Saturday, 31 January 2015

Two Simple Garments with Complicated Origin Stories

So this is the Colette Meringue skirt, but actually not at all, really. Warning: long post ahead!

This skirt was one of those projects that took forever (I feel I say that a lot!). But seriously, I've had this planned since.... pretty much when I started this blog? I wanted a darted skirt that fit me. Now that was a tall order, for someone who had no idea how to fit things to my body.

At that time when I knew so little, I struggled soooo much with the fit of the original muslin. I went down into a deep sewing darkness of muslin after muslin, with no satisfaction. It was BAD, people! I never blogged it because it was just too hard, and I couldn't get anywhere! One of the worst sewing experiences of my life!
I eventually gave up. The drama.

After I abandoned the Meringue skirt, I got more experience with fitting, and tried again with the Beignet skirt. Turns out a full butt adjustment and fine tuning of the side seams, (as well as a few other things) is necessary for me! And I finally got a fit that worked, after a few muslins. So this time, I thought, why reinvent the wheel? I shall turn my princess-seamed Beignet pattern into a darted pattern.
And I did. See Kat's post for how this concept works!

For a large dart reduction, you must split the darts into two. This is pretty usual for a fitted skirt, so my backside has two large darts. I did a muslin and it looked pretty okay (at this point, I was ready to settle for "pretty good", not perfect!).

Also, it was windy that day!

The fabric is some cheap polyester I bought when I first started sewing. I didn't find it very kind. I have found with other polyesters too, they want to show every single pucker, and of course you can't press them out!

I had to finesse the darts a bit in the back, taking them in a bit more near the tip and making them longer. I probably could have done even more with this adjustment, as they still look a little puffy near the ends (much better than they did though), but I also just think this fabric doesn't press overly well. Thoughts, anyone?
Oh yeah, and I underlined the poly with a lightweight cotton to take some drape out, which may have made the dart tips a bit tricky too, who knows?

Overall though, I'm very pleased with myself with creating this shaping for my tricksy rear end:

As for the front darts, I think they look a little bit puffy too, but I didn't adjust them. If there is a second attempt (I do think it deserves one), I am considering making the front darts smaller and taking the equivalent out of the side seams, so it remains the same circumference at the waist. I've seen this in my favourite fitting book (Sarah Veblen's The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting). I'm hoping this would decrease the puffy look of the darts at the bottom as it would have less intake at the top. Not sure if that makes sense!
It also is supposed to give you a flatter look across the front.

So, the Meringue skirt has scallops. Mine DID have them!
They were a total pain in the rear, because I had to redraft them onto the bottom of my skirt (which took me stupidly long because learning), and because I screwed up the sewing.

In this Threads article (and other references I've seen too, such as the Colette Sewing book), you are recommended to notch into the curves to get them to sit nicely when turned out.
But in this article on Pattern Scissors Cloth, Sherry recommends to simply trim closely, which she says produces a superior result. Faster AND better? I'm in!!

I 100% should have made a sample; I am really bad at doing this. The stupid thing is it's because I'm impatient, but it would save me a lot of time in some instances (like this one)!
I had to clip in very close to the points to get them to turn out, yuck. I keep saying I hate this, because I do.

I opted to top-stitch because I wanted to make sure the little suckers stayed in place, and to try to bully out the stubborn puckers at the apex. Also, according to Sherry, this strengthens them (since they're clipped in so close, they're a lot weaker!)

After all that....I decided the scallops were too poorly executed, so I chopped them off. Argh!! I don't want to look "Becky Home-Ecky" as Michael Kors would say... haha! It wasn't a good feeling though, with all the time and effort I put in.

Taking this blog back to its roots with poor quality in-progress shots.

The thread lines are where I basted the underlining to the shell fabric through the darts to keep them together. Also, you can really see the dodgy puckers at the tops of the scallops here.

For next time, I think I would have better success with scallops if I pivoted more at the points. For points such as scallops and collar points, you should take a horizontal stitch or more (depending on the bulk of the fabric) at the top of the point, to help it turn better. The ones where I didn't pivot enough looked the worst. Overall, I think I can blame the fabric a tiny bit, though. This polyester didn't enjoy being pressed (which I think also made the darts not look as good either).

I still love scallops though. I'll have you one day, my dears. Here is some scalloped inspiration for you from Colette.

Construction stuff:

I drafted a facing and lining. I pleated the lining instead of darting it. This is supposed to reduce the strain on the lining. As for the lapped zip application, I always end up bodging them in, as the weird seam allowances mean the facing doesn't line up right. This has always annoyed me, so I found this lapped zip tutorial from Fashion Incubator. BUT, I'd already put my zip in the normal way, so I decided to try this one next time, instead of working out how to apply the tutorial to my already-in zip!

Okay, so this project was totally frustrating for me and I felt pretty annoyed at it, so here is a list of positives:

-Even though I screwed up the scallops, hey, at least I learned something! (And hopefully I'll remember those lessons for next time. That's always the tricky bit.)

-At least the plainness of the skirt will make it versatile.

-Whoa, I finally fitted a skirt to my butt, that's amazing! I should be able to get some decent mileage out of this!

Oh, and by the way, if you're still here, I made the top too!

THIS garment has a convoluted story behind it too. It started life as this:

This was an Anna dress, and I put LOADS of work into it. Check out that lovely chevron in centre front! I got so far with it, and decided I just hated it. I'd never wear it, I wasn't satisfied with the fit, and it had to go. So I chopped the dang thing up and made a singlet. I did have to seam the singlet to fit the pattern pieces, but I think it's very unnoticeable.

Eagle eyed viewers might spot the shadow of the seam allowance just above the waist, since the fabric is slightly sheer.
Anyway, I totally self-drafted this top, so I'm patting myself on the back for it. I won't blather on about that for now, as this post is already feeling mega-long. I opted for no vertical darts, as I didn't want to disrupt the lovely stripes. So it's very loose, but I love the blousey look tucked in.

Awkward pose!!! Haha! Showin' off that side seam though. Such matching stripes.
As you can see, it has a bust dart. And omg, don't you love striped tops? They go with everything!
I finished the neckline of this top with hand-stitched bias tape. Also, my apologies for the lack of garment guts shots in this post. I'll remember next time I hope. :)

So....are you tired from reading all about the making of these garments?? Here's to simpler garment-making processes in the future, eh? Haha!

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