Thursday, 2 June 2011

Not Quite So Gingerly - Starting With the Main Material

Although I had already pre-washed and ironed my black and white cotton material, I gave it another iron both to fold the material so the right side was inside and also to get rid of any slight fold creases it might have where I'd had it folded up, ready and waiting!
But, I then thought to re-read the instructions on how to double check that the main pieces are in line with the grain ..... and realised I had the fabric folded the wrong way as it had to be selvedge to selvedge!! Ooops! So, re-fold and re-iron!

Then, I noticed that where I had hung the material on the line to dry, the material had been stretched out of line ..... see where I'm pointing to? I decided to avoid that section so as to make sure all the pieces were truly cut on the grainline. Luckily, I have plenty of material, so I am OK doing this!

With all the pieces pinned in place, I then cut out! Why do I find this bit so daunting? I guess 'cos if you boob ..... you really do boob at this point! Anyhow, I double-check before cutting ...... and then get on with it. By the way ..... note to self ...... I think I could do with a new pair of shears! Perhaps I'll ask John or James as it is my Birthday pretty soon :)

I also cut out the interfacing and iron this to the waistband pieces.

Then, on to the sewing! I need to wind some of the black cotton onto a new bobbin (and also have to read the manual on this 'cos I've forgotten how to do it!!). I had also made the stitch length the longest it could be for the muslin so I adjusted to the middle stitch length and did a test on a spare piece of material and it looked OK, so I went with that. I had to re-apply the interfacing to the waistband pieces as it had slightly come away from the first time I'd ironed it; it does say 8 seconds, so 8 seconds it got, on every little bit. I'm glad I did that ironing the day before otherwise I would never had realised and doing it when sewn up would have been tricky.

Any differences when sewing with the main material? Well, the cotton material is thicker and therefore heavier and so its more inclined to slide off the edge of the table.

With all the seams done and pressed open, once again ..... the dreaded invisible zipper. I had not been completely happy with the results using Sunni's instructions, so this time I decided to really study the instructions on the Colette pattern site. This hadn't made very much sense before but now I found that they did!! I found that the result was much better although I think I will add a couple of extra hand stitches at the bottom of the zip as this is the point that gets stress.

Now for the bit I've never done before - attaching the other side of the waistband. I think I understand what the instructions are saying but I decided to pin it totally in place first, in place of stitching, to make sure I actually have understood!!

However, stumbling block! When really reading the instructions, some of them don't make immediate sense! Attaching the waistband edge initially was OK but then the next stage, involving turning the edge in on itself again didn't seem obvious. I ummed and ahhed about that stage for ages! In the end, I tried it with pins and turned the waistband inside out and could see it worked out.

Then  ....... next stumbling block! In sewing the waistband facing to the waistband with the interfacing, the needle didn't seem able to cope with the thickness. However, it did occur to me that the needle might be blunt as I don't think I've ever changed it! Luckily, I have some spares and changing the needle did the trick (although again I had to reference the manual for how to do this)! Phew!

Then, to stop the waistband facing rolling out, you need to use a technique called understitching. I read these instructions, tried to follow the diagram in the pattern and then really studied the tutorial on the Colette website but it just didn't make sense! Possibly, not helped by the fact that the tutorial is aimed at doing a neckline and also in its photos it is difficult to tell the difference between the main fabric and the facing. I have to say I dithered here for a long time!

Note to self ..... doing any serious thinking late at night is not a good thing :)

I looked at the other skirt photos that have been posted in the Ginger sewalong Flikr pool and could see that on some, top stitching is evident. Is this top stitching the overstitching? The Colette website seems to indicate that there shouldn't be any evidence of stitching on the front ....... so surely this couldn't be the topstitching? I Googled understitching to see if I could get inspiration elsewhere, but couldn't. In the end, thinking logically about why this stitching is necessary, I did it where you can see in the photo above. Because of the zip, I couldn't go entirely to each end, but the stitching isn't visible and hopefully should perform the function it is there for ie stopping the inside material rolling up, so that's OK.

I then turned the waistband out. The zip looks pretty good. However, I'm concerned that one corner looks like it might unravel ...... remember my machine had problems stitching through all the layers? So I turned it back and oversewed the end by hand. In turning the waistband out again, it looks fine.

I then hand stitched the inside edge of the waistband. Call me odd but I actually really love doing hand sewing! The skirt then gets hung up for the 24 hours required to 'hang' before sorting out the hem. For this, I need John's help!

Today (Thursday) John put pins all round the bottom of the skirt at a specific level. I then cut around where these pins are, hoping that I got it right! The instructions for doing the hem say to press the bottom edge 1/4 inch and then a further 3/8 inch. However, I just can't get this to work! So ...... I just turned the hem up 5/8 inch and pressed that and then went round and turned the raw edge under and pressed and pinned that. This worked much better for me, at any rate! Finally, I machine sewed the hem. I was going to hand stitch it but, on looking at just about every skirt I own, the hem is sewn by a straight line of stitching which is visible on the front. Well ..... I say visible ...... it isn't really in that you don't notice it and it looks nice and neat!!

So ..... voila! It is done! I am really pleased with how it has come out. Here I am wearing the skirt. I look a bit 'washed out' but I'm afraid the not-so-lovely hay fever season is on us and my eyes are suffering a bit.

(Flossie preferring not to be held!!)

I've just realised that I aught to get John to take some real closeups to show the invisible zipper and other details. I think I'll leave that for a post tomorrow or the weekend.

However, I have thoroughly enjoyed doing this sewalong. The skirt is a close fit which is something I haven't had in a skirt for a very long time, if ever! It has given me the confidence to try other clothes sewing.

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