Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Made: Summer-y Maxi skirt (for the summer we're not having)

Maxi skirt: Front and back view

As always, sorry for the terrible photos. I think this is about the best spot inside the house for light and it's still not great. I went outside to try to take photos but first I was investigated at length by the neighbourhood cats, and then the small boy who lives next door came and heckled me, so this is the best I could do.

So, this skirt.  I have been planning this skirt FOREVER, but it only made sense to make it when summer was actually upon us (or, as much upon as the summer ever is in the British Isles). I bought a HUGE piece of this border print from eBay back in November 2012 and immediately went: maxi skirt! The fabric is about 115cm wide, with the border print running along the selvedge. By purest happenchance, I picked probably the prettiest bit of the border print (which changes all the way along) to make the skirt. It's incredibly light weight, probably a polyester georgette, and it snags and runs at the slightest provocation. According to the label that was printed on the fabric (which washed off) it was a "Sari length", which seems to mean 5.25m in length, and it was from India. I bought it on eBay for the princely sum of £7.50, including p&p, for the whole piece and I have half of it left.

To make the skirt I used this free tutorial/pattern-ish thing: Lorenna Buck Maxi Skirt. I don't really know how much of this is me just not wanting to really engage with her instructions, but I didn't really get on with her tutorial/pattern at all, and pretty much went off-piste immediately, which is why this is not a proper pattern review.

It didn't help that the pattern is not graded to my size, so I had to make a new waistband from the start. Then I wanted a wider waistband. Then I decided to use a waistband from a skirt I had made before that I liked, except I also ended up making THAT wider. And so on. In the end I basically ignored the tutorial except for a couple of ideas about the general construction, and I found I disagreed with a couple of things there (mainly the shape of the lining, which she draws without a bottom curve, but this looks uneven when you're wearing it -- I cut a curve into the fabric at a later stage). Still, unless it's your first ever skirt, I don't think you really need more than general pointers anyway, because at heart this is the simplest pair of layers imaginable: the top is a gathered dirndl skirt, the bottom layer is a simple A-line skirt.
Showing off the (wow, I need to press it) lining /o\

Making this was actually no pleasure at all. I'm not really sure why. I think some of it was keeping going when I really didn't feel like sewing. Some of it was, OK, remember the wedding outfit skirt? The one where I was all NEVER AGAIN to sewing with georgette because it's terrible? Yeah, apparently I have the memory of a goldfish, but I am ready to swear that ALL OVER AGAIN. The general horror of sewing georgette was compounded by slight new machine issues, in that I knew on my old machine what tension to sew georgette at to prevent puckering, but there was a little bit of trial and error (and unpicking) involved in working out the tension on the new machine, and it caused some irreperable problems on one the waistband pieces. Luckily, I'm unlikely to tuck my top in, but the waist band is really not great. Also not great: pretty much every other construction detail. I tried to do something clever with bias binding on the opening of the top layer (where you reach through to get to the zip, but, uh, no. So it's just a mess on the inside. The invisible zip is highly visible (but luckily hidden from view). The less said about the waistband overall the better. In general, it's best if everyone admires this skirt from a distance because it doesn't really bear any close scrutiny.

By the time I finished I actually hated the skirt and was all >:( over the whole thing. Normally looking at photos makes me hate things any more, especially if I have to "model" the item in question but weirdly, from the flaw-obscuring distance of the camera I find I really like how this looks! I thought it might be a hair short for a proper maxi and yes, it could maybe do with just a smidge more length -- 2cm at most -- but I didn't have enough fabric as I precut the 2.5m I thought I needed and left the remainder with the rest of my sewing gear in Cumbria. I could only have this much length if I was going to squeeze the waistband out of the remainder at the top. I also wish I'd got the gathering on the back of the skirt a little more even. It's not too obvious when I'm in motion though and also, I can't see my back so I can pretend that flaw is not there.

However: one useful new thing I learn was how to use my new stitch-in-the-ditch foot that came with the machine. Initially I did some TERRIBLE top-stitching on the bottom edge of the waistband which wandered all over the damn place, and I kept looking at it and going augh, augh, that's just HORRIBLE. So finally I unpicked it, and then remembered that my new machine, being intended for a quilting audience, included the stitch-in-the-ditch foot that I could use to keep my stitching at an even distance from the lower edge of the waistband. It didn't come out perfectly even but actually still SO MUCH better -- definitely a foot to keep in mind for future reference.

Total costs: About £3.50 for the top layer, another £4.50 for 2m of turquoise polycotton from Tissu for the lining. A CRAZY expensive zip from The Cork Button Factory here in Ireland (why are invisible zips so EXPENSIVE in Europe? If anyone in America wants to buy a present, buy me a pile of cheap invisible zips!) for another €3, plus thread and a skirt hook, for a grand total of about £12-ish, which is not bad for a maxi skirt when you think there's 4.5m of fabric in there.

Now, all I need is some actual summer so I can wear it (or lottery win, so I can go somewhere warm!)

No comments:

Post a Comment