Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Butterick 5333, Experimenting with Straight Skirts

B5333 Thumbnail

When I bought my $20/yard-most-expensive-ever-piece-of-fabric alleged Versace boucle from Golden D'Or in Dallas over the holidays, I knew this was one pattern I'd want to muslin before cutting into it. I want the skirt to be a wardrobe staple for years to come and if it turned out not-quite-right I would be very disappointed. I want something straight and fitted but not pencil, because a pencil skirt can be a little confining to walk and sit in. I also want a separate waistband that sits at natural waist. A waistband looks nicer when items are tucked (in my opinion), and natural waist is rarely "in style" but is not faddish like a high or low waist and can weather the waistline storms over the years.

For the straight skirt being such a classic, I found few patterns that fit my vision. A couple of the Butterick wardrobe patterns have skirts with two darts in front and back, which I thought might be helpful for my large belly and derriere. I chose Butterick 5333, the Mrs. Obama wardrobe as I call it, as it was clearly riffing off her famous black and white dress from the campaign.

When I had enough of the black and pink houndstooth wool left to test out the pattern I was so pleased. I have fabric I can use for muslin, of course, but for the boucle I think I'm going to get the best results if I test the pattern in fabric of a similar weight. Darts in a thick wool are going to behave differently than darts in a thin fabric.

Based on the finished measurements, I cut a straight size 12 and the fit is excellent. This was a pleasant surprise. Not the size 12 part, the fitting part.

Crooked Print at Waistline As I mentioned when reviewing the dress of the this fabric, the print is not quite on grain. In the comments, some suggested that I sew with grain instead of print. However, this is a judgment call, in my opinion, and I am more comfortable with a slightly off drape than with a crooked print. I feel that a crooked print would be much more noticeable and make me more self-conscious.

And speaking of crooked print, this is what happened when I put together the waistline. UGH!!!!! You can see where I thread-traced the line of the print. Although this skirt is wearable, it is definitely a wearable muslin for me. It's a bit of a unitasker skirt because it can only be worn with black (other ideas welcome). Life is too short to wear black, in my opinion. I wore it with this black tee and a black jacket to have a "friendly" meeting with opposing counsel (which turned out to be not so friendly!), so it is good for "less than a suit" work stuff, but not something I'll wear often. So I was loath to go to the trouble of fixing the ugliness of the print. But after letting it sit for a day I acknowledged that I would *never* wear it with the horrible print effect at the waistband and picked it out. The waistband itself was also crooked so I had to recut, but I didn't have enough fabric to recut on grain so I did it on cross-grain and had to add side seams, which adds bulk at the waistband. But it's still better than crooked.

Lapped Zipper!!!! My big excitement for this skirt was my first successful lapped zipper!!!! Yes, it deserves four exclamation points. For the dress, I inserted a centered hand-picked zipper, but felt that the centered zip wasn't perfect because the lips open up a little and the zipper can be seen. So for the skirt, I decided to try my hand at a lapped zipper.

I think I have tried one once before and it was something of which we shall not speak. So I searched the web for help and found this video tutorial from What Would Nancy Drew Wear. Note: clicking on the video launches YouTube in a separate window and then the video begins to play on *both* the blog and YouTube (at least it did for me). Turn one of them off or they will be playing a second or two off from each other and impossible to understand! The video holds your hand all the way through the process. I mimicked Lisette's moves exactly. I think I made the lap a little too large but as a technical matter, it is perfect. I was on a high for the rest of the day. And the next day I realized...a fly zip is just a variant of the lapped zip. (Right?) OMG, could I actually handle a fly zip?

Hem Lace and Lining French Seams There's not much more to say about this project. It's a skirt, for heaven's sake. I used hem lace again, though I used a machine blind stitch rather than hand hem. Sorry the pic is low quality. I lined this one in off-white rayon instead of pink because I bought a ton of the off-white and not as much of the pink and wanted to save the pink for projects I'm more excited about.

Unfortunately, this pattern is not The One. The overall fit is great and the back lies smoothly over my posterior. But the front is puffy. Yuck. I thought the double darts (for a total of four in front) would help with fit, but that is too much dartage for my front. I need a flat front or only two small darts, I think. I have a waist, but it is almost all in the back and my front is much more rectangle/apple shaped. I haven't decided if I will try to tweak this pattern or search for another. The bigger issue will be deciding what fabric to sacrifice for the next muslin!

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.

=======================

Thank you for all the nice comments on my pink cashmere sweater refashion! Several people asked about the neckline. I took a photo and added a discussion of how I finished it to the post.

=======================

Confidential to Our Heroine: I would love to comment on your posts, but I do not want to give Disqus all my personal information. I tried using my yahoo ID to sign in, but I have to share everything associated with that ID with Disqus, no opting out. Any chance of a less intrusive comment manager?

18 comments:

McVal said...

The "poof" is not noticable... It looks adorable on you!
Checking out What would Nancy Drew wear now. Too cool! I would like to make that dress and rain jacket from the Nancy Drew movie for my girls!

NancyDaQ said...

It's not ideal, but you do not sew with the grain if the print is off grain. True, the garment will not hang exactly correct but you really don't want the print to be all wonky when you wear the garment. Most people would notice that issue first.

Little Hunting Creek said...

I have some hotpink/black houndstook too. I found for me, the best way to audition what colors to wear with it was to lay it on my table and then lay pieces of fabric on it in natural light. It was clear that white, off white, black, navy and paler pinks would go. I haven't tried yellows yet, but it is an effective method for me.

Amanda S. said...

Well, I love turquoise blue with a hotpink/black color combo. Think Mondo from the last Project Runway. But it sounds like you aren't in love with the skirt anyway. You may try to eliminate one of the front darts to get a better fit. I'm with you on the 4 in front as they create way too much puff.

Uta said...

I love the skirt! I once had a mustard-yellow-and-dark-purple straight houndstooth skirt, and I wore it to death. I see stripes with this: a light pink and white (vertically) striped blouse, or a black-and-white (horizontally) striped tee. If that is too staid for you, you could wear it with a lot of another color (top and tights) and treat the pink as the "accent color", like a scarf (but around the hips!).

Nancy K said...

I know you think that your stomach sticks out, but since it's really your posture and you actually have a very flat stomach it's way too many darts in the front. I have to agree that this is not 'the one' for your fabulous fabric. It's cute, but not perfect. What about a pencil skirt with a kick pleat in back, or a pleat insert to make walking easier?

KID, MD said...

I love the skirt, but I have the same front dart issue. I don't like them at all and eliminate them whenever possible. I agree with Amanda that turquoise or teal would look awesome with that skirt, although I'm a failure at mixing prints, so if it were me, I'd be boring and go with a solid.

Lisette M said...

I don't see any pouf! I think it has nice shaping.

Eugenia said...

I think that this skirt looks very nice, you are clearly on the right track for finding your perfect straight skirt fit. I do think you are right to experiment until you have a skirt that you feel totally happy in because this is the kind of style you can make over and over again.

Summer (Our Heroine) said...

Oh dear, thanks for letting me know! I'll go back to blogger comments for time being.

Faye Lewis said...

Your journey with this skirt construction sounds so much like me if you don't mind me saying. I know that when you do find your "just right pattern" you will do your expensive fabric justice. Have you considered McCall's 3830 - I LOVE the 3 skirts I recently made from it and they walk pretty good too. I know this pattern has a facing rather than a waistband, but in thinking - can you substitute a straight waistband for the facing - just asking cause I really don't know?

SEWN said...

Robin of Yarncrawl had the same problem with double darts too!

Karen said...

I think that skirt looks great on you. I am fitting a skirt now. I'm quite the beginner and getting something to fit my large tummy and nearly absent derriere is difficult. My front darts came out but I left the back darts in. I won't know if it was a good decision until I finish it. Love your blog!

thecuriouskiwi said...

That fabric is beautiful, you always find such amazing prints and know just what item to turn them into. I've seen a few houndstooth prints lately with the winter fabrics coming in now, I think I need to add some to my stash :)
I got a Versatile Blog award from magdamagda the other day so I'm passing it on to you to thank you for your inspiration xx
http://thecuriouskiwi.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/winning-and-sewing/

kathy said...

While I agree that all those darts in the front are only okay if you wear a jacket --I will say, this hem line is perfect for you.

A Sewn Wardrobe said...

IMHO, this skirt looks great on you from the front and esp. the back silhouette (I can see a bit of that dart pouf you mention, though). From your middle (side view) picture, I see some extra fabric in the back below the bum that I don't think needs to be there - this pattern could be more tapered in the back. It's a problem I'm running into with Big 4 skirt patterns - they just don't seem to be fitted in that area. I tried on a few JCrew skirts Tuesday night and they cinch in at the back. Perhaps this would be as easy as pegging the skirt on the back skirt piece beginning at the high thigh? I dunno. I'm beginning to think more and more that I need to move to Burda. I doubt they have this problem...

So, ummm, sorry for the long ramble in the comments. I guess I just needed to vent...

edenz said...

If the only thing you don't like is the darts, why do you need to find a new pattern?

Just fold the tissue pattern for the darts (exactly the way you folded the fabric) and then cut out the fabric based on your folded pattern. This will eliminate the darts, all the pieces will still fit, and you'll save yourself from having to buy a new pattern.

Just a suggestion :)

Isabelle said...

Congrats on mastering the lapped zip!

This is an adorable skirt. I get what you mean though, but this is still highly wearable, right?