Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Pencil skirts

 Back in the very early Spring, I started looking for some summer inspiration, and I came across a picture of a young lady in a pencil skirt and shirt.  Truth be told, there were plenty of images of pencil skirt + shirt.  But this particular one was not just any pencil skirt – this one was white and blue toile.  (I could have sworn that I saved it on Pinterest, but apparently not.  You’ll just have to trust me on this one.)  This seemed like a pretty good starting point to a summer “uniform”.  I find pencil skirts comfortable and most importantly – I can function in them all day, unlike some rather voluminous skirts that I have that seem to always get in the way when I’m trying to do certain things.  So – a plan.  I became a bit obsessed. A bit too much time spent on internet “research” for fabric, because I had nothing that looked anything like the picture.  Neither did I find anything remotely similar or pencil skirt compatible on any of the sites that I browsed.  Then at some point between lockdowns, when Fabricland was actually open, I decided to go for a browse.  Nothing sparked my imagination – I must have made the rounds of the “fashion fabrics” at least twice.   Feeling like my balloon had deflated, I headed off to the home dec section and there I spied the elephant print – well, it’s not just elephants – rather a whole African menagerie.

100% cotton … a little bit stiff … but I was sure that after a run through the washer and drier it would work quite well.  Oh – and the price was right … $5 per metre.

Back view (in case you couldn't figure that out).  Even found a random blue button that matched.
Hong Kong finish on the hem, but obviously that detail didn't make it to the edge of the back slit.

Unfortunately (or may-be fortunately) I didn’t stop at 1 metre of one fabric.  I found 3 more!  If I was going to adopt a uniform for summer, I certainly needed more than one skirt for the purpose.

Brown and grey paisleys.

Another lonely button put to good use.

I used my self-drafted pattern – midi length.  Made slight changes in the way I finished the back slit/ pleat and waistband – it would be way too boring if I made exact duplicates.  So - three skirts happened in fairly quick succession.

And what the can I call this print?
Please ignore the misaligned print.   Much effort was expended on matching of this print and trying to keep things on grain, but when all was said and done - I was off.  Oh well - I can't see my back side, so I just pretend that everything is lined up perfectly.

Because this home dec fabric, cotton though it may be, is a little rough, I added shortie silk linings into each of the skirts - just so they wouldn't get caught up on things.  Pencil skirts have to hang properly to look good - no?
Number 4 is on a black background, and after No. 3, being quite sick of pencil skirt sewing, I decided that the dark fabric would have to wait until Autumn.

And now for my rather sad attempt of picture in mirror.  I know that everyone likes a good picture of person in garment - I'm working on it.  

Now as for the shirts to go with the skirts … they’re not hopping from fabric stash to closet at quite the same speed.  Shirts take longer to sew than pencil skirts, and apparently I can’t keep motivated stitching the same shirt in different fabrics one after another.  About the progress on those … later.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Burda Style 6342

This has got to be one of the easiest patterns around.  It is also a quick way of using up yardage if your objective is to use up fabric stash with little effort.  One pattern piece for both the front and the back, plus waistband.  Oh – I guess you have to like skirts…  I happen to wear skirts a lot, and I also happen to like full skirts.  Check and check.  The big pleats front and back lie flat -  no extra fluff below the waistband.  And the only place you really have to nail the fit is the waistband.

The suggested fabrics on the envelope are somewhat stiffer fabrics, so of course I did the complete opposite for my first version … a very drapey rayon challis.

According to the instructions, the zipper goes up into the waistband – not something I like, so I stopped the zip at the waist and opted for hooks to keep the waistband together.  Granted, that did require extending the waistband piece a little to allow for overlap.

And then there was version two - just because the first one went together so quickly.

This is a hand-woven silk from Thailand.  The interesting stripes and horses are all uneven … and the fabric was incredibly narrow.  Not a hope of ever making anything match at the seams.  If I didn’t just cut and make something, that fabric would languish for many more years, and it really did need to get out in the world and be something.  So – I did have to put a seam down centre front and centre back just to get the width needed for the pattern piece.  I did the best I could to more or less have all the horses galloping in straight rows. 

Inside view, just so that you could see how those pleats are formed.

I just ignored the parts where the stripes wouldn’t behave.  Now that it’s made up – I wear the skirt and don’t look at the seams.  And because it is a rather heavy silk, this skirt does work well year-round – with sandals in summer and boots and sweaters in winter.  Not exactly an everyday skirt, so not too many chances of it going out into the world, but it has had some wears – unlike my third version …

Before I folded up the pattern and put it away, I decided that one more version wouldn’t be amiss.  This is quilting cotton.  I just fell in love with these butterflies, despite the fact that the turquoise isn’t something that I normally gravitate towards.  And – there’s some gold throughout – just enough to make this a “party skirt”, and I knew from the outset that this was going to be a skirt.  Never mind that everyone else buying this fabric was cutting it up for quilts.  I did not prewash the fabric.  I was warned by those who are wiser than I in the ways of quilting fabrics that the gold would wash out, and I did know that the sizing, which gives it a bit of gloss, would also disappear and the character of the fabric would be ruined.  So yes, I made a party skirt just at the time when all parties came to an abrupt halt, and my poor skirt has not been outside my closet since it came into being.  May-be now that we can more or less “normally” go to church, I could give it an outing on a Sunday morning – with boots and a sweater … but there are so many other things that are clamouring for an outing.  We’ll see.