Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Should-Have-Been-Simple Skirt

One of the things I am interested in doing is making more clothes.  However, the idea of sewing clothes is a lot more intimidating to me than making craft items.  There just are so many more variables.  And I'm very much an overthinker (which is quite in contrast to my own mother, who can think up an idea and have it executed in an hour).  But I'm trying to have the attitude of Mrs. Frizzell from The Magic Schoolbus -- "Go ahead!  Make mistakes!  Get messy!"

So......or should I say "sew....."?  A while back I bought some fabric to make a skirt for my daughter, who is thin and tall.  I used a skirt she already wore as a general pattern, but I added two inches to the length, just to be on the safe size.  I roughly followed the directions in Sew What! Skirts, although I have to say I haven't had great luck with that book, somehow it has not been as straightforward as I thought.

I sewed the skirt up, even adding a lining, and putting in an invisible zipper (for that I used the directions on Kay Whitt's blog here).  It turned out not perfect, but certainly wearable EXCEPT.....instead of having extra length, it came out way too short:(

This was particularly galling to me since I purposefully had cut the skirt long (I thought).  What should have been a quick job now turned into more complicated calculations.  There was nothing for it but to cut a new piece and add it to the bottom.  I tried to think it all through, but my powers of thinking failed me, and the new piece was still a little short!

Frustrated, but determined to persevere,  I added hem tape to the bottom of the piece and then machine-hemmed the skirt.
Lastly, I covered over the extra seam with grosgrain ribbon, which involved a trip to the store and some tedious edge-stitching (I never sew without having an occasion to be reminded that "the seam ripper is my friend" -- my personal sewing mantra).  At this point I just wanted to be done, hence the very amateurish job on the ribbon.
Now the skirt is a little too LONG!  Too late for any more changes, though.  It will have to do.  And really, this is more of a winter skirt.  It would have been better if I had made it back in the fall.  Sigh.  I am so often a season behind.  Nevertheless, I think it turned out okay and I can check it off my list.

Next up is an Easter a spring dress for me.  I hope I get it done before next winter.........


  1. Good job! Clothes are definitely harder than quilts!

  2. I did enjoy reading this - so glad I am not the only one to have to repeat "the seam ripper is my friend"!! Although even the seam ripper turns its nose up at undoing zig zag stitching when I have forgotten to change the setting on the sewing machine and scooted down a long seam oblivious! I know this skirt had been a deal of trouble to make but I think you've done a great job - that fabric is lovely and you've lined the skirt as well so it will be beautiful to wear. I think you are very brave to strike out without a pre-drawn pattern as well. I also love to make my own clothes but dare not embark without a professional pattern. I seem therefore to end up with a few, very old, well-used patterns that are falling to bits but have been tested in the refiner's fire so to speak and found they do actually work! You may inspire me to go a bit more free-form! Hope you and all the family have a lovely Easter. Elizabeth xxx

  3. I haven't sewn clothes in decades and can't imagine how much I would be using my ripper!! You Go looks great and I know your Easter dress will also!!


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