Tuesday, June 2, 2009

BWOF 03-2009-104, High Waist Pencil Skirt

Thumbnail

Back when I didn't have much time to sew because I was a student or working a lot in the private sector I made mostly skirts. They're quick, easy, instant gratification. I made dozens of brightly colored print skirts and bought t-shirts in a rainbow of colors from H&M to wear with them. A print skirt with a (nice) t-shirt was my uniform for many years. Since I have had time to get into sewing more complicated garments, I've not made many skirts over the past few years and my skirt wardrobe has stayed stagnant. It's a little bit of a problem because I don't sew many solid-colored items, so although I own over 50 skirts (a friend made me count once when I said I didn't have a skirt to wear) I actually don't have many skirts that match the tops I've sewn because most of them are prints. Also, most of the skirts are A-line and I've been craving pencil skirts. When I saw the BWOF 03-2009-104, I was smitten--pencil skirt, high waist, yoke pockets, curved waistband princess panels. I loved everything about it.

Pocket Situation

I first discussed my pocket situation with this skirt in mid-May. When I made the white skirt as drafted, the pocket show-through was awful. I had fully lined the skirt, but most commenters suggested that I needed to underline the front between the fashion fabric and the pockets.

With front underlining


So I ripped some seams and cut out an underlining of a heavyweight stretch twill and pinned it in place. The situation was improved, but not fixed by any stretch. The pockets were not necessarily showing through per se, but the outline of the pocket was clearly visible because of the seam ridge. I had this same issue to a less disturbing extent with the Kasia Skirt; I didn't like it there but decided I could live with it. On this one, I felt the skirt was still unwearable

Pocket bag solutionSo I let it sit for a few days. As discussed in the original post, I considered just cutting the pockets out altogether and stitching the pocket opening closed. I really didn't want to lose the functionality of the pockets (not that I am one to actually put things in pockets). Cidell had pointed out on the phone that in jeans the fashion fabric extends about one inch below the pocket line and then the rest of the pocket is a lightweight cotton. So I decided to apply that principal.

I cut the pocket bag off one inch below the pocket line, and then I cut out replacement pocket bags of batiste. I cut them shorter than the original draft because if they were *still* going to show through I didn't want them to show through at the widest part of my saddlebag. The big thing was that I cut them on the fold so that the bottom edge is a fold and not a seam. I put the first one in sideways (don't ask me how) and panicked when the skirt was too distorted even to put on until I figured out what I had done, but then finally installed them both correctly and FINALLY had fixed the show through situation.

Boned side seamsBut of course, all was not well with this endless project of doom. Now I put on the skirt and saw that the side seams above the pocket edge and below the waistband were bunching horribly. It was still unwearable after all the work. I'm not really sure what caused this problem; it could have been the addition of the heavyweight underlining to the front. I think part of the issue is that I stabilized the pocket opening edge with ribbon, but I might have eased the fashion fabric too much onto the ribbon and shortened the pocket edge. I also think I might have gotten the pocket placement on the side seam wrong, and placed the pocket below where it should be.

At any rate, there is certainly some kind of problem in the pocket area. But I was absolutely not ripping up the whole thing again. So I decided to go slapdash. I sewed boning into the side seams. You can see the dramatic difference this made. I haven't yet worn the skirt and I don't know how the boning is going to be while I'm sitting at my desk for long periods of time. Hopefully it will hold. I hand-sewed it into the side seam allowances so my hand stitches will pop if there is too much pressure, rather than shredding the side seam (at least that's the plan).


Fabric HaulYou would think I'd be done with this pattern after that trauma, but I wanted to try it again without the pockets. I went into stash and pulled out the last piece I bought at PR Weekend 2007 that was still in stash. I have now officially completed sewing up all my purchases! The maroon knit was a horrible wadder I may or may not get around to documenting, and let us not speak of my disastrous velvet skirt, but everything else was more or less successful.

TopstitchingI didn't have exactly the right color of thread (which is sort of surprising, considering how many colors I *do* have). I liked the idea of doing a dressier denim-skirt substitute, so I topstitched using a light gray. For the curved seams on the waistband, I clicked the needle one click to the right or left and ran the foot down the center of the seam. This worked perfectly as a guide. I used a twin needle on the top and bottom of the waistband and the hem.

The blue version is a lot less fussy, but does not fit perfectly. I carefully walked the tissue to make sure that the yoke pockets did not include a rotated dart and they did not appear to. I don't know if I missed something, but the front does not fit smoothly. There are wrinkles just below the waistband from the center radiating toward the side. Said wrinkles basically form an arrow pointing to my tummy (I meant to take a picture standing straight but forgot; it's really obvious when I'm standing straight). As I cannot stomach (har har) the thought of doing a full belly adjustment, I'm going to let this pattern go. But I actually do like both versions of this skirt and look forward to wearing them this summer and beyond.

Some notes
-I did my usual BWOF sizing--36 at the waist, 38 at the hip and in this skirt it is rather snug. Had I not used fabrics with lycra, I doubt I could wear them at all. With the lycra they have a nicely hugging fit. I have been feeling bloated lately but I think objectively my measurements are the same as usual. The magazine calls for fabric with stretch, so I think it is designed with extremely minimal ease. Keep this in mind when choosing your fabric; size up if you don't have lycra.

-Rather than calling for lining, the original design is just for a waist facing. I think that would look chintzy in such a structured style and I fully lined both of mine (love the surprise maroon lining in the blue).

-This calls for a side seam zip. With the pocket, I felt that would definitely be too much going on at the side seam, so I moved it to the back for the white version. This allowed me to add a CB seam, which I needed for swayback adjustment. After the weird side seam crumpling issues in the white version, I kept it in the back for the blue version.

-I used heavy interfacing on the outer waistband pieces, and the waistband has no issue staying up or crumpling.

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.

20 comments:

mjb said...

I'm amazed at your patience! My projects would have ended up in the unfinished projects and lingered there long term after one or two times have to rip out stitching. Great job, and thanks for showing all of the details.

Trudy Callan said...

Wow! Awesome job! Thanks for sharing.

www.sewingwithtrudy.blogspot.com

BConky said...

They both look cute even if you had troubles making them. The patterns were not designed for lining so that is part of the reason that they fit tight. Lining is light weight but still makes the garment fit tighter.

Rachelle said...

I really appreciate reading posts like this, about how people find themselves in a sewing bind, and how they overcome it. I've learned SO MUCH from reading about what people's near-wadders, and what they did to turn them into wearable garments.

Incidentally, I'm already a firm believer in the virtue of a bit of boning; I keep a rather large stash of boning on hand for exactly the same sort of thing! I'm so glad I'm not the only one!

Byrdie said...

I love them! They are very flattering on you!

Marita said...

I love that blue skirt and the green shoes and the bolero and....it's so nice when people share pics of their stashed fabrics with others LOL!!!!

Cindy said...

Pockets are a scary area of sewing for me. I love the denim with the topstitching!!

Sue said...

Great skirts. Well done for overcoming all the issues! I am sewing a different high wasited BWOF skirt at the moment and am sucking up all the tips I can, so thanks for your detailed post and pictures. BTW, I am lining mine when they didn't call for lining either - can't imagine a skirt of this style without lining (plus my lining is red...Snap!)

AllisonC said...

I too admire your patience in fixing the white skirt. It was really worth it, both versions look great and now you have over 52 skirts in your wardrobe!

Faye Lewis said...

WoW Trina you are a sewing machine! Love your Burda styles. Thanks for the comment about my jacket. LOVED THE NEW POD CAST, listened it last night.

Carol said...

I like this skirt, but I'm not sure it would work on me. Too much emphasis in the hip area is something I don't need. I have an 80's panelled high waisted skirt I might try this weekend, because I do like the look and it is flattering. I, too, love the look with the green shoes and bolero. Very, very chic!

Kim Hood said...

Oh what patience!
I listened to the podcast yesterday (and my Burda arrived this morning - darn. I will have to listen again with the mag with me) and enjoyed it enormously - thankyou for explaining 'grody'! I have adopted it as a new word now I understand what it means.

Uta said...

I love these skirts, and I think they really flatter your figure - making you look curvy in the best sense of the word. Having "the hips" myself, I'll keep this pattern in mind - wouldn't have considered it without you. Also, kudos on your perseverance!

Michelle said...

Love the skirts!! Great save on the pockets.

melissa said...

wow great detective work here! I really would've never thought to have the pocket bag on the fold, I'm storing that tip away for later...

and *sigh* I love boning! Is there anything it can't fix? (I always sew mine in using a zipper foot, though, so if your hand stitching is anywhere near as crap as mine you could try that if it pops out)

DanainDFW said...

I especially like the white one... very attractive outfit.

Lisette M said...

Well, even with all your troubles the skirts look great

lorrwill said...

Can you stand one more compliment on a job well done? :-)

Marji said...

50+ ?!Holy Cow Trena, you must have a ton of closet space. Print fabrics are so much more fun to buy than solids, aren't they?

I do like the style on that skirt.
Hint on solving the pocket show-through on white/light fabrics in the future: cut your pocket bag out of a flesh colored fabric. And/or underline a white using a v lightweight flesh colored fabric. Did you happen to see the skirt and pants I made for my sister of an almost white poly? The poly was so see-through, but I ended up choosing a flesh colored Poly chiffon, of all things, for an underlining, and the show through problem was solved totally!

Hanna said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.