Tuesday, March 8, 2011
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.
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.
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?
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?