Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Getting From A to B

I had an epiphany a couple of days ago, as I was trying to decipher how I'd turn an unlined, vented pencil skirt-with-self-fabric-facing pattern into a lined, vented pencil skirt with petersham-facing pattern.

I know, it sounds boring, but it was the substance of an a-ha!

Here's what I realized. The V8640 pattern instructions are not going to help me this time. Fortunately, I've used them a few times already, so the nub is engrained. But you can't use instructions that don't instruct you to do what you need to do.

Being the internet research queen that I am (oh, I'll go there), I found awesome tutorials on how to accomplish the task. In addition to those, I have to credit Ms. Sewaholic, Tasia, who does amazing tutorials that rival her excellent patterns. This young woman is an example to us all... Check out these relevant posts:
What I finally understood is that point A is the place where nothing exists. Point B is the finished product. The only way to get from one to the other is to problem-solve. The only way to problem-solve is to determine the order of operations.

Were I to begin assembling the Tailored Suit skirt, without understanding all the steps, the likelihood would be error. One thing I've learned from working on very detailed projects is that you need to know exactly what comes next (at least theoretically).

So, I spent a few hours compiling and cross-referencing the awesome tutorials that others have spent hours compiling, and came up with 32 steps of (really detailed) skirt-making instruction.

Below, I'm outlining the (as-yet-untested) basic order of operations (not detailed). For my own purposes, I referenced a bunch of great sections of the Sewaholic and Fashionable stitch tutorials mentioned in this post or linked to. 
  • Sew the fashion fabric darts. Sew vent. Sew side seams.
  • Sew the lining tucks. Sew vent. Sew side seams.
  • Confirm the lining is the appropriate length. Make those adjustments.
  • Attach the petersham facing to the lining (now it's called the facing/lining unit).
  • Insert the zipper into the facing/lining unit.
  • Insert the facing/lining unit to the skirt at the zipper, and then at the waist.
  • Attach the lining to the vent of the skirt shell.
  • Hem the skirt shell.
  • Invisibly slip stitch a turned-under lining to the hemmed skirt shell.
Note: I've distilled 32 detailed steps into 9 bullets. There's a lot I'm not getting into. But it gives you an idea.

How do you approach new elements of TNT projects? How do you approach projects in general? Let's talk.


  1. So true. I have a bad habit of avoiding thinking about these tiny steps until I'm actually at my sewing table. Up til then, I procrastinate while letting the issue simmer on my brain's back burner. Not very efficient.

    This week I'm finishing UFOs, which is always hard. Last night, I lay awake trying to envision every single step that will be involved in redoing my skirt's waistband. It was hard to stay focused! But having done that, I feel a little more ready to tackle it for realz today.

    1. Me too! And those UFOs are tough. I generally lose interest at a certain point.

  2. This kind of stuff just makes my head spin! I wish I was better at this part!
    Sometimes I lie in bed trying to visualise how stuff works. It never helps me, never. lol. I gotta see it in pictures in front of me, sigh!

    1. It comes over time. I've come to realize that there are things my brain can sort out that it just could not a year ago or 2 years ago. It's just about developing brain synapses and skills. It comes over time, through experience. Look at what great work you're doing so early on. You will build on that and be able to come up with the steps very soon. Sooner than I could - I'm sure! (Here's hoping I've got those steps right, while we're at it. :-))