe just as much sexy. ;)

Although I think I probably even had this expression on my face, too.

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