Sunday, May 12, 2013

Pencil Skirt Plus

Ever since I spied Sheila's (Sheilaz-CTKHoundstooth check pencil skirt, I've been on the hunt for fabric to make my own. More recently Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) made a dress in Houndstooth Ponte. Thanks to Carolyn, I was able to procure a fabulous piece of from The blouse  is Vogue 8747.

I was able to knock-off Sheila's look and was overjoyed with the result. I wish I had better pictures but that would mean I'd need a better photographer (aka husband)! Read and follow the instructions below for making your own Pencil Skirt Plus.

1 yard ITY knit
Double needle (optional)
1" elastic
Washable marker

Use 1/4" seams 
Fabric is doubled
  1. Trim fabric to desired finished length plus 6".
  2. Measure and mark width to hip measure plus 1/2".
  3. Measure and mark 2 1/2" across width - set aside for waistband
  4. Measure and mark inward 2" on each side of what will be hem edge.
  5. Measure and mark upward from hem 7-9" from hem on side seam. 
  6. Trim gradually back to side seam.
  7. Trim "pattern" as marked
  8. Sew side seams.
  9. Using Steam-A-Seam, turn under 1" hem.
  10. Top-stitch hem.
  11. Step into skirt and tie elastic around waist.
  12. Adjust skirt around waist until hem hangs evenly.
  13. Use the washable marker to mark waist.
  14. Trim.
  15. Stitch waistband leaving 1/2 of folded waistband  open
  16. Fold waistband in half and stitch to skirt.
  17. Insert and secure elastic.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

MAXImum effect

I'm still cleaning. The only room left is my bedroom and that will be an all summer project. I'm getting rid of clothes that I no longer wear, fit, or just don't like. After that I'll be removing the carpeting and shopping for a new bedroom suite. I'm in no particular hurry.

The sewing room has been organized and "decluttered." I even managed to "eek" out two "new" maxi dresses.

So what's new about these maxis? Both fabrics are from my New York trip to PR weekend one year ago. Believe it or not, it's the same pattern (McCalls's 6559) that all of my maxis have been made from. I got the idea to use the collar from Vogue 1179 and voile'. The Vogue collar required absolutely no alterations. It fit as though it were drafted that way. Lucky me.

I have absolutely perfected the McCalls pattern for the perfect fit. Just a quick review...I added a bust dart, raised the neckline 1", raised the armhole 3/4" and added 2" additional length. I noticed on the maxis I made last year, the waist wasn't exactly hitting at my smallest part (caused by the weight of the fabrics pulling the dress down). So I raised the waistline 2", while adding 2" additional inches to the length at the hemline.

While it may look like it, I didn't use my coverstitch to hem or to stitch the armholes. I instead stitched both with a double needle on my regular machine.

Unfortunately while trimming threads and tidying up the inside construction, I accidently cut a small hole near the underarm. I decided not to try to repair it as I thought any fiddling with the whole might make it look worst. When it comes to sew I am usually quite fearless. My one fear is cutting a hole in my garment while trimming seams with either scissor or my serger. Oh goes on. I really want to make a few more maxis for the summer. In a way I'm worried that people might think it's the only thing I own. Decisions, decisions...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

We Interrupt This Blog...

There is absolutely no sewing going on here. I am in the throes of Spring cleaning. The cleaning also included my sewing closet. My closet was such a mess I couldn't find anything. Monday night I pulled every single piece of fabric out of my closet and quite unceremoniously piled it on the floor. Since then I have sorted, washed, folded and replaced about 90% of my stash and will be donating or tossing the remaining 10 percent. Where it seemed I had no room before, I have all kinds of room now. There's still more cleaning and organizing to be done but  I hope to be able to sew this weekend.

The weather has completely turned around here in Michigan and I was happy to unpack my maxi dresses from last year. I made five last year and will be adding at least another five this year. To that I will also be adding several dresses that are not maxi but will be sewing from my stash. I am putting myself on serious fabric and pattern waivers. I was having a serious "Hoarders" moment with all the fabric on the floor and I don't want to have to experience that again. The only fabrics I'm going to allow myself to purchase are linings. Wish me luck.