Sunday, June 9, 2013

keeping my promise: another summer maxi-skirt

In my last post I promised to be better about blogging my makes, after wearing 3 un-bloggged skirts during Me-Made-May. I'm keeping good on my promise, so here is one of those skirts:

I had picked up the light weight cottony fabric on a trip to Sewfisticated Discount Fabric in Dorchester, Massachusetts. I just LOVE the big bold floral print in this almost retro color palette of teal, olive and goldenrod. At first I was thinking about making Butterick 5886. It's a fabulous dress, and I was this close to cutting the pieces out, but because this print is just so cool I decided instead to make something I would wear more often. And a light breezy maxi skirt with a simple tank or t-shirt has become my summer uniform! (Although, I still plan on making this dress before the end of the summer.)

It's a simple elastic waist skirt with french seaming. At first I made it full, with something like 120 inches gathered at the waist. It looked really bad. So I hacked it below the knee, took the top half in to about 60 inches, then reconnected the full bottom half as a gathered tier or ruffle. Perfect! Well, except... do you know how when you are sewing french seams your brain thinks you are sewing the pieces backwards even when you are doing it right? This time my brain was right. I had stitched the bottom tier on inside out so the seams were on the outside. This fabric is so light, and I didn't have much wiggle room in length, so I was afraid that I would damage too much of it if I took out the seam and sewed it up again. Instead, I pressed the french seams down and added another line of stitching right along the edge of the seam, so it kind of looks like a cover stitch. Pretty clever! You would never have noticed it unless I pointed it out, would you?

Speaking of clever, I will let you know that I re-made and attached the bias strip binding to the Eucalypt Tank and this time it was perfect. I'm so pleased with myself that I'm adding bias binding to my current project as well! But that, my friends, is another post...

Friday, June 7, 2013

a (late) me-made-may '13 wrap-up and my indie creation

Sorry I'm so late for my last MMM '13 post! After my last post I wore:

  • a self-drafted black knit pencil skirt out to dinner with Mr. Sew Rachel on the evening of May 23rd. I made the skirt in April for an opening night party when visiting my sister in Lancaster, PA. (She was working at at theater in the middle of Amish country. Weird, right?) I haven't blogged it yet, but will soon, I promise!
  • my striped cardigan to work on May 27th. I love this pattern! It was a great free download from the iCandy Handmade blog. Note to self: make more of these!

  • and out with a couple girlfriend on May 30th I wore this:

Yup, that's a self-portrait of my bottom half! I finished this great self-drafted maxi skirt that same week. Again, yet to be blogged so this is a teaser!

Overall, Me-Made-May '13 was totally successful! I exceeded my pledge of wearing handmade twice a week, and found that it was actually was not hard to reach for handmade in my closet.  Overall this month wore 11 handmade garments (7 skirts, 1 dress, 1 pair lounge pants (yoga jeans), and 2 tops), wore handmade on 15 occasions, and finished 5 new items, including one for someone else! WOO HOO! Maybe for MMM '14 I'll be able to pledge a whole month of handmade! I learned that skirts are both easiest to make and to wear. I also learned that my blogging is not keeping up with my sewing! I promise to work on that, and so on that note...

TA DA! Here is my first project from my independent pattern purchases! It's Megan Nielsen's Eucalypt Tank. I love that she includes instructions for french seams right in the pattern directions.  I think this would be a great pattern for someone learning to sew. The neck and armholes are finished with self bias strips, which I had never done and was a little nervous. But the instructions were nice and clear, and look how nice they came out on the front!

The inside was another story. I found a didn't enough fabric to fold the raw edge of the bias strip under to finish, most likely due to my uneven cutting. I thought I had found a smart solution by leaving the raw edges, then covering them with a fine, fusible stay tape to prevent fraying. WRONG! The stay tape didn't stick, I had to peel it all off, and ended up with this big frayed mess:

So I was left carefully cutting all the binding off at the neck and arm openings and will start again. THIS TIME I'm using a rotary cutter for nice strait cuts and making my strips just a wee bit wider for some more wiggle room when stitching it on. Always still learning!