Almost swimmingly

Progress report on my skirt based on ‘Stingray’ from Pattern Magic Stretch Fabrics.

I did some pattern measuring before cutting, and whoops-a- daisy, it had barely enough hip room and was measuring only 32 inches in the round at the hem. moving in it would involve some pretty delicate tripping through the aforementioned daisies. I stride. Catwalk wiggle takes way too much co-ordination.

Happily, lack of foresight drafting the pattern paid off – I’m using the CF/CB unnecessary seam allowance as extra width, and putting the cutting line to a fold. Or, I thought on the fold, before considering how meagre the remnant is for a skirt pattern with wide wingy bits on the side.

Folding springy jersey with curling selvedges sides to middle, with no room for errors wasn’t much fun. It slipped all over the cutting table.  I cut a second pattern to double up, and moved the lot to the living room floor. This is how the front laid up, with not a lot of spare fabric.

In a hurry, I merrily sliced it off with the black and decker electric scissors. The fabric relaxed back alarmingly and it looked as though it would fit a twiglet. So, apparently, carpet grips stretch fabric, and as I’d smoothed it out, I must have stretched it a little. I’m making a mental note of this – better to measure the width before laying the fabric down and then check it, in case its stretched!

Ad hoc remedy was shifting the two pattern halves an inch apart to cut the back. Luckily I hadn’t bothered to stick them together, isn’t it nice when laziness pays off? 

There are no construction details with PM pattern cutting books, this is the order I used.

1. stitch the side seams of the back and front from the tip of the wing (at the end of the deep curve) to the hem.

2. Insert the smaller side pieces, swivelling the fabric on the needle where the angle at the edge of the fold meets the side seam.

3. Stitch part of the side seam of the inserts.

At this point, while I was figuring out which would be the right side and which the left so as to leave zipper space, Inspiration obligingly flitted past my sewing room and gave the Elementary Math fairy a kick. The difference between my waist and hip measurements is eight inches. So, usually I put in a 6 inch zip, which gives a twelve inch opening, plenty of room to climb into the garment.

 A zip in this soft jersey in the middle of the cowl?  Zero enthusiasm. I decided to split the 6 inches between both sides, and go with a simple placket and a press stud each side on two 3 inch openings. Eureka! no zip.

The waistband idea grew out of this fudge. I have it finishing in ties each side, so each piece is cut the length of the front/back waist plus fifteen inches either end to form the tie. I cut it in a scrap of firmer fabric, found knocking around in stash with the other black scraps.

Waistband construction and tip

1. I fused support onto the middle, true waistband, section, leaving the ties without interfacing.

2. I stitched each band RS together onto the skirt fronts and backs.

3. At each tie end I folded the band RS together and stitched the end and the sides up to the skirt edge.

4. Here’s the tip part. If you’ve never done this with a waistband, try it. It works well in some fabrics and gives  a neat finish without either that tricky stitch in the ditch thing or laborious slip stitching inside. Keep folding the band over the skirt, making a kind of sausage, stuffing the fabric down, clear of where you will stitch. Its hard to describe this, but you can get almost the entire length of the band done in some fabrics, the skirt, or trouser pieces are inside the band. Here’s the tie part on the left, pinned where it will be stitched, the chalk mark on the band is at the edge of the skirt opening.

Here’s where you start pulling the waistband section round the skirt, pinching the seam allowances together and pushing the skirt clear of the stitching line.Another picture of this. On the right near the top is the line of stitching which was put in first, when RS of waistband was stitched to RS of skirt, seen from the wrong side. The bulk of the skirt is bottom right. You go just as far as you can stitch without catching in the skirt in your stitching. You end up with this stuffed roll of fabric, that’s the waistband inside out. I left about two inches in the centre of each of the front and back sections of the band, which allowed me to pull it all right sides out. Inside, is skirt.

Here’s the waistband turned through before being pressed, the inside of the skirt is at the bottom and the section I left open to turn through is over at the right. I slip stitched the last couple of inches closed.

You end up with both lines of stitching on top of each other, and all turnings enclosed.

I have tried it on now, and miraculously, it fits fine! The hem isn’t done yet, here’s the fuzzy hall mirror shot. 

A closer look at the side drapes, these fall roughly into two or three folds. 

And how it is in the flat.Just the hem and the wannabe shots to do now.


About jay

I design and draft patterns
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6 Responses to Almost swimmingly

  1. prttynpnk says:

    So cool! I love when you do these posts!


  2. sew2pro says:

    Excellent! Nice fabric (very stingray-appropriate).

    Interesting theory about cutting on the carpet. I love cutting on the carpet as I can really dig the scissors under the fabric without lifting it up. But then again, I have little experience of doing this with stretch fabric. Will keep an eye out for stretching.


  3. I hate it when fabric behaves like that. But good job on the placket idea. I always hate the idea of putting zippers in knits- it just seems to defeat the purpose of using a knit in the first place.


  4. bela s. says:

    This is marvelous and I appreciate the tip. I dislike stitch in the ditch!


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