Tuesday, March 22, 2011
I bought Simplicity 2413 for the paper bag waist tulip skirt view, but when I was considering skirts for biking I noticed that the pleated view was pretty cute. I like the size of the waistband and the width of the skirt--not crazy wide for this silk organza with plenty of body, but plenty wide to swing my leg up over a bike.
I have been wanting to make this skirt since I bought the organza from Fabric Mart last July for $3.99/yd. I've seen it listed a few times since but at over double the price, so I feel lucky to have snagged some when I did. For some reason, I only bought 1.5 yards. Dumb! I should have stocked up.
I lined the skirt with some Vera Wang rayon satin I purchased during my giant binge from Fabric.com last year when all the VW was $1.95/yd. This is another fabric I should have stocked up on; I think I bought only 3 yards. The quality is just outstanding. On the lining, I went back and forth on whether to have the matte side or shiny side facing out. The shiny side creates a weird interference with the weave of the organza resulting in a headache-inducing visual effect. But, I love the way the subtle shine boosts the beautiful organza so I put it shiny side out anyway, and will warn people not to look at me too closely.
The pattern uses the same piece for front and back. My front and back are not shaped the same way. I stitched down the pleats as marked for the front, but had to stitch them much further down in the back, converting them more to released darts than pleats. Otherwise, it was just way too puffy over the back, even given the intentional fullness of the silhouette. I may need to stitch down the side-most back darts further still into actual darts, as I am getting a lot of puff on my low hip (just call me Marie Antoinette), but I don't want to interfere with the bell shape too much more; as it is, I have managed to preserve it even in the back.
I found a product at G Street called "Waistband Interfacing," though it seems more like some kind of specialized elastic. I tested various interfacings on the organza and (unsurprisingly) they all showed through and looked terrible. Since I couldn't interface the waistband and wasn't sure that interfacing only the waistband lining would be enough, I thought elastic would be a good solution to keep the waistband in shape. The skirt doesn't have that elastic waist look, but it fits snugly and without discomfort. I am sold on this now!
The skirt is designed so that the zipper is sewn both to the skirt and the waistband up to the fold line. So I installed the zipper and then tacked the elastic to the seam allowance and zipper tape at each end. Then I stitched-in-the-ditch (or as close as I can get) on the outside, careful not to catch the elastic.
I sometimes treated the lining as lining and sometimes as underlining in this project. The non-zipper side seams of both fashion and lining are sewn separately in their own French seams. Then the pieces were joined at the upper edge and treated as one for pleating. While I love the look of a French seam in sheer silk, I thought the pleats would not look as nice in terms of how the parts of the print would interact.
At the zipper side seam, I sewed the zipper to the fashion and lining fabrics as one, and then French seamed the fashion and lining separately below the zipper. This requires a little finagling and a tolerance for not-quite-perfect at the transition spot, but it's a technique I've done before and it gives me what I'm looking for. I definitely wanted the lower half and the hem of the fashion fabric to hang free, but didn't want to put the zipper only in the sheer fabric because it would look ugly with the seam allowances and everything. It's not perfect, but it is acceptable, both from the outside and the inside.
I am so happy I finally had the chance to make this skirt! I adore the New Look silhouette, which seems to be enjoying a bit of a resurgence.
In fact, this project might have been a little *too* successful because I wore this skirt on a ride with Cidell on Saturday and was afraid of getting chain grease on it the whole time. I believe the bikes on the trip will have chain covers, and I won't be lifting it up onto a car rack or doing any maintenance, so the skirt should be safe on the trip. But at home, I think I'll stick to wearing it for non-bike occasions other than commuting (the CaBi bikes I ride to/from work have chain guards).
I'm wearing it here with yet another version of the OOP Simplicity 4509 cowl neck top. This is the last of the purple jersey I used for my Kate Middleton dress and ruffle shoulder top. I curse my fabric economy when laying out because it is *so* tedious and time-consuming, but when I pull off a hat trick of a dress and two tops--with long sleeves on both the dress and one of the tops--on a 3 yard piece of fabric (given that Fabric.com's yards are generous) I do feel pretty smug.
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.