Archive for February 2007


Catching up…

I need to find those bodice pattern and skirt prototype images I promised. They’re somewhere on my other computer, and I’m way too comfortable to get up and search for them right now.

But I do have some new images of a tiered skirt I made somewhat recently. This pattern was drafted from some instructions in an issue of Threads magazine. Although it was supposed to be one of those “make it in two hours!!!” patterns, it took me much, much longer than two hours to make the first one. And so far I put at least two hours into the second one as well. I admit, I like finishing things off nice and neat, and I’m sure it would have saved me some time not to serge the seams and finish the waist and hem, but I like making the finished details. It still would’ve taken me over two hours, even without those finishing touches.

The skirt pattern consists of four rectangles, each based on the widest measurement below the waist. For me this is right at my thighs — I’m kind of oddly shaped. There’s lots of gathering involved for each tier of the skirt — the biggest challenge was getting the gathers distributed evenly.

So without further ado, the pictures!

Me in the fish skirt.

The material I used on this one was a cotton batik. It wasn’t particularly difficult to work with, but I did have to draft a special version of the pattern because of the material. The width was 45″ rather than 60″, and I wanted the fish to be oriented horizontally. Since this would not allow for the bottom tier to be cut out in two pieces (one for the front, one for the back), I had to divide it up. I didn’t want the seam to be right in the front, so I divided the front and back into thirds and added the necessary seams. Plus, I had to add special notches in the third tier in order to line up the fourth tier properly.

Although, like I mentioned before, the instructions called for unfinished seams (and waist, and hem), I finished all inner seams with the serger. I also finished the hem and waist with no raw edges. The only issue I ran into by doing this was that I didn’t allow for a wide enough waist casing and ended up using a narrower elastic. This doesn’t stay up as well as the wider elastic would.

Here are some details on the inside of the skirt:

Inner construction

I have material for two more of these skirts, and I’ve started on the second one. For this one, I drafted a new fourth tier, since the material is 60″ and I can cut the tier in two pieces.

The second skirt material is this beautiful mauve washable satin. I’ve never worked with any sort of satin before, so I can’t say how similar this is to “regular” satin. But it’s very tricky to work with. For one thing, it seems to snag easily — there are spots that look almost like runs. I think these must have gotten scratched by the pins or something. Another tricky feature is that the fabric is much more flexible than the cotton batik — it distorts much more easily. I also noticed, when sewing a test scrap, that when I put any stress on the seam that it will nearly pull apart on its own. I’m not sure how to deal with this type of thing — I haven’t worked with unstable (or somewhat unstable) fabric before. The good news is that there won’t be any stress on these seams — it’s a loose fitting skirt.

I did have to work with my serger to come up with a decent setting for this fabric. Because of its instability, it likes to get scalloped edges. I raised the differential feed setting, which seems to help (except at the end of the seam), and I also had to loosen the needle tension to avoid puckers.

I haven’t gotten much further than cutting out the pieces on this one, but I have a picture of the fabric. My little camera won’t take a picture that will do this fabric justice, but this will give you somewhat of an idea:

Mauve skirt material

I don’t know how well this fabric will hold up, since just pinning and cutting seemed to cause problems, but it’s so pretty I hope it won’t get destroyed after two wearings.

Anyway, I’ll see if I can find those other images I meant to post…