Archive for the ‘Sewing’ Category

Simplicity 2698 skirt pattern is gradually becoming a favorite of mine and I don’t even normally like wearing skirts.

Simplicity Skirt 2698 - E - Front

That front center seam just kills me…..

I have the fit down and this time I barely even looked at the construction instructions. Actually, I didn’t look at the Simplicity instructions at all and only peeked at the Sewaholic Cresent Skirt instructions when it got time to attach the zipper to the waistband facing. I wrote down some notes on the instructions sheet the last time I made a skirt and it was such a time saver since I knew exactly what I was talking about (don’t you love it when you can read your own notes months later??).

 This was my first time making version E. I think I never made it before because the skirt front consists of two pieces with a seam down the center and I never wanted a center front seam. But since I dislike version J so much (too much of a tulip shape, not enough drape) and I was too lazy to make version I (ugh, those pleats are so cute, but take so long) I decided version E may be ok.
Simplicity Skirt 2698 - E - zipper

I no longer fear invisible zippers!

I had been contemplating buying the Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt pattern, but since I’m so averse to wearing skirts I didn’t want to buy another skirt pattern and not like the outcome. The more I looked at version E of the Simplicity 2698 pattern, the more I realized it resembled the Holllyburn skirt, especially after reading Amanda’s review of her black and white polka dot skirt.  It might seem like my skirt is a total copycat of Amanda’s polka dot skirt, but I swear I had the fabric for several months and I had originally planned on making a skirt with it once I realized it was way too thin for a jacket (specifically the Sewaholic Robson Trench). I will admit that seeing her version definitely gave me the extra bump in motivation to finally de-stash and make a skirt. Besides, the piping on her skirt is absolutely adorable and definitely kicks my skirt to the curb.

I initially thought I could make this skirt in one day. My ability to severely underestimate sewing time pains me! This skirt took WAAAAAAAY longer than I had anticipated. First of all, I think it’s nearly impossible to match center front and back seams of a polka dot print. I tried twice. I failed twice. I tried matching dots along the pocket and failed, again. After wasting so much damn time attempting to match dots at those seams, I didn’t even bother trying to match dots at the side seams or waistband (yoke). I finally had to tell myself to just power through and not care because I was using some cheap cotton/poly blend fabric. I even machine sewed a straight stitch for the hem because at that point I DNGAF.

Oh, and since this fabric was very lightweight I needed a lining, which required a quick stop to my closest fabric shop, International Silks and Woolens, which is THE PERFECT place to go if you know exactly what you want, but you don’t want to waste any time looking for it. They have at least a handful of people on the floor ready to help you. As soon as I walked in a lady came over asked me what I wanted. I told her I needed black lining, nothing too expensive. After selecting some black lining I asked her what interfacing she would recommend for a shirt collar and cuffs (I have a Negroni waiting on the sidelines to be made for my husband). She immediately showed me her preference and then off I went back home. I think I was back home in the amount of time it would have taken me to get to the nearest Joann’s and oh you know how terrible customer service is there and good luck finding someone who knows what they’re talking about.
Simplicity Skirt 2698 - E - Lining

I suppose suffering through sewing in a lining is better than wearing a slip all day.

Anyway, the skirt. I hate working with lining! Oh it’s so terrible! And of course I didn’t remember Gertie’s post, about using tissue paper when cutting slippery fabric, until after I cut out my lining pieces and saw how wonky they all turned out! *CRY* I had only planned on attaching it to the waistband so really it didn’t matter how well it actually matched the skirt pieces (not very well!).
Simplicity Skirt 2698 - E - Full Length Photo!

Apparently my husband doesn’t care for taking photos of me. “I have Jeopardy to watch!”

Overall I’m pretty happy with this skirt. The back is flat and the front has two small pleats. The hem is much wider so there is a bit of flounce to it. I really like full skirts in theory, but I’m always so self conscious wearing them. (I don’t know why. no, I do know why. It’s because I think they make me look even shorter.) But I really like this look; I swoon over every full skirted dress Roisin of ‘But it Can’t be from Dolly Clackett‘ makes. She definitely knows how to work that style and I need to get used to it because I much prefer a fuller knee-lengthed skirt over a mini, pencil, or maxi skirt.

I definitely want to make this version again with a couple tweaks: reduce the waistband (yoke) height by half, eliminate front pleats, and use a solid color or a print that is easier to use with a front center seam.

Skirt Details
Pattern: Simplicity 2698, version E
Fabric: Black and white polka dot cotton/poly blend from Fabric.com (I would not buy this fabric again; I knew I should have ordered a swatch first.)
Size: Straight 4, but shortened pattern by 4″ and used a 2″ hem
Notions: One 9-inch black invisible zipper (7-inches would have been fine)

And because you made it this far, here is a photo of my Bailey. He jumped in the closet.

Bailey is in the closet


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I started reading Tilly’s blog “Tilly and the Buttons” earlier this year and found out about ‘The Great British Sewing Bee‘ (don’t click the link unless you want spoilers!) through her blog (because she was a contestant, how cool is that!?). I remember thinking, “oh man, I wish I could watch this show”. Then the other week Gertie mentioned watching the show on YouTube, so I checked it out over the weekend and was totally hooked. COMPLETELY HOOKED! Except there are only FOUR episodes and at the time only 3 had aired.

I missed the start of the recent Project Runway season so I haven’t been watching. However, based on some reviews I have read recently it sounds like this season ain’t so good. I had been getting a bit bothered at the amount of blatant advertising and the contestants seem to get wackier and less relate-able with each season so perhaps it’s a good thing I missed this season.

Which brings me back to TGBSB. It’s adorable! In case you haven’t seen it, here’s a quick rundown.

There are only 2 judges on this show: Patrick and some other lady (I can’t remember her name). Patrick is the younger and hotter version of  Tim Gunn (sorry, Tim!) and he has a British accent {swoon!} Both judges are so sweet and their criticism is constructive without coming off as catty. The host is a lady (damn, can’t remember her name either….can you tell who I am focused on the most???) and I can’t quite tell if she is familiar with sewing or if she asks simple questions for the benefit of a novice viewer. Regardless, she is too nice as well. She’s not a Tim Gunn replacement because instead of giving advice she’ll tell the contestants how she feels, mainly about how much she’s loving something. How nice, right?

(source: http://www.digitalspy.com)
Lady Judge, Lady Host, and Patrick!

Lady Judge, Lady Host, and Patrick!

In the middle of the episode the show will go into a bit of history about sewing, which is quite informative. For instance, in one episode it was explained how patterns came into existence. Near the end of the episode, a “simple” home project is explained for the viewers. The projects seem “simple” enough, but the process is quite simplified to the point where I don’t think any novice sewist would ever be able to see the sample project and be able to construct the exact same thing. In one episode, it was explained how to make your own curtains. I laughed through the whole demonstration because they were running through the steps so fast.

But back to the competition. Unlike Project Runway, where contestants are usually given one daunting garment/outfit to construct in one or two days per round, these contestants go through 3 different tasks per round. The tasks increase in difficulty and it appears the judges take all three tasks into account when making their final decision of who to eliminate. Usually the first task involves a simple garment made from a provided pattern. The second task is a refashion and the third task is a more detailed garment they have to fit on a model. However, the contestants were apparently made aware of the third garment ahead of time so they could pick a pattern and theoretically practice before having to make it on the show.

8 contestants started the show and 2 contestants have been eliminated per round. Our dear Tilly was unfortunately bounced in the second episode. I think her downfall was being too ambitious, which is too bad because you gotta appreciate someone who really pushes themselves to excel.

I’m pretty sure my husband thought I was a total nerd for watching this show, but eventually he started watching it with me and he COULD NOT STOP TALKING  about Stuart’s vest. I had joked awhile ago that I should make him a vest like the one a character wears in the show ‘Justified’. He seemed to like the idea, but then he became totally smitten with Stuart’s vest and now he wants one NOW! Oh boy, what have I gotten myself into?

I can’t wait to watch the finale of TGBSB! And, yes, I would totally apply for the show if it was held in the States. My husband thinks I should apply for the show even if it’s held in England….um, I don’t think that would be allowed…..

Anyway, watch the show! It’s delightful! They have tea during their breaks! And they all have amazing accents! It’ll make you walk around the house saying “haberdashery” and wishing you could use it in everyday conversation with your non-sewing friends.

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Completed Sewaholic Patterns Minoru Jacket!

Ahhhh, a finished object! I’m thrilled I finally finished something other than a skirt (especially since I can count on one hand the number of times I wore a skirt last year). I thought I was going to finish the Cambie dress first, but after buying fabric for the Minoru Jacket I couldn’t wait to get started on it. Here is what it looks like all zipped up:

Minoru Jacket

I have no idea why I’m making that expression. My dad has an uncanny ability to capture my best faces.

Here is a description of my sewing process and any alterations I made:
I opted not to make a muslin because (a) Sewaholic patterns are pretty close to my size without major alterations, (b) Lauren of Lladybird made one in a Size 0 without alterations and her posted measurements are close to mine, and (c) I am way too lazy to make a muslin. I cut a size 2 for all the pieces, but I did some major shortening to accommodate my height (I’m 4’11”). I shortened the front, back, and sleeve pieces approximately 3″. I wanted a jacket that would cover most, if not all, of my tush, but not extend too far past it. The hem unintentionally ended up being about 3″ because I accidentally cut the plackets too short, but the length turned out fine. But, I gotta admit that the entire time I was sewing, I kept praying the jacket would fit, especially in the shoulder/armhole area.

Minoru Jacket

Just long enough to cover my tush. My mom took this photo, which is why it’s posed a bit better.

I also used different zipper lengths to accommodate the shortening. The pattern called for a 28″ zipper in the front and an 18″ zipper for the collar. However, when I was shopping for zippers I held them in front of me and around my neck and the recommended sizes seemed so big on me. I decided that a 24″ zipper for the front was long enough and I went with a 14″ zipper for the collar, although at the time I was not exactly 100% sure how the shorter collar zipper would affect the construction of the collar and hood. Turns out using a smaller zipper is totally doable. I lined up the hood side seams with the length of the zipper, which means the hood is slightly gathered at the ends when you sew the hood to the collar. While I don’t think the shorter collar zipper is disastrous, I do think the hood would look better with an 18″ zipper length.

Minoru Jacket  Fully Hooded

You can see that the hood is slightly gathered at the end of the zipper due to using a shorter zipper length than what was recommended in the pattern. No biggie!

Even though I shortened the jacket length considerably, the 24″ zipper does not extend the full length of the jacket from the top of the collar to the bottom of the jacket. The top of the zipper is a couple inches below the top of the collar. When I was shopping for zippers I didn’t realize how high the collar would be, which is why I initially thought a 28″ zipper was way too long. If you want the zipper to extend all the way to the top of the collar, then you do want to use a 28″ long zipper, even if you’re short like me.

I read several reviews of this jacket before making it, which I highly recommend so you can get ideas and tips. I especially like the idea of including side seam pockets and lining the hood, although I’m not 100% thrilled with the placement or size of the pockets I added. (I’ll fix it next time!)

Another tip other sewists suggested was to line the inside of the collar because you can see the “inside” of the collar when you take the hood out. I kept that tip in mind and even cut an extra collar lining piece, but ended up not using it. The wrong side of my jacket fabric looks almost identical to the right side so I opted not to line the inside of the collar. Howevah, there is one thing I want to fix with the hood/collar, which is add bias binding to the hood/collar seam. When I take out the hood you can peek into the collar and see the unfinished seam. The fabric I used for lining frays a ridiculous amount and I’m sure it’ll get out of hand the more I wear the jacket.

As I mentioned above, I shortened the sleeves by about 3″. I was worried the sleeves would be too tight once I attached the lining so I ended up starting with a 5/8″ seam allowance at the armhole and, sorta quickly, transitioned down to a 3/8″ seam allowance for most of the sleeve. The extra 1/4″ of room definitely feels better. I added the cuff to the sleeve, but opted not to add the elastic in the cuff.

Here is a peek of the lining and of the one inside pocket that I sized to fit my phone.

Minoru Jacket Fully Lined

I have no idea what I’m doing in this photo. Again, my dad took this photo and he just kept snapping away while I kept squinting.

Main Fabric: Organic Cotton Twill (Plum color, I think) from Mood. The fabric is supposed to be 60″ wide, but after washing it seemed to measure in at 50″.

Thread: In case you want to use the same color, I used Guterman thread color #445 and it blends right in.

Lining Fabric: Iridescent Maroon/Greenish Fabric from Mood (the tag was missing from this roll of fabric so I’m not quite sure what it is exactly. I searched online for it and everything in the “iridescent” search result is around $12-18/yard, but the guy rang it up as acetate for $3/yard. Either I got a great deal or I’m using total crap for the lining. All I know is, I loved the color and had to have it, but the fabric was a total pain to work with). Based on the photo online, it looks closest to this fabric in color, but I have a hard time believing that what I used was silk chiffon.  Here is a close-up photo of the fabric post-wash:

Cotton Twill+Lining

Zippers: 24″ separating and 14″ closed zippers Coats and Clark brand purchased at International Silks and Woolens

Hours to Make: A lot. I didn’t want to keep count because I didn’t want to get discouraged. I cut the main fabric one Saturday evening. The following day I finished steps 1-9 and cut the lining pieces. I probably did a solid 5-6 hours of sewing that day. All day I kept thinking I could have finished the jacket the same day if I had started early in the morning and didn’t take any breaks, but now I’m not so sure. I finished the rest of the jacket over the course of several evenings the following week.

I gotta say, even though this jacket took a lot of time, I LOVE IT! And the best part is I received a ton of compliments from my family when I showed them the jacket. I thought they were going to say, ‘oh that looks nice…[let’s talk about something else now]‘, but instead they were stunned! Seriously, people, Sewaholic Patterns are exceptional! They’ll make you feel like you belong on Project Runway. My dad was so excited he got his camera and insisted on taking photos (see above) AND I even made it onto his FB wall. Hahah! He rarely posts stuff, so I feel pretty special that he thought my jacket was worth posting about on FB (although he did post the one photo where I’m making a really goofy face, but I guess most of the photos he took are of me making a weird face). I really want to make another one, but this time without a hood.

And as a reward for finally finishing a pretty awesome garment, I treated myself to the Robson Trench Coat. Treat Yo’ Self 2013!!! I have visions of a polka dot trench coat…

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Last weekend I stopped by Momen+ in Torrance, CA (located in the suburbs of LA County). It’s a cute little sewing/quilting shop filled with tons of fabric, patterns, notions, and tools and there is a small workspace area in the back where I think they hold classes. Since the owner has Japanese roots (I think), this shop carries lots of Japanese fabric, including the ever popular Kokka and Echino, but there is also plenty of “modern” fabric too.

Fabric at Momen+

Side Note #1: Funny story. My mom, who is from Japan, didn’t know about double gauze even though it originated in Japan. She looked a bit unimpressed with the “thin” fabric {her words}. I told her about the popularity of double gauze, but that didn’t seem to help the cause. $20/yard for double gauze? *gulp* Where’s the sale section?

Anyhoo, my mom has visited Momen+ a couple times and has been sweet enough to buy me some Japanese fabric (not the popular stuff, but super cute nonetheless) and a couple mini quilt block kits. Since I didn’t have any specific projects in mind I naturally spent what seemed like forever looking at every single bolt of fabric. I really didn’t want to buy something I could easily find at either Sew Modern or Sew LA or that I’ve seen online and could easily search for at Hawthorne Threads. At first I couldn’t decide if I wanted to buy fabric for a garment or for a quilt or small project. Lately I’ve been more hesitant to buy quilting cotton for garments and I didn’t want to spend the beaucoup bucks on Echino or double gauze, so by the process of elimination, I decided I was searching for fabric to add to my small fabric stash for a future quilt (or more likely, a super mini quilt).

While Momen+  {yelp review link} has a decent selection of fabric (including a couple clearance tables), the BEST part of Momen+ has to be their stock of bias binding and sewing tools. My jaw must have dropped when I saw this display case of bias binding and pre-made piping in all sorts of wonderful colors, sizes, and patterns. It’s so eye-catching!

Bias Tape and Piping

White and purple gingham bias binding? Linen bias binding? Yes, please! (Although I didn’t buy any…)

Day 82/365

Towards the back against the wall there were even more options (I seem to recall metallic bias binding too). All of these are from the brand Captain 88, made in Japan. Sure, you could always make your own bias binding (and I think most of us do for quilts), but when I finally get my grubby paws on the Robson Trench Coat Pattern, you bet your butt I’m going to buy some ultra cute bias binding, even if I have to buy several packs at $3-$6 per pop. Also, I’ve been wanting to make a new pillow cover and bind it in piping, but the thought of making my own piping really bores me. Now I know where to get piping! (yes, I’m that lazy!)

One of the best items my mom bought me (yes, my mom still spoils me because she doesn’t have any grandkids) is a Karisma mechanical pencil for fabric. (I searched online and found it available on Superbuzzy, in case you want one, yes you do, trust me.) While I was looking at every single piece of fabric, for some reason my mom was looking at the sewing tools picking out things she thought I needed (even though I didn’t mention needing anything). However, I really did need a new chalk pencil because the pencil I normally use always breaks and never marks very well and my pencil sharpener sucks so I never have a fine point.

Second side note: I swear my mom can read my mind. There have been numerous occasions throughout my life where I’ll be thinking about needing something and then all of a sudden my mom will have bought it for me without even talking to me about it. Mom, get out of my head! No, wait, stay there! I like receiving unexpected gifts.

Anyway, when we were checking out the saleslady mentioned this pencil is really good so my mom bought one for herself too. This lady wasn’t kidding. This pencil is amazing! It’s a bit pricey at $10, but it comes with a refill cartridge and when you run out of lead you only have to buy another refill pack. I’ve only used the white lead on a dark fabric and it works like a charm. This is the only photo I’ve taken of it. The photo is crappy, but look, I can write legible words on fabric!

Day 83/365

There was also some other stuff in the store including needlework patterns, mini quilt block kits, some felt kits (according to my mom these felt things are apparently all the rage in Japan right now), Japanese quilting magazines (although no awesome Japanese patchwork books (BOO! and I looked through every single book on the bookshelf)), and laminated fabric. I’m sure I’m missing some other stuff, but you probably get the idea.

After all the time I spent looking at fabric I only ended up getting half a yard each of these two prints.

Momen+ Fabric Haul

I think they’ll go well with some fabric I currently have, but who knows what I’ll make and when I’ll get around to using them. But at least I have them.

Unfortunately for those out of the area Momen+ does not have an online store. But, if you live nearby, then definitely take a trip over to Momen+. I don’t know of any other shop in the area with this type of selection so I think it’s important to spread the word about this fantastic shop. My mom told me that I’m only allowed to go if I also stop by to see her. Lucky for my mom the shop is located just a bit too far from me to warrant frequent trips, so my mom doesn’t have to worry about me ignoring her.

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Have you seen the newest Sewaholic Pattern? A TRENCH COAT! Ahhhhh! I WANT IT NOW! No, seriously, I want the one that Tasia made because I love love love that color!

Except I can’t get the pattern. Well, no I can. But I won’t let myself buy it until I finish making the following Sewaholic Patterns that I have bought within the past year and haven’t finished:

I’m even cheating with the Thurlow Trousers because I’m using an old pair of pants that are somehow way too big on me now. I picked apart the seams, but I’ve been too lazy to get started on pants. I bought this pattern in August 2012…

I’m actually currently working on the Cambie Dress. I started it a week or two ago. I bought voile fabric (Dimitrios by Alexander Henry) from Hawthorne Threads and while I am in love with the fabric design I am not loving how see-through it is. Wah-wah…

Day 64/365

I definitely need lining, which I don’t have and I also need to buy a zipper. I have no idea when I’ll ever wear this dress because I think it’s a bit too nice to wear to the office. If I actually celebrated Easter, then it would be a PERFECT Easter dress. But my idea of an Easter Celebration is having an egg hunt in my parents’ backyard, which hasn’t happened in YEARS. Or maybe I can wear it when I go wine tasting one of these days. Eh, who knows. Hopefully I’ll manage to get off my butt tomorrow and make it over to Mood or the other fabric store and get some lining so I can finish this dress.

I really want to start working on the Minoru Jacket, but I need some fabric first. Maybe I’ll get some tomorrow. I have visions of a polka dot Minoru jacket, but I’m sure I’ll end up with black, navy, or dark grey. I’m planning on laying out all the pattern pieces to see exactly how much yardage I need. I bought 3 yards of fabric for the Cambie Dress and I cut all the pieces using only 2 yards, so I’m hopeful that I won’t actually need the full amount recommended for the Minoru Jacket. Oh the crap I do to save a couple bucks…

Anyhow, I’m determined to make all three patterns before I buy the Trench Coat. I really won’t need a trench coat till about mid-October, so I have some time. But I want it! I just want it! I feel like a little kid. Give it to me NOW! I want it NOW! Oh, and I recently decided I also want the “Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing” book. Why? I don’t know. The thought popped into my head earlier this week and now I’m convinced that I NEED the book. Oh, and Ayumi’s book, “Patchwork Please” is about to be released and I also NEED that too. Despite the fact that I bought the “Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt” book several months ago and have yet to make a single block. And I also decided that I NEED to find some estate sales in the area so I can try to find some vintage patterns.

I’m trying so hard not to be a pattern hoarder. I’m pretty good about not buying too much fabric, but patterns and books? Somehow I find it more difficult to resist them!

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I think from this point on I’ll only be blogging about the “365 Photos*” that I am most “proud” of or like the best or are actually worth blogging about….you get the idea. Part of the change up in documenting my progress is two-fold: (1) it is time consuming (also read: I’m lazy) to blog about each and every photo, especially when I’m getting accustomed to writing descriptions when I post the photo to Flickr, and (2) I don’t think it’s really necessary for me to blog about a photo of my dinner or other totally random photo from an exceptionally boring day.

With that said there are two photos from this past week that I really like and I think are worth sharing with everyone who happens upon my blog.

Day 61/365: March 2, 2013

I’m not sure how much the rest of the country (and world) paid attention to the Endeavour Space Shuttle making its journey to its final resting spot, but LA was abuzz with excitement because it was a pretty big deal when it happened. Not only is it awesome to say that the Space Shuttle is on exhibit in your city, but it was also a huge undertaking just getting the Space Shuttle from the airport across the city to the California Science Center. As an engineer myself, one that deals with roads, cities, utilities, etc, I thought it was very impressive. I’m actually surprised I waited this long to see the shuttle, but earlier in the week I decided it was time we see it!

I gotta say, seeing the shuttle in person was awesome. You know it’s huge, but then you see it in person and you’re overwhelmed with its size. And then you realize, holy shit, this thing was in space……numerous times. I was trying to find different angles and details to take photos of. I eventually captured this one as I walked along the back of the exhibition hall:

Day 61/365 - Endeavour

There are a ton of other exhibits at the California Science Center, but they’re mainly geared towards kids so we scooted out of there soon after exiting the Shuttle exhibit. On our way out this gazebo-type art installation just outside the building caught my eye.

California Science Center


Technically not part of the 365 Photos, but definitely better than most of the photos I took this week.

Day 62/365: March 3, 2013

Several months ago I was at Sew Modern and saw fabric with a fleur-de-lis pattern and just had to buy it. My mom had recently given me an old pattern for bow ties, ties, and cumberbunds so I made a bow tie for my husband. I recently finished it and then couldn’t figure out how to actually tie it. All the diagrams and sketches didn’t make any sense at all. I finally searched for a video and the first YouTube video I found was PERFECT! I tied it on the first try! So, if you want to know how to tie a bow tie, check out this video. Since the bow tie is a bit too big for my husband I tied it around my cat:

Day 62/365

Bailey looks so classy (and comfy) in that bow tie, doesn’t he? I really want to make a kitty-sized bow tie for him. My husband wants none of that, but I keep telling him to think of it as a bow tie collar. That makes it ok, right?

*see all other  365 Photos on Flickr here.

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Before the long weekend, which was a week ago, I had one and a half goals in mind to accomplish. The first was to buy fabric at a nearby fabric store. I walked in and walked out after perusing TONS of fabric for about 10 minutes. I think at least 3 different workers asked if I needed help (and apparently I could get swatches as well although I don’t even know what I would do with a swatch…), but every time I said “no, thanks, just looking!” when really I wanted to say “I have no idea what I’m doing here! what fabric should I choose for a dress? what about for a skirt? what about for a blouse? why are most of your fabrics unlabeled?” I seriously need to do more research on fabric so I know what I’m talking about when I go fabric shopping. There was one fabric that I really liked and it was a taupe color, which I’m not usually drawn to, but it was $49.95/yard! I’m definitely not experienced enough to be messing around with fabric that expensive.

Fabric shopping was a bust due to my insecurities in buying fabric, but I did make a skirt! First off, I don’t understand how people can say “oh I whipped this dress up in 2 hours!” because that seems absolutely impossible at my level of sewing. I could spend 2 hours cutting pattern pieces and fabric. Anyway, I used Simplicity 2698 (a Project Runway inspired pattern, which apparently is out of print, but you can order it online), which I bought years ago and have made before so luckily I didn’t need to spend time cutting out the pattern pieces.

Simplicity 2698

(Simplicity 2698, image from PatternReview.com)

I made Version I a couple years ago (the photographed red and white skirt on the left) and made it as shown in the pattern with the skirt sewn on top of the yoke (so the top of the pleats are exposed), but this time I wanted to sew the skirt so the pleats would be sewn between the yoke and facing.

Last Sunday evening I cut my fabric, which is a lightweight navy/black (I can’t quite tell) faux-denim looking cotton I bought at Joanns months ago in the “bottomweights” section, although it’s not nearly heavy or thick enough to be used for trousers, so I thought it would work well for a skirt. Not until I cut the skirt portion did I realize I was cutting Version J, which has two tiny pleats in the front and back. I made this version a couple years back as well, but didn’t like it as much because it flared out more and looked stiffer. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough fabric to cut Skirt I, so I went with what I had. But hey, don’t I look like quite the rookie!

Rookie Tip: Not only should you measure twice before cutting, you should also check your pattern pieces twice before cutting.

I didn’t start sewing till Monday and took a long break to watch “It’s a Good Day to Die Hard” (great action movie, terrible plot) and then finished the skirt in the evening. When I finally tried it on my husband literally proclaimed “oh wow, that looks great!!!“. He caught me off guard because he’s never expressed that much excitement towards anything I’ve made before. I think he was impressed with how well it fit, because it fits like a glove in the yoke (waistband) and the length is pretty good. Howevaaaaa….I totally screwed up my invisible zipper. Here is a comparison of invisible zippers on the skirt I made years ago and then one I just finished.

Zipper Comparison

1. Invisible Zipper, 2. Not Quite Invisible Zipper

Actually, the invisible zipper in the maroon skirt is so invisible it’s really difficult to zip, but at least it’s invisible! In my new skirt, I was so excited that I sewed in the zipper correctly on the first try (using Tasia’s method in the Crescent Skirt) that I didn’t even check to make sure I sewed the fabric close enough to the zipper. And trust me, the zipper is very exposed when I’m wearing the skirt. What’s the point of having an invisible zipper if you CAN SEE IT!!? This really bothers me, so I’ll need to redo it otherwise I’ll never wear it in public (anal enough? why yes, I am!).

Overall, the skirt is ok. It kinda flares out at the sides, which I knew would happen, but it still annoys me and I’m not sure how to correct it. Maybe it’s because I still haven’t trimmed the seam allowances on the side seams. Or maybe it’s just the design. Oh, I really wish I had the made the correct skirt! Here is what the skirt looks like.  I realize now I probably should have ironed it before taking a photo….

Simplicity 2698 - Skirt J

I really like this pattern and have made it enough times that I finally know exactly what size to use. When I first made a skirt from this pattern I was just learning how to sew garments so I based my size on the measurements on the back of the envelope without knowing that the big pattern companies allow for a ton of ease in their patterns. Usually the patterns also include a finished garment measurement, but this pattern only had a finished length measurement, which seems totally ridiculous since it’s so effing easy to alter the hem. Isn’t a finished waist measurement much more  necessary for a skirt?!!?!?

I started with a size 10 for the first skirt I made and then discovered that I had to take in the sides so much that my pockets were pretty much useless. After a couple more iterations, I finally determined my correct size is a 4, which is a huge difference!!! Now, I have pockets that I can actually stick my tiny hands in! Also, I took off at least 2 inches from the hem to accommodate my below-average height. And thankfully, past me remembered to  mark the correct hem length on the pattern!

I used the sewing instructions from the Crescent Skirt Sew-Along to sew this skirt because I like the clean look of the waistband facing and how the zipper is attached. Here is a comparison of the top of the zipper (maroon skirt was constructed using Simplicity’s instructions, black skirt was constructed using Sewaholic’s instructions):

Zipper Finish Comparison

1. Zipper Detail, 2. Simplicity 2698 – Zipper Detail

You can obviously tell in the maroon skirt that I had no idea how to properly finish the top of the zipper. It looks like shit. I also used french seams on the pockets and applied twill tape at the pocket seams and waistband per Sewaholic’s methods. Seriously, I may not have been a fan of the Crescent Skirt, but I am a huge fan of Sewaholic’s pattern instructions and details. A huge reason why I just bought Sewaholic’s Minoru Jacket and Cambie Dress Patterns during Tasia’s recent free shipping promotion! I’ve been dying to make my own jacket…I can’t wait! (I figure if I start the jacket in April, then it should be done in time for the start of the rainy season, which begins October 1st.)

Overall I’m pretty happy with this skirt. The fabric isn’t the best quality (I’ll probably need to wear a slip underneath or leggings) and I’m not a huge fan of the way it flares out at the sides, but I’m really satisfied with its construction and how fairly easily it went together. This is the fifth skirt I’ve made with this pattern (3 of the versions were “wearable” muslins) and it was sewn in record time (although, not 2 hours) so it gives me hope that I will eventually get the hang of sewing clothes. I am finally convinced that it does get better!

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