Mar 162012
 

I am excited to show you my first finished sewing object, my Pilgrim Skirt.  For the pattern, I started out using this pattern for a skirt with a pocket and ties from Craftsy, but later modified it to have a more fitted waistline and omitted the pocket and ties.  As a sewing newbie, I found the pattern straightforward and easy.  I wanted to learn how to sew a few years ago, but I failed to find appropriate beginner projects  and I abandoned the craft altogether in frustration.  This pattern is more of a tutorial and clarified for me several sewing mysteries that I couldn’t wrap my brain around before.  Who knew that sewing is actually not rocket science?

All in all, I am pleased with how this skirt turned out.  Previously, I wrote about how I was concerned about the excess fabric at the waist.  I had written that there was 6″ of excess fabric at the widest part of my hips, but that measurement was a guess.  When I went to take in the waist, I cut off about 10″ of fabric and it still seems to have  an excess of fabric.  I have no idea if the pattern called for that much excess fabric or if my sewing noviceness contributed to an error in my pattern drafting – – either way, too much fabric.

I tried on a few different outfit ideas with this skirt.  I recently gave away most of my clothing so I don’t have much left to wear, and hardly anything that matches with this brown linen skirt.  I definitely think this is a more casual skirt and that the fancy tights and wedge heels below are overkill.  But, I had to try.

The pattern calls for an elastic waistband.  One of the design features I thought I would like about this pattern is that the elastic does not go around the entire waistband, but instead is centered at the front.  In my previous career as a wannabe seamstress, I made a total of two skirts and one of them had elastic going around the circumference of the waistband, and I hated it.  With this skirt and its minimal use of elastic, I like it better than the fully elastic waistband, but I want to try making a fitted waist and zipper closure.  Elastic waistbands might be easy, but I don’t find them particularly flattering.

As for the name of my skirt, Pilgrim Skirt…  After I took in the waistband, I tried on the skirt to see how it looked.  At that point, I had not done any hemming along the bottom of the skirt and the dark brown linen hung to mid-calf and the ruffle lining hung several inches below that.  Josh came in and thought I was making a costume pilgrim skirt, and the name just stuck.

The only portion of this project that I found frustrating was working with the ruffle lining material.  Because I am such a sewing newbie, I didn’t have an appreciation for how different fabrics are easier to work with than others.  The outer fabric is a nice linen and it was remarkably easy to work with.  When I pressed the hems, they easily pressed straight and stayed in place.  When I placed it under the presser foot, the linen practically sewed itself.  By contrast, the lining material is a slippery material (maybe polyester, but I’m an idiot and didn’t pay attention).  When I pressed the lining material, no amount of pressing and no amount of pinning would keep the hems in place.  And for the life of me, I could not get anything straight – – hems or stitching, it’s all wonky.  Then when I tried to sew it, I was unable to sew in a straight line or keep the fabric from bunching up under itselft.  My seam ripper got a lot of use during this process and I wanted to pull my hair out.

I considered abandoning the ruffle lining, but I liked the way that it made the outer fabric poof.  I was concerned that not adding the pocket, ties, or other embellishment was going to make this a boring brown skirt, but I think the ruffle lining gives it a little bit of interest.  Also, considering my lack of sewing skills, I think that adding embellishments to this skirt would have made it look very homemade-looking.

In working on this skirt, I learned several skills, one of which I am particularly excited about: blind stitch hems.  I have been browsing through sewing stuff on Pinterest and stumbled upon this tutorial for blind hems.  I worked through the tutorial and was amazed at how easy it was to work a blind hem, and I think the finished hem looks pretty good (though, it is not perfect).  As I was getting ready to do my hemming, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually own a blind hem stitch foot!  My sewing machine came with all of this stuff and I have no idea what most of it is, which is an indication of my sewing level of expertise.  Anyway, I practiced my blind hemming on a piece of scrap linen and found that if I adjusted the stitch width and length dealies to the 5 mark (I don’t have a clue what this means) that it looked and functioned the best on this fabric.

Now that I have successfully made a skirt, I am jazzed about sewing more pieces for my wardrobe.  Here are some ideas that I am considering for my next project…

On Pinterest, I found a tutorial to make a pinwheel skirt.  I read through the tutorial and determined that it seemed like a possible second project, adding a few more skills to my skill box, but sufficiently simple that it would be compatible with my level of sewing expertise.  For this project, I bought some more linen (having learned that I enjoy working with linen) and some lace tape stuff (not sure what this is, but it looks pretty).  This skirt has a fitted waist with a zipper closure, which is what I would like to work on.

Next, I have this Very Easy Vogue pattern (V8328) for a tulip/bubble skirt that I bought during my first attempt at sewing (and even tried to make it, but found that even Very Easy Vogue was Too Difficult For Jennifer).  I would like to try making it again because I think it is so cute, though this might be a better third or fourth project for when I am a little better at sewing.  The fabric I bought for this is also linen, a dark blue linen and a matching plaid linen, and I thought this would be an interesting combination (and sorry, the colorways are not at all accurate in the below photo).  This pattern also has a fitted waist and a zipper closure.  I am partial to View B which has a larger waistband.

Oh, and here is the version of the tulip skirt that I made years ago.  It is awful.  I have been thinking about taking it apart and trying to sew it together again, now that I am an expert seam ripper, but it might be un-salvageable.  Just in this one project I have recently made, I have learned WAY more about sewing than I knew when I tackled this skirt, so I know I could make this tulip skirt better than the below example, but I might need to get one or two more projects under my sewing belt before trying this one again.

Finally, there are some tops I would like to make, though I haven’t decided which fabric for which pattern.  The blue and white fabric is cotton broadcloth and the white fabric with flowers is poly-cotton.  For the Simplicity 2447 (an ‘easy to sew’ pattern), I am partial to View E (the short sleeve version), and for Simplicity 1886, I am partial to View D and E (sleeveless with the ruffle down the front).

Any thoughts on which would be a good second sewing project???

 

  One Response to “~ FO: Pilgrim Skirt ~”

  1. I think you might have great success with Simplicity 1886 for your next projects. I find that Simplicity patterns are, in fact, simple. And your broadcloth and polycotton should both be simple to work with. I kinda like the white for the tank?

    Also, I want to share that Vogue patterns, even Very Easy Vogue, can be incredibly confusing had have some fairly complicated construction elements. I find myself turning the air blue over Vogue patterns fairly regularly. That said, I am almost always happiest with clothing items sewn from a Vogue pattern. The complicated construction elements tend to make for well-fitted garments that have a less “homemade” look and feel. But not really beginner projects. I am enthusiastic about your acquisition of new sewing skills and look forward to the day when we can curse knowingly about the complicated construction elements involved in Vogue patterns!

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