Thursday, September 18, 2008

The 6-gore Skirt Adventure

(Disclaimer: This post is horribly long. Primarily, because I refused to stop work to make several short posts. You'll get over it.)

I wanted to make myself a skirt. While doing research for dressing dolls, I had come across simple instructions on how to draft a skirt pattern using your waist and hip measurements. It had worked out well when designing for dolls, so I figured I'd give it a try in something more my size. After a bit of searching the internet, I found the page I was looking for.

After some quick math and some drawing with a ruler, I had a pattern drafted. Now, to test the pattern. I cut the six pieces of the skirt from some bleached muslin I had for backing quilts. I basted them together and tried it on.

Then, just so you could see, I made Rita wear the draft (if you don't know, my dress form is named Rita, primarily so I can curse at her when she loses weight). Granted, not a complete test, but close enough. Now, what to do with those six pieces of muslin? I didn't want to just set them aside and say "well done!" That would be a waste.

I decided it was time to break out the quilting scraps, again. Using the gores as a base, I started applying strips and blocks to each piece. I was going to have a scrappy wonder by the time I was done. I kept applying strips until I had almost completely covered the base. Then, I used the serger to clean up the edges. I couldn't bring myself to put a plain, white waist band around the top, so I had to apply strips to that, too.

To apply the strips, I just made sure the first piece covered the top of one of the gores, lined up the next piece with the bottom the first piece and sewed through all three layers. Press the second piece down and repeat the process for about 38 inches of gore. I didn't really have a plan. I just picked out the bright colors that said spring to me. Pinks, anything with flowers on it, green, blues purples and yellow. I don't think I made much of a dent in my box of strips. I did try to alternate light colored strips with dark colored strips. Sometimes I was successful, sometimes not. You may think it took a load of time. It wasn't quick, but it didn't take as long as you might think. Just like putting together a quilt, this went relatively quickly.

The next question was how to close the garment. I decided mis-matched buttons would be cute to go with the crazy prints I had smashed together. Only one problem... I'd misplaced the buttons. I have a couple clear plastic containers with odd buttons in them, along with a mix of other buttons. I couldn't find them. That resulted in some wandering about saying "buttons." It also led to some yelling. "Honey, I can't find the buttons!" Eventually, the buttons were located. "Thank you, Honey." A quick look through them and I found five I liked.

You may be asking, why I wanted the buttons before I'd even finished the garment, but I have a very good reason. If you've ever wrestled with a quilt on the sewing machine, you'll understand. Sewing button holes onto something is much easier if you have the smallest piece to work with. For this step, I'd created the placket and sewn the two pieces of the skirt together. That way I only have to fight with 1/3 of the skirt on the sewing machine. Granted, I still have to fight with the entire thing when I put the waist band on, but that just can't be helped.

Button holes complete, buttons applied. Now all that remains is to get back to construction and completing my pattern test. I told you this was an adventure.

Right now, I'm off to do something that isn't sewing. I'll be back to this either sometime later today or tomorrow. Look for an update to my "simple" sewing project. The good news? Well, the next one I do will be made of denim, plain and simple. I just have to decide if I want a zipper or buttons. Hmmm.... something to think about.

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