Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Stash Smash #1: A Skirt

Don't let it end this way.  Tell them I said something.  
~ Pancho Villa

So, I had to choose this weekend - sew or try another photo shoot?  I picked sewing and, oddly enough, my husband did not protest his lost opportunity to drag out our old lighting equipment and help me with a photo shoot!  ;)

I decided to start with a skirt - the grey cotton print fabric with the pattern for the pleated skirt (lower left sketch):  

There are only 2 pattern pieces - the skirt body and the waistband - so I figured it would be a quick and easy project....  

Do you recognize FAMOUS LAST WORDS when you hear them?  ;)

I had used my cards to decide how much fabric to buy - without a specific skirt in mind, I added 1/2 yard to my average so that I could cover about 79% of skirt patterns out there - and it was just enough!  :)

In the photo above, I've cut (okay, ripped to get the grain line) my fabric into 2 pieces and stacked one on top of the other - so that both right sides are up.  Each piece is the exact width of the skirt panel (cut 2).

Basically you start with 2 large rectangles - minus one small cut-out, where the zipper is going to go - and sew both side seams and then hem the bottom:

I had lined up the bottom along the finished selvedge - so I only had to turn it once for my hem.  :)

Then you put in the pleats and attach the waist band.  The cats were lots of "help" when it came time to add the pleats:

Okay, here's where the real "fun" started for me.  The instructions for my view (D) send you to earlier instructions (views A, B & C) for attaching the waist band.  Here is the illustration that accompanied the earlier instructions:

See how the edges of the waist band and the edges of the skirt line up perfectly in the illustration?

Well, my waist band hung over the edges...  :(

I tried all kinds of machinations to stretch the skirt to fit to the waist band (pinning it to death, laying the longer piece against the feed dogs, etc.) - finally I had to hand stitch it to keep it lined up for machine sewing.  

Then I turned back to where the instructions for my view (D) picked up again - check out the waist band in this illustration - it hangs over the skirt!  Just like mine did!

Well, just like mine did before I worked so hard to stretch my skirt to match the waist band...  :(

So, I ripped it out and re-attached it and moved on to the next step - the zipper.  

And here's where I ran into the next "snag" - this zipper is inside one of the pleats (lapped?).  All of the zippers that I have ever installed were centered, so I really needed the instructions for this one...  

Oops.  Apparently the cats had "liberated" certain portions of the instructions at some time in the past, including the section that I desperately needed.  :(

I tried to "wing it" and must have inserted, ripped out and then re-inserted that zipper 4 times before I finally got something that worked...  :(

I'm sure it's not "done right" - but it holds up the skirt...  (Well, with an assist from the stomach...)  

And, in the end, I'm pretty happy with the result - it fits and looks reasonably nice - although there aren't nearly as many pleats as indicated in the drawing on the pattern.  

I think it will work nicely in my new wardrobe and it was wonderful to do some sewing for myself!  :)


  1. It's good to see you sewing something for yourself, too, after so much sewing for others! It looks like it will be a great addition to your new wardrobe.

    1. Thanks, Becky! It felt really good! :)

  2. I really like this skirt! I have a pattern similar that I started making, it is a UFO...you make me want to finish it,lol! But, that's another sewing challenge!!!

    1. Thanks, Alethia! :)
      I wouldn't have minded more pleats and I really need to learn how to do a lapped zipper - but I am still happy with it! I wore it to work yesterday and got some nice compliments. :)

  3. Very cute! I started on a pattern I got with the gift certificate I won in one of your giveaways - and immediately put the zipper in upside down. Oops.


    1. How exciting, Ellen! (Starting on the pattern - not putting in the zipper upside-down!) Will we get to see pictures someday? Good luck and have fun finishing it! :)

    2. I will definitely let you see the final results. My schedule is wacky for a while but my sewing productivity always goes up during baseball season.

    3. Ha! I take it someone in the household is a big baseball fan? ;)
      My husband really likes baseball too! We used to live near Chicago and I have fond memories of watching the Cubs play in Wrigley Field...

      Looking forward to seeing your pictures! :)

  4. Good job! Doesn't it feel good to sew something for you? By the way, you're looking very svelte in the photo.

    1. Thanks so much, Gwen! The zipper wasn't exactly my shining moment, but I managed to "make it work". ;)
      I do need to start a list of techniques to learn and put "lapped zipper" in the top spot. :)