Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Finally, Success! A Self-Drafted, Cotton Candy Skirt

Yay, Readers!  I did it!

What did I do?, you might ask.  I made a garment that is not only wearable, but, unlike the first Little Miss skirt, it turned out really great.  And, I drafted the pattern myself.  Now, I'm really on my way!

The Cotton Candy Skirt

So, how did this all come about?

First, I did some more experimenting with old t-shirts for fabric.  I used one old t-shirt to make an ultra-fitted skirt (built to Little Misses's own specifications), to wear to drama camp.  This gave me more experience with stretch knit fabrics. 

I used tissue underneath and on top of the fabric, and pinned my self-drafted pattern (which consisted of her exact measurements from waist to knees, with no wearing ease) carefully on top. 

Before removing the tissue, but after I unpinned the pattern pieces, I zigzag stitched the edges of the fabric all around to prevent the edges from rolling, twisting, and jumping around.  I tore off the tissue when done with this step.  I used tweezers to remove the tissue from under the stitching.

Then, I carefully pinned the front and back pieces together, sewed the side seams, added the elastic to the waist, and hemmed.  Voila, a decent skirt, though obviously homemade.

Then, I experimented with drafting an A-line version, using the instructions from Sew What? Skirts!, by Francesca DenHartog, which I had found in the library and read voraciously.  Other than the new shape, my sewing steps were identical to the previous skirt.

Finally, I decided to stop messing around with torn up old clothes as fabric.  I was going to do it right! 

I found a super sweet, bright pink cotton sateen with a light contrast fleur de lis like pattern at the fabric store. 

As I was walking past the remnants bin, I found a sheer fabric with an embroidered design similar to that on the main fabric!  And, there was just enough. So I snatched it up. 

{I placed some white fabric underneath so you can see the swirl in the sheer fabric}


I also found a bright pink velveteen ribbon for the waistband, and a matching, narrow, frilly ribbon to trim the hem.







 Pattern Manipulation

I took the A-line pattern I had drafted, retraced it, slashed it, and spread it to create a fuller A-line shape. 

I also decided to do all the sewing the right way, no shortcuts! 
I made sure to use the correct grain of the fabric ( I didn't even know what this meant when I first started out). 

Pressing Seams

I pressed to one side, then pressed open, turned under, and sewed my seam allowances.  What a difference this makes!  My seams are so neat and pretty!  It's not just idle work, people. 








I topstitched the waistband ribbon, and threaded the elastic through. 

(Previously, I had stitched the elastic to the top of the waistband on the right side, then turned under twice and stitched, with messy but functional results.) 

I basted the curved hem before pressing, turning it up twice and topstitching.  My topstitching is so neat, you can hardly see where it begins and ends! 

I had another sewing revelation--remove the darn arm table for greater control and paradoxically faster stitching.

Instead of hemming the sheer fabric, I finished it with the frilly ribbon, topstitching again.  This lets the sheer fabric hang down a little longer than the main fabric, and lets the frilly ribbon seem to "float" beneath. 

I thought the ribbon would be enough to prevent the sheer fabric from unraveling at the hem, but alas I needed to use some fray check for extra safety.  I then trimmed away any edges not covered by the ribbon.

 Little Miss LOVES this skirt, and so do I! 

Flower Girl Dress Design Inspiration

If only I had made it in cream instead of pink, it could have served as her flower girl skirt for the wedding.  Of course, she wants a dress that matches mine. 

I'll probably use the same skirt pattern, but use tulle as the sheer overlay, insert a zipper instead of the elastic, and trace a bodice from a sleeveless fancy dress she already owns.  Then, I'll add a waist sash in a contrasting color. 

In fact, I might do that before any further work on my own dress, so I can gain some more experience before cutting into my fancy fabric.  I had thought I would save hers for last, since she is growing, but I doubt she would actually outgrow an entire size in the next eight weeks.  Hmmm, let's see....

Readers, how did you reach your sewing Ah-hah moment?  What was your first favorite project?

Till next time,--Ayana

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