I spent today, and yesterday, making the New Look 1-hour skirt. About 8 hours, it took me. And just about everything that could have gone wrong went in that direction.
OK, I'm being dramatic. Here's what went wonky:
- The fucking zipper insertion. I can see that my new machine doesn't like that double-sided tape I'm so attached to when it comes to putting in zips. I went through 3 needles on this task and I think the end result looks vaguely "made by drunk mice".
- The waistband. Oh Lord. I've finally come to terms with something (which I've mentioned before but I'm going to clearly admit to it right now): I have "issues" with waistbands. The problem is, I can't figure out the difference between a waistband and a facing. I know! It's ridiculous. Of course, I know the difference. It just doesn't make any difference when I'm trying to make one. Or the other. And good luck following the directions. It's like my brain stops thinking as soon as start looking at the waist section. This waistband was supposed to have a button but, um, that didn't happen. (More on this below...)
- The topstitched hem. See "made by drunk mice". I should have lengthened the stitch but, in my sew-blood sugar state, I forgot. I've also got this whack need to make the hem look as consistent on the wrong side as on the right side and, really, short of a cover stitch machine or serious talent, that just doesn't happen. I've got to get a cover stitch machine.
On the plus side, I've discovered a little waist trick that's genius (and stupidly easy): Make every waistband 5 inches longer than it needs to be. Then you will NEVER have to worry that it doesn't ease in properly. I did this, this time, and it's the only thing that saved my ass.
Some pluses of this project:
- I don't know where I found it, or what it's called?!?!, but I used the best fucking interfacing ever. It's fusible, white and it doesn't have a bit of stretch. I was skeptical (locating it at the bottom of my stash), but I'm a convert. If only I knew how to find it again...
- The fabric (stash stretch denim) is awesome. I'm so sad not to have anymore. I've made a few things with it, having bought it a number of times, and it has perfect stretch and drape.
- It's a really great skirt and it fits perfectly. It's simple but it does the trick and I can see myself making it a zillion more times. The last time I made it - that being the first time I'd ever sewn anything - it didn't look so hot on completion. OMG, when I look at that first skirt now, I'm part proud, part amused and part horrified. Just the perfect reaction, I suspect. On the nascent-sewist, first go-round, I cut the pattern tissue in the size 12 - not really understanding size when first I started sewing - and it means that this time, with my current dimensions, I need to use scant 1/2 inch seams on a fabric with little give. That's fine, since I have a serger. This skirt reminds me that I should consider making 12s with smaller seams, rather than making 14s that are just nominally too big everywhere.
- I kept my cool when this could have failed quite a few times and, as a result, I have a wearable garment: I had some pretty serious waist issues and no extra fabric and I'd ripped out seams twice (about the limit before fabric starts to stretch and get yucky) when I figured out some things... I couldn't reinsert the zipper, which would have been best given how I'd positioned it with the metal zip top at the exact top of the back pieces (how you want it when you're inserting a facing but not a waistband!). That was just bound to end in disaster, I could tell. So I finagled the seams such that the band actually rises as you move towards the zip (it's impossible to explain this, but you'd know what I mean if I showed you) in a very gradual, which is to say unobservable, way. Then I decided that the worst part of a waistband is that it gets bulky where all of those seam allowances meet, so I opted not to press up the wrong-side seam. The fabric was serged and neat so I just stitched in the ditch from the front so that the seam caught the single-layer (vs regular-style double-layer) serged edge on the wrong side. Not only did it give me a slightly wider waistband, but it cut down on bulk considerably. This technique is like a cross between facing (slim but potentially floppy) and a waistband (secure, but bulky and hard to sew down from the right side so that the wrong side still looks neat). And I finally realized that stitching in the ditch is actually under stitching - it's simply done from the right side of the fabric.
So, I can't say that the Five in Five has been fun, so far (ask me about the pattern alterations I've spent quite a while making on V8790, the next top I'm intending to make). But it has yielded two wearable items.
I'm so hoping that I'm going to start enjoying this soon.
Today's questions: Do you ever get into a phase where all the sewing seems difficult - even the "easy" things? Do you sew some crappy hems and mediocre zippers and still wear the garments they're attached to out of the house? Do waistbands confuse you??? I don't know why they're so complicated but I always have to think 8 times when I encounter one. Kind of takes the easy out of garments that cover one's lower half :-) Make me feel better, please!