Tuesday, June 12, 2007

PR Wardrobe Contest - item #6

Well, the contest changed its name and its rules. You are now required to sew 10 items, one top must go with two bottoms and one of the 10 items should be an accessory.
As a jacket can be considered an accessory, I decided to stick to my initial plan, so I will have a jacket in the wardrobe capsule and my tops will go with all the bottoms. I will sew 11 items, maybe even more as they can count as "added value" items.
My sixth entry in this contest is a bias-cut skirt from a piece of very nice drapey aqua satin, given to me by my sister (she gave away all her fabric before going to Stockholm and lucky me received some very nice fabric and some gorgeous pieces of lace). I spent 4 hours and a half on the hand embroidery and another hour on the scallops at the hem (mainly on cutting away the fabric with small scissors.

Skirt as worn

Detail of scallops

Detail of hand embroidery

Simplicity 6325
Pattern Description:
Bias-cut skirts in two views. I made view E, but shortened and without the sash.

Pattern Sizing:
6-16. I made a 6. By the way, can anybody explain me why if I look at the body measurements, I'm a size 10 in Vogue, Simplicity, McCall etc, but a size 6 fits me perfectly?

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, it definitely did.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
I glanced quickly at the instructions (this skirt is very easy to sew) and they seemed really easy to follow.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like bias-cut skirts, first of all. Then I liked this one because it is not very flared. When worn, it looks rather like a straight skirt, flared at the bottom.
Also, it is a very easy and quick to sew item. I think it would take you only one hour to sew it (it took me more because I complicated my life by adding the hand embroidery, the little sequins and the scallops at the hem).

Fabric Used:
Aqua satin.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
I've shortened the skirt and ditched the sash.
Also, the pattern instructions tell you to fold under the top of the skirt to make a casing and insert the elastic. I preferred to sew the elastic to the waist of the skirt (by dividing the skirt in fourths, the elastic in fourths, matching them and pinning), then fold under the elastic and topstitch with a three-steps zigzag.
I wanted to embellish this very simple skirt (it seems I cannot be at peace with a quick to sew item and have to make it more difficult - masochistic tendencies, probably) and do a hand embroidery. I haven't done this in at leat 20 years but it seems it is something you don't forget. I used a degraded green embroidery thread (we call it Mouline here and it is made of six strands of thread, I usually separate them and use three or two; used three for the skirt), wash-away stabilizer and a free embroidery design from NeedleNThread.com, that you can download here. I enlarged the design 200%.
The embroidery took me about 4 hours and a half. I've also decided to add a few very nice sequins - they are square and a semi-transparent white.
When trying on the skirt, I didn't like the bottom. The sating drapes a lot and gathered at my knees, looking lke a perfectly straight skirt. AS I wanted a bit of flare at the them, I stabilised the hem with a knit fusible - 5 cm width. I cut the fusible with my pinking scissors to make it invisible, but in zoomed photos you can still see a bit the line twhere it is fused to the skirt. I can assure you it doesn't show a bit when worn.
Then I sewed scallops using one of my decorative stitches and cut away the fabric with very sharp embroidery scissors.

How did I approach the bias?
1) Starched stiff the fabric and paid great attention when ironing it, because it tends to go off grain and you have to straigthen it while pressing.
2) Hung the skirt for 72 hours. I understand that normally an overnight is enough, but this kind of satin kept dropping so I wanted to play it safe.
3) Used a stretch stitch (a narrow zigzag, 0.5 mm width and 2.5 mm length) and stretched gently the seams while sewing. For this purpose, I've also marked the stitching line because when stretching, it gets narrower and if you use your presser foot as a guide, you end up by sewing a considerably wider seam allowance (you stretch and sew with a 1.5 cm allowance and when relaxing, the allowance is actually 2.5 cm and the garment clings too much to your body).

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I will definitely sew it again, at least three more times. And I'm the type who doesn't use the same pattern a lot, twice is the absolute maximum so far! Also, it is quick and easy. In my opinion, it is a very good pattern for beginners, especially if you want to try the techniques of bias-sewing and a great wardrobe builder (I could whip at least 8 of them during the weekend, in various fabrics and colours and practically have an entirely new wardrobe if I have enough matching tops in my closet).

I like so much the embroidery that I might decide to complicate my life again and keep embroidering and adding other embellishments also. Those sequins have been in my stash for more than 5 years and I finally put them to a good use, I think.


Susan said...

Very pretty skirt!

Bonnie D. said...

What a beautiful skirt! The embroidery is fantastic.

dawn said...

Very pretty, and couldn't fit you better. So flattering. Kudos!

Debbie Cook said...

Very pretty skirt, made even prettier with your embroidery and fancy stitching.

Marji said...

You did a really nice job on that, and you wear the bias so well.
Love that hem, and the embroidery.

Erica B. said...

That is absolutely beautiful!

Tany said...

Absolutely divine sewing work!

Vicki said...

Wow, that embroidery looks too good to be done by hand (but maybe that is what makes it look so good!!). Thanks for all the bias tips.

Laura said...

Thanks so much everybody! Your comments encouraged me so much that I might try my hand at embroidery again sometimes soon :)