Thursday, November 08, 2012

How Hard Can It Be?

Unfortunately a lot harder than one might expect. A simple skirt is playing hard to get. I’m running out of patience. To wit:

Not-Quite-Helena Skirt

HelenaSkirt For: me

Date:  November Something, 2012, not actually finished yet.

Fabric:  ancient piece of fairly lightweight cotton twill in a rusty red, already cut out (sometime in the late ‘90’s or early ‘00’s) into a dress I never made. Liked the fabric though so I didn’t trash it. There was just enough to squeeze out the skirt though I had to piece the waistband.

Lining:  just over a yard of polyester lining, a pretty close colour match. From Dressew.

Notions:  Strip of interfacing for the waistband. 1 rust red button. YKK invisible zip, was 16” but I only needed 9” so I chopped it off at the bottom. Sewing and serger thread to match. Lace edging, magenta.

Pattern:  Helena Skirt, free pattern download by Sarah Magill for BurdaStyle, available here.

Mods:  Left off the button front and instead inserted a zip in the back with a button on the band. Graded up for size and lengthened to just cover my knees. Added inseam pockets and a lining.

Comments:  The photos didn’t really capture the true rusty-red of the fabric very well. This is a cute skirt with pleats at the waist and a pegged hem. Should have been easy to make but somehow…it wasn’t. I had to change things, didn’t I? The zip went in beautifully. I used Els’ fabulous technique to apply it and it worked very nicely. See?


I don’t think I’ll ever go back to sewing an invisible zipper in before the seam is stitched again! Then the pockets and main seams went fine but when I went to put the skirt together with the lining at the waist and fold up the pleats, I discovered that the pockets interfered with the outside pleat on each side of the front. I was folding the pleats with both fashion fabric and lining held together as one which worked fine with the rest of them but it took me a while to figure out how to keep the pocket’s top edge out of the way of the last pleat. I finally had a flash of inspiration and just pleated both fabrics separately with the pocket top flat between them. Doh.

The waistband went on without a hitch though the buttonhole is a wee bit wonky. It fits me nicely – not too tight and not too loose – though I still prefer some elastic in my waistband. I wanted a bit of flash inside on the lining hem so I borrowed the idea from Sewaholic here to add a lace trim in a bright colour. I’ve had this bright magenta-pink edging in the stash forever and it contrasted cool with the warm red lining.


Sadly I didn’t notice that I had nicked the fashion fabric’s hem when I cut off the excess lining:


Ouch. Now what? Well, I’m a little unhappy with the skirt’s length on me anyway. Just past the knee looks kind of frumpy. Plus I have quite nice knees for somebody’s granny if I do say so myself. So I’m going to cut off the hem and re-stitch it. Of course that leaves the lining which will also need re-hemming. I’m trying to decide if I should pick off the lace which will then be an inch too short for the new hem. (The skirt is pegged narrower at the hem.) Or just pitch it out and attach a new piece. I have lots left. It’s been in the stash for about 20 years so it doesn’t owe me anything.

Meanwhile the darn thing is in time-out. Debbie Double is wearing it for the nonce. Until I stop being cranky with it and decide to redo the hems. Bleh.

Meanwhile, I’ve started a new project. I’m winding the warp to weave the replacement curtains for our bedroom. The originals were woven in 1991 and held up pretty well until I tried bleaching them in the laundry last spring. Bad idea. Now they are full of holes and barely hanging on the window. Still I got more than 20 years out of them. Cottolin (50% cotton, 50% linen) lasts pretty nicely. But stay away from bleach. I should have just simmered them in a little soda ash and soap instead. Lesson learned.

This version will be white (again) but I decided to use 8/2 cotton for the warp and 22/2 cottolin for weft. The draft is an 8-shaft huck weave which looks like solid ovals in a lace lattice. It’s kind of fun to work on the loom again. I hope the urge continues because I have lots of weaving yarns and many ideas to pursue.

The weather has been mostly sunny for the last few days. We walked down along the False Creek seawall yesterday to the Fisherman’s Wharf near the entrance to Granville Island. The goal was the little Go Fish shack for fish and chips. We had halibut and it was yum! I especially like their coleslaw – a little spicy and redolent of sesame oil. The service is very friendly but it’s always super-busy so bring a big load of patience with you. Wear warm clothes too! There is no indoor seating. This was the view from our deck seats:


And on the way home we got a good show from the fire hoses across the water downtown:


Those clouds hiding the mountains were impressive but they didn’t rain on us. The light was pearlescent though. I love my city.

Off to dig up my madder bed now.


Heather said...

Oh, my total sympathy for the hem. I have done stuff like that and it's such a "doh" moment. But a very cute skirt, and I like the lace on the lining. I would just use a new length of lace myself, thriftiness be damned!
And I have a gallon sized pot of madder going in the garden, first year. I haven't transplanted it yet because I don't have the perfect spot figured out. But I am very hopeful that I can grow my own red!

Sharon in Surrey said...

I've done the very same thing a time or two . . . . Good for you for shortening that skirt just a little. I've noticed how something just an inch too long can really make something look totally frumpy. What's the rule?? Hem to the smallest part of your leg?? I notice that in shorts in the summer - women like those damn 'floods' but they hit at the widest part of the calf & look really nasty on most people. If they were longer or shorter, they'd look fine. So, show off those gams, old thing!!