Wednesday, 15 October 2014

A lesson in humility

So this past month has essentially been one giant, never ending deadline.It feels pretty good to get some of those never-ending projects out the way but it turns out my body isn't a big fan of stress so the back-to-school germs hit me HARD! I'm fine now and it was actually quite a good reminder to take things easy, even especially during the middle of a coursework tornado.

Speaking of lessons learnt, this skirt was pretty much one giant learning curve.

As weird or arrogant as this is going to sound, sometimes I forget that I've only been sewing for a couple of years and that I haven't mastered every technique or sewn every fabric yet. This generally happens if I have a few successful makes in quick succession and it generally ends with me bowling up, blindly, to a new project and then doing something monumentally idiotic. That's more or less what happened here.

I'm sort of addicted to buying chiffons/georgettes and to the point where they've started to spill off my shelves, but slippery, sheer fabrics scare me so I never sew them. So this summer I got up a head of steam and decided to just do it. I chose this navy floral crinkle-chiffon (A 1 metre remnant for £5.47 from John Lewis) and decided to make my default: a simple gathered skirt. (Sidenote: I actually bought this fabric in May to make my best friend's birthday present but it ended up being too small so I went in a different direction for the present and kept the chiffon for myself!)

I think the main problem was that I built the skirt up too much in my head. It started out being just a experiment, to try out sewing a new fabric, and it didn't really matter that much if it failed because the fabric was so cheap. As time went on I started to realise that I had a chiffon skirt shaped hole in my wardrobe, which a this floral chiffon could fill  nicely. (Especially because it's navy and grey therefore would go with every top I own. At this point I now NEEDED this skirt so  my experiment HAD to work out. (ps. I think I have some issues with self-imposed pressure...)

I used all-purpose thread and a 70 needle and did all french seams and at first everything went fine. My problems came when I tried to do insert an invisible zip in the lining with a free-hanging overlay a la Jen at Grainline studio. 

I just turned into a giant disaster. Firstly,the invisible zip did not want to be invisible. Secondly, the chiffon stretched out as I did the rolled hems on the side seams, so instead flowing gently and hiding the zip there was a giant gaping hole. Essentially it looked like I'd forgotten to sew up the side seam. I figured there was pretty much no way to save it so I ripped out the zip and the side seams and re-inserted the zip treating the chiffon and lining (navy cotton lawn) as one. It looks fine now, but it kinda bugs me that the lining is attached to the chiffon on one side seam but not the other.

My other problem was the skirt hem. Usually, I cheat at rolled hems and I just overcast the raw edge, then fold the stitching over twice (avoiding the stitch-fold-press-stitch-fold-press of a normal rolled hem) Sadly my overcasting foot refuses to accept that lightweight, loosely-woven fabrics exist so I had to do it the old fashioned way. It would've been fine if I hadn't accidentally folded the edge the wrong was, ending up with a hem on the right-side of the skirt! There was no way I was going to unpick the entire hem, so I just folded the hem again (To the right side!!) and hemmed again.

Again this worked out well but the skirt is now slightly shorter than I wanted, so I can only really wear it with tights. Also, I cut the lining shorter than the chiffon but because of the extra hem the lining now peeks out sometimes.

The skirt itself isn't half as bad as I'm making it out to be and it's actually really cute. But I think some of the sewing trauma imbued itself into the skirt and I just don't love it the way I anticipated. I'll still wear it but I think I'm gonna need another crack at it if i'm going to fill the floaty skirt hole in my wardrobe.

In other news, my top is the first t-shirt I ever made. I made it this time last year (Oct. 2013) by tracing off an existing vest then free-handing raglan sleeves and a scoop neck. This is another example of me bumbling in blinding , but through some minor miracle it worked out perfectly. (Those daily sacrifices to the good of knits must have worked!) After a year of frequent wear it still looks good as new so I must've done something right!