Friday, February 28, 2014

Take a Twirl Skirt - Vogue 2747

Pattern: Vogue 2747 c. 1991

Pattern Description: An above mid-knee flared skirt with lined yokes, side front and side back seams, and back zipper. Skirt length is around 20-22". Design by DKNY.*

Pattern Sizing: Sizes 14-16-18. I made a size 16.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing it? Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very much.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love that it is a lovely flared skirt in a substantial weight and perfect for black boots or heeled oxfords. The corset-like shape of the waist yoke is a great detail.

Fabric Used: 1 -5/8 yards of red brushed twill (former Nautica buttoned tab curtains from Target), 12" (cut down to 9") red zipper from stash, Pellon Shape-Flex (SF-101) woven fusible interfacing, stash fabric for lining, hooks and eyes.

Before Construction: First thing, first, I cut and ripped the drapery panels to make sure the fabric was on grain. I did this on all four sides. I decided to keep the tabs in case I might want to have belt loops on the final skirt. I removed all the buttons from the tops of the panels, 32 in all (16 marbleized one with Nautica written on the "right" side but unmarked on the reverse and 16 clear backing ones for stability) Because these drapes had been up in my apartment for years, months at a time, there was a lot of visible sun fading on the sides facing out. Before I cut the pieces, I had to make sure that the front of the panels used were not affected.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made? I was going to cut the skirt longer, but after measuring the skirts in my closet, I realized the 21" finished length should be perfect.

The inside yoke before attaching the lining.

After stitching together the seven pieces for the waist yoke and attaching them to the skirt I was able to wrap the project around my waist. No final garment measurements were provided for this skirt, so there was no knowing how much ease was included. To adjust the width, I decided to cut 1/4" from the back seam allowances, effectively eliminating 1/2" from the skirt circumference before sewing in the zipper.

I fused the woven interfacing to the skirt yoke pieces. This was the first time I've used this type and I really like it, if gives a nice stiffness to the fabric and it fused extremely easily and adhered well.

Nearly invisible, right?
After basting on the zipper by hand I decided I liked the minimal look and used a tiny prickstitch, so this is as close as I get to an invisible zipper. Pretty good, right?

It was time to attach the lining. For this skirt, only the yoke is lined so I attached the yoke lining pieces at the top and then folding the edges under I slipstitched the lining over the waist seam and to the zipper tape.

Finishing the skirt; at least for all my skirts, means a hand stitched hem. I prefer handsewing to an obvious stitched line around a skirt. A great tip that I can offer is to use your sewing machine as a hem guide. For a 1-1/2" hem, sew a basting stitch around the hem at the 1/2" mark, this will be the first fold. The stitching gives you the perfect "straight" edge and does half the job for you. Now, you can use a combination of finger pressure on the fold line and steam from an iron to press the fold and shrink out the excess fullness. I find it more enjoyable than using a ruler, a hot iron, and vulnerable fingers to slowly press around a huge circle, measuring all along the way. This way, I just remove the basting threads afterwards. Easy peasy.

Excuse the extra line, which I just ignored.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I would. This was meant as a quick project with minimal fitting needed and that's what it turned out to be.

Modern knit skirt from Zara with a similar shape.

Conclusion: I love it, a nice swingy red skirt. Funny thing is that I now own four solid red pieces in very similar shades, but different enough that none can be worn together.

*This pattern was secured free during the VA/DC/MD blogger swap!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

2.15.2014 - Sewing Update

Here is what is going on in my sewing life:

Mini-clutch mockup

  • Currently working on the Hot Patterns/ Crepe Suzette Clutch pattern (whew! what a name!) Because of errors in the instructions I chose to make a quarter-scale mock up of it first and will work on the real thing today.
  • Today, I am cutting out a muslin of New Look 6145, the shift dress from last post, in a similar silky and shifty polyester to test out the basic pattern before I start adapting it.
Simplicity 5289 from 1972.

  • This past week, I tried on my quick muslin of Simplicity 5289 that I had put together before I moved. I found the armhole to hang too low on the raglan sleeve and am looking in my books and on the web to find a solution. I believe it has something to do with changing the armhole curve in order to reduce length but I would love to see that in writing. Any sources you can direct me to?

  • Once these other projects are done, I will be moving directly onto the Built By Wendy Sew U jeans pattern, bypassing the Colette Clovers*. Instead of mucking around with the paper pattern first, I'm using one of the fabrics I bought for the Clovers, a Fabric Mart stretch poplin, to make a quick and dirty mockup without any alterations. I will be following along with SallieOh's posts on her version of this pattern for inspiration.
*The muslin was problematic and not worth the trouble.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Seeking the Sublime Shift

Michelle Dockery in silk Miu Miu at the Venice Film Festival 2013.

These are the desired features for my ideal shift dress pattern:
    • boat-neck or shallow scoop
    • one piece, subtle flare
    • button closure, if any, eliminating the need for a zip
    • center back seam for shaping
    • full, ¾, or half length sleeves with some kind of wrist treatment, placket or gathering
    • long for possible belting or just above knee
New Look 6145 is the pattern I will use and possibly adapt to create my dress. shows great reviews.

Here is the fabric for the very first one, a silky (but maybe too shiny) polyester gained from that wonderful DC, VA, MD swap. I'm not sure if it has enough body for what I have in mind. But luckily, no pattern matching can possibly be expected, right?

Here are a few examples I admire:

Clockwise from top left: Lobelia, Christine Phung, and J. Crew

So, are there any design options I should take advantage of like gathers at the yoke similar to the Miu Miu, gathered bishop sleeves (see both below), or the straight 3/4 sleeves of the pattern? Should I make it easy on myself* or shake it up a little?

Eileen Fisher shift dress with neckline, shoulder, and cuff details.

*Why start now, you ask?!