Archive for the ‘Simplicity’ 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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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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