Pattern: A-line skirt from the book Sew U (Built by Wendy simplicity pattern) size M
Fabric: Patterned Corduroy from Hancock Fabrics
Notions etc: 7 inch black zipper
Notes: I can’t believe I actually managed to sew a garment – and it fits! This will be a detailed review, because I know there are other knitters who, like me, are curious about going even further into making your own wardrobe. This pattern is from Sew U, a book that I recommend if you (like me) are brand new to garment sewing. It contains 3 basic patterns for a skirt, pants, and shirt, and shows many variations on those. I made the skirt in a size medium, because I found the sizing confusing – it isn’t the same as regular pattern sizing, and I don’t think it shows finished sizes, just recommended sizes. I probably could have made a size smaller (I am a size 4 in ready to wear clothes for reference) but I think it would have fit higher on the waist, which I don’t care for. I learned how to fuse interfacing, make facings, install a zipper, and sew darts. I already knew how to hem and sew the pieces together, but the instructions for those were detailed as well.
One thing I didn’t like – the instructions for various parts of the process were all through the book, forcing you to use the index and flip back and forth. It was a little confusing, but I figured it out. The hardest parts for me were the zipper installation and the darts, since previously I hadn’t given much thought to what they actually were (sections of the fabric removed in order to shape the flat garment to your body.) I actually did not follow her installation for the zipper, which suggested just taping the zipper in place and then sewing it in. I have a hard time sewing a straight line without a seam guide (yes, I know, but I think maybe it’s my machine) and I don’t like to sew blind, so I needed a visual. I instead taped in the zipper (with blue painters tape) and then machine basted it in with a contrasting thread. I flipped it over and topstitched (that is, stitched from the right side) following the basting lines. Then I removed the basting, and it was securely in place! The darts were hard until I broke down and bought a fabric marker – my chalk lines kept rubbing off!
The whole time I was making the facing (the pieces that form the waistband here, and reinforce it on the inside) I thought there was no way it would work out, but I trusted the pattern and it turned out perfectly!
After the skirt was finished I was unhappy with the length – it was sort of mid calf, which isn’t flattering on anyone. I reminded myself of Wendy’s encouragement (in the book) to make things work for you, marked a new hem with chalk, and chopped 5 inches off that baby before the final hem went in place. Now it’s the length I like my skirts, and this also had the effect of reducing the A-line. I know everyone loves an A-line, but I don’t like them on me all the time. I think I’m not curvy enough.
I bought fabric to make another built by Wendy pattern – number 3835.
I’m making the mini dress, the view on the left, and I plan to wear it with leggings, since apparently I have decided to give up and just embrace that the 80s are back – after all, much as I deride them, leggings are darned comfy. As long as they aren’t stirrup pants. I can’t handle that again. I bought an Amy Butler print, but I’m going to make it up first in some cheap fabric from the $2 table at Joanns, to make sure of the size. I’m not yet certain of the amount of ease I want in things that aren’t knit!
So if you want to learn to sew, I recommend the Sew U book, along with the S.E.W workshop. It may n0t supplant knitting or anything, but I’m sure I’m going to love making my own clothes! And right now, between my studio recital and some big concerts I’m performing in, I haven’t exactly had oodles of knitting time – but I made this in 2 nights!
I have worked on the quilt, and it is now to the point where it needs to be quilted, so I have been practicing machine quilting. I expected it to be impossible, so I’m surprised by how easy the quilting is coming – I’m not having tension problems, and if my patterns aren’t perfect oh well – it will look great once it is washed.
Coming up: my thoughts on the new Interweave Knits and twist collective, and progress on Salina (aka the world’s most boring knit that had better be totally worth it!)