Best (?), with Remnants

The May issue of Threads has an article that enticed and enchanted me from the cover until I put the project down and said, “There, I’m finished.” The cover proclaimed “Design the Best Skirt for Your Body.” Since my body won’t listen to me and immediately shed the extra 5 to 10 inches that is hanging around my waist like an albatross, I was interested in seeing just what skirt the author Kelly Tygert thinks my body would look good in. Page 51 is where the article begins, and it shows 4 different skirt types, each with a solid black panel that is supposed to accentuate or eliminate the model’s waistline yay’s or nay’s.

Tygert’s four waistline types, according to the article, are rectangle, inverted triangle, hourglass, or triangle. Although I could have gone with either rectangle or triangle, I chose to experiment with the latter. I had two remnants, one a solid black knit, and a black and white spandex-infused almost-yard that I would have loved to have a skirt from, but I know less than a yard is not enough to cover my bohunkus without assistance from some additional fabric.

Magazine article and remnant

Threads article and remnant

I used the skirt sloper I’d drafted from Deborah Moebes’ Craftsy Class (you can see how I made it in this post) and altered it according to the pattern in the Threads article. As is usual for me, I had problems from A to Z.

First off, the black fabric turned out to be lighter and more sheer than I thought. Therefore, when I sewed the black panels to the print fabric, it wasn’t a good match for them. I had trouble sewing the curve and making it even on both sides of the panel. I decided to cut out two of each black piece, the back waistband and the front waistband with the center panel, and make a matching facing on the inside that was an exact copy of what you see on the outside. That was looking better. For the curves where the print fabric meets the black panel down the center, I ironed on some Pellon interfacing to the inside, so that the horrible old panel didn’t look so wrinkled and awkward.

front of skirt

front, before interfacing

Anyway, it worked. And though I hand-basted the facings down on the inside, before stitching in the ditch along the seam lines on the outside, I felt the extra work was worth it because the fabric was too springy to really get ironed into place. And just a little more laboring over it with a hot iron might turn it into melted, smelly, burnt polyester.

Threads skirt

color-blocked skirt

So there we have it, supposedly the best skirt for my figure type, and definitely a bargain in that one can use less of the expensive fashion fabric to accomplish such, even making use of a half-price remnant that might otherwise have gone into the landfill. What do you think?

Getting the A-line Right

Some time in September, when I was pondering the significance of National Sewing Month, I decided I’d look into the Craftsy class I purchased a long time ago, about designing and sewing an A-line skirt with Deborah Moebes.

Over the years since I bought the class, I’ve been slowly buying all the requested supplies and materials called for: Swedish tracing paper, clear fashion design ruler with curves, bias binding maker: this is stuff I’ve never used before planning to make this skirt. But my hope was to make a skirt that really fits me, so maybe all the extra sewing paraphernalia would be essential.

First off, I take measurements of waist, hip, length, and projected hem circumference. Next, I quarter the horizontal measurements and mark them on the pattern. Then, I place pattern piece on muslin and cut out a front and a back and sew them together on the right side seam. On the left side, I sew an invisible zipper. [Craftsy plus: this lesson is extremely comprehensive when it comes to invisible zipper instructions.]

This is the muslin I ended up with:

muslin

muslin #1

Now, according to the directions, at this point you try on the muslin and figure out how deep of a dart you need to add to each quarter of the skirt. Or, if you need to add darts at all.

If you notice, this muslin looks rather tight and has horizontal stretch lines. According to page 205 of Sandra Betzina’s book, Fast Fit, a problem like this indicates someone might be lying about their waist measurement. 🙂 OK, I concede that might be the case here–I did measure before going out for my anniversary dinner at Embers Thursday night and then consumed a lot of bronzed Chilean sea bass with lobster mashed potatoes and shared a wedge of flourless Belgian chocolate torte with my DH…so I rechecked my measurements, and they were absolutely, undeniably what was shown on the pattern.

Fast Fit

Additional fitting help

So, did I miss a lesson on adding ease? Or do I need to rethink the whole issue of ease? Barbara Deckert’s book Sewing for Plus Sizes has a table on page 73 that gives minimum ease requirements for plus sizes. Have I gotten into a whole new ball game of ease requirements since my badonkydonk has gone up a bit in size?

 

Sewing for Plus Sizes

Deckert’s book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I looked in my stash for a commercial skirt pattern to see how it compared with the sloper pattern I just made.

Simplicity skirt pattern

Simplicity skirt pattern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I drafted a new sloper based on my measurements and the lines of the commercial pattern for the two different sizes that represent my waist and hips.

 

sloper pattern

The Craftsy sloper on top, the altered Commercial one on bottom

The picture shows a pretty big difference in sizes for the two different slopers. Also, the back piece of the commercial pattern was bigger than the front piece, whereas the Craftsy front and back pieces were the same size. I allowed for differences in the seam allowances and placements of the zipper.

muslin

Composite sloper muslin, darts added front and back

I should mention that the Simplicity pattern did not include darts in the front, only in back. I added the slim darts to the front because the skirt seemed to need them, what with the extra space on the pattern pieces and therefore extra fabric added. The “smile” lines across the lap area are not present in the second muslin. I’ve always heard the phrase “make a muslin” and thought, why? Surely it’s a waste of time and fabric and a zipper. But now I’m glad I went to the trouble of creating a second muslin. Why not? Better to tweak for fitting before cutting into that designer fabric.

The designer fabric was this Innocent Crush cotton velveteen by Anna Maria Horner I bought a few years ago.

A-line skirt

A-line skirt in Innocent Crush cotton velveteen

I just happened to have a sweater in the closet the same shade of red! What are the odds of that?

So, what did I learn here? 1) The sloper pattern made from the Craftsy lesson did not fit me well. Why not? Maybe because I’m not slim, my measurements and body shape are not a natural A-line, they’re maybe more like an O-line? 2) I did end up with a composite sloper pattern that fits me pretty good–at least until my next dinner at Embers. 3) I can try out the Craftsy class A-line pattern drafting method on the little girls whose measurements I copied down last summer. They need some of those cute little A-lines, too!

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