Friday, March 18, 2011

Two Corduroy Skirts

Holy moly, I sewed something! I sewed two things! If these archives are correct, the last time I actually sewed anything around here was ... January. Oh crap, February. Well anyways. Not a lot of quality time with the sewing machine has been happening of late!

So back when I was thrifting with Ali, I spent a good five minutes trying to convince her that corduroy skirts aren't worth making because I've had a couple corduroy skirts that, ahem, wore away unevenly in the rumpus area due to excessive sitting/wear on my part. And then I went home and finished up 2 corduroy skirts. Go me.

In the name of crafting, I am shelving my pride to display 1) my belly, 2) the bulge of my belly over a too-tight waistband*, 3) the horrific mess in my room, and 4) the truth behind those seemingly styled photo shoots -- hello, Frog Socks! Ah, the uncropped, unedited version of my life. (Oh, oops, actually I did go and crop out most of the mess)

Turns out I do have an affinity for Laura Ashley after all. Picked this up in a thrift shop in Central Square, MA because the patterned fabric called out to me so mightily. Snipped 3/4" off the waistband to widen the waist and took in the hips a bit. Were women really shaped like this in the 80's and 90's? No wonder I had such poor body image in middle and high school!

Tada! Used some lavender bias tape on the waistband. I'm a bit stumped how to style it though. I can see it working with ... white ... gray ... black. Does green purple or blue feel too matchy? But wouldn't a different color feel like too much?

I don't know what it is about RTW pencil skirts, but I always think that the hip lines are somehow smoother than my self-drafted patterns ... which seems like it shouldn't make sense since I muslin those, try on and fiddle for a million hours ... and yet ... and yet. Maybe it's an ease thing. I try to build some ease into my self-drafted pencil skirt patterns, and then always feel like they look baggy on me. Maybe I need to accept the fact that I'm just going to get pull lines and wrinkles if I want a slimming silhouette out of handmade pencil skirts.

Here's my second go at my self-drafted pencil skirt pattern, made up in the half yard of Liberty of London babycord that I splurged on awhile ago. I'm still a little "meh" on this pattern (see note above about ease. Oh! Or maybe because RTW skirts usually have spandex in them?) Stumped on how to address this, because I have a couple more pencil skirt variations in mind ... which were all dreamt up assuming that I would be able to get this pattern down pat. Suggestions? What are your experiences sewing pencil skirts?

Closeup of the fabric. This version has front and back darts and a back vent. I'll definitely wear this because the print is too great to let it languish, and because I don't have all that many work-appropriate skirts. Erg. Well, work-ish appropriate. I think it works with a blazer, maybe?

When I unlazy myself enough to upload outfits photos, I'll continue the MMM'11 theme. Until then, I leave you with two awesome links:

A pretty cool edumacation tool ... the data geek in me is going crazy ...
Brooklyn Tweed's photo essay on the making of tweed yarns (start here)

*I may or may not have sucked in slightly for this photo. Trying to hit that sweet spot between demonstrating that the skirt was too small, and not spilling out too much in a public venue.


poet said...

They both look beautiful! I hear you on this one: The shaping of garments from a few decades back is indeed strange. Add in vanity sizing, and confusion abounds. I've had to take a few inches off the top of most high-waisted skirts I inherited from my mother because they were too tight, even though they're nominally the same size I should wear, even though sizing hasn't changed that much in Germany, and even though I have a rather narrow waist... And having no other skirts to wear during my teens, before I made the alterations, did not only result in physical discomfort but also, certainly, in increased body image issues!

Ali said...

Ha ha! Still trying to figure out what to do with the corduroy I have but these are inspiring examples, esp the patterned fabric.

I hear you on rtw, I'm always so frustrated when I take great pains on something only to find its forever 21 counterpart or whatever, superior in fit. Boo.

Sigrid said...

They look great to me, I can relate to the background mess problem, Although your mess doesn't look close to what I have going right now. The more time I spend sewing the worse the modeling environment becomes.

In terms of skirt bulges, I am wondering if you might be adding too much shaping into the side seams. If they have too much work to do it seems to pull the skirt sides in odd ways. (I have this problem with a self-drafted pencil skirt too.) In retro-spect I think I should have added an extra dart in the back, because that is where the biggest size difference between hips and waist is.

Another thing, the higher the waist, the more dart control is needed, so dropping the waist just an inch or two can make fitting a lot easier and easier to wear too.

Violet said...

I'm not a big fan of pencil skirts but I do love the print on those two. I was thinking that, if the rtw skirts fit better then don't you just copy a rtw skirt for your skirt pattern instead?

Antoinette said...

I was going to post what Violet said -- use a skirt with a hipline you love and copy that hip curve. I think they look great, both skirts! And are they straight skirts or pencil skirts? Cause they look straight in the photos, to me. I've never sewn a pencil skirt, don't know I've ever actually worn one. "Sexy secretary" isn't anywhere in my genetic makeup. ;)

Minnado said...

The skirts look good jessica. I have never made a pencil skirt and haven't won one since I was a teenager! SO I am limited for advice. (I like to be able to run and jump in my skirts) I do agree though that if you lower the waist they should fit more comfortably. I like the green cardigan with the laura ashley.

Roobeedoo said...

I really like the green cardi with the top skirt.
Re shaping: are you relying on the side seams for all your shaping? My pencil skirt patterns (from Japanese book) have long skinny darts to add shaping back and front.

Zonnah said...

I think you are too critical of yourself! You look great and I never knew there was such beautiful corduroy fabric out there.

Zonnah said...

Oh and thanks for the link!!!! The Khan Academy is amazing :)

Zonnah said...

P.S.S about the second link, I remember following his blog a long time ago before, the published patterns and yarn line. He was very talented then and am not surprised at how far he got.

jessica said...

Thank you everyone for the kind comments!

Poet - wow, I am SO glad to hear that I wasn't the only one to feel this way! I remember thinking how there must be something wrong with me.

Violet and Antoinette - my first go at a pencil skirt sloper came off my favorite skirt pattern, actually -- yet somehow I still got those strange bulges (that was a medium weight denim with a fair amount of stretch though, and I'm guessing the waist was cut curved and then sewn to a straight waistband to create the effect of darts).

Sigrid and Roo -- totally hear you on those darts! May need to prototype some more.

although sadly/strangely, I am a bit of a fan of skirts that hit at the waist instead of 1"-2" below.