Monday, May 28, 2012

So I Guess It's Slippery Fabric Week


After the mental exercise that was my shorts adventure, I figured that I had better sew some easy stuff without a lot of fitting to do. But that felt a little bit like a cop-out, so of course I had to make things more complicated; hence, last week's sewing was all relatively simple things with slippery fabric. I had a lot of chiffon and rayon in my stash in relatively small quantities that I wanted to use up, so it worked out perfectly. But rather than writing a term paper of a blog post, with too many slippery fabric garment visuals, I'll space them out this week.

First up: a simple maxi skirt in silvery-grey sparkly chiffon. I originally got this fabric as a potential material for my GoF dress, but ended up going in an entirely different direction with it. This fabric just sat in my stash, taunting me with the amount of space it was taking up. There was just enough of this somewhat sheer fabric to make a double-layered maxi skirt. Apparently maxi skirts are all the rage right now, but I don't have any brightly-colored tops or weird platform booties to wear with mine. Instead, I just took this as an opportunity to practice some more with my rolled hem foot, and it was...somewhat better. And if I ended up with a wearable skirt, well, then that was just a nice bonus.

It's a little too long to just wear with flip-flops, but I refuse to get those weird strappy sandal/boots/platforms with absurdly tall heels.
You can see just a hint of the two layers at the bottom when it's helpfully poofed-out by the wind.

I used the waistband from Lorenna Buck's free pattern, and just made the tube of the skirt as wide as the fabric was. Also, I will let you in on a secret: I cheated and kept the selvage instead of trying to finish the chiffon at the seams. Also, I only had a white 9" zipper on hand, and this was supposed to be a stash-busting project, but it's not too obvious, I don't think. Simple hook and bar closure, and it's done!

Please ignore the non-matching waistband and zipper.

I'm pretty sure this seam allowance "finish" is the ultimate in cheating. Also, glurgh at my inability to do a rolled hem over a seam.

You can see the sparkliness of the fabric better here.

Summary:
Fabric: 100% polyester chiffon in grey with silvery streaks, plus some leftover navy twill from my failed shorts muslin for the waistband lining.
Notions: Fusible interfacing, hook and eye, 9" zipper
Hours: More than it really should have, because of the chiffon's trickiness. This should really only be a one-hour project, but it turned into a more-hours project because of trying to line up the grain, figure out how to make it double layered, and wrestling with the rolled-hem foot.
Will you make it again? Probably not. I don't need very many long, floaty, tube-y skirts. In fact, this skirt feels almost costume-y.
Total cost: $3...yay for lightweight chiffon at Michael Levine Loft, where fabric is sold by the pound!
Final thoughts: This is such a cake-and-yet-not-cake skirt. I wear gathered-tube maxi skirts all the time, and yet I'm still unsure how to feel about this one, as the sparkles, length, and airy fabric inevitably make it seem more fancy than it really should be. I also made the waistband too large, so it sits below my natural waist. Tanit-Isis may be able to do the dropped-waist look (how fantastic is that dress!), but I feel like this just looks silly on me. Also, the tube isn't quite wide enough for me to take a full stride, so that's a little hampering. Even with all of those disclaimers, though, it's a perfectly serviceable skirt for when I'm not doing a lot of walking around, as long as I don't mind looking somewhat overdressed...like when I wore it last night to DM my first D&D session in much too long, and everyone in the party commented that I was the most dressed up DM they'd ever played with. Still, it was lots of epic fun and the adventure was full of ridiculous hijinks; I'd forgotten how much I miss table-top gaming! 

To be able to sit in this skirt without getting it all wrinkled, you'll need to perform a dexterity check.
Same goes for walking without tripping. Or using a rolled hem foot, for that matter.

Have you ever cheated and just used the selvage instead of finishing your edges? Or is that just me? If it is just me, please try not to throw too many tomatoes...because there's more of that cheating coming up. Maybe I should have just titled this "Cheating with Selvages Week."

25 comments:

  1. I like your fabric and your skirt is cute! You did a great job!

    Using the selvage is not cheating at all! (And I don't think there is such a thing as cheating when it comes to sewing.) I just put something together in a costume shop in the last couple days that the cutter/draper handed me that used the selvage edge (so it didn't need serging on the seam allowance. =)

    The trick to tiny rolled hems is making a couple extra stitchlines - stitch one for the first fold, fold on that stitch and stitch the two layers, trim close to second stitchline, and then fold that in for the final hem. It really helps over the other seams and keeps the hem from fraying before you finish.

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    1. Oh good, even professionals use the selvage! That is reassuring. I think I'm going to have to give up on the rolled hem foot; I have much better luck with the press and stitch and press and stitch, instead of hoping for the best with the foot. Being lazy is not paying off!

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  2. If you hadn't posted a picture of the seam nobody would have known :-)

    I wouldn't consider it cheating tbh, more like ... time-saving. In all fairness, there is no sewing police judging you (or me) and I do think it's more about creating wearable clothes that you love then making it textbook perfect.

    It looks wonderful, so well done.

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    1. No sewing police! I love it! Thanks for the kind and reassuring words!

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  3. I absolutely use the selvage whenever possible. Why not?
    -Sandra

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  4. I use the selvage often, especially for the bodice back pieces when I insert a center back zipper. I really like your skirt, but I love your top as well!

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    1. Thanks, the top is a super old one from Express, but it's still a favorite. Keeping selvages for the CB zipper is a trick I'm going to have to remember!

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  5. Clever not cheating.
    Another trick is to use the finished edge of lace fabric if you're doing a sleeve or hem.
    Look forward to the rest of your slipperyness!

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    1. Thanks! I have used the scalloped edge of lace for a hem before, but somehow that didn't feel like cheating. I mean, being clever ;)

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  6. I love using the selvedge at the hem of something! That's not cheating - that's efficiency! :)

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    1. Love it! Then I am the mistress of efficiency this week!

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  7. Love the fabric and the skirt! I almost always use the selvage. LOL I figure it's a bonus. ;)

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  8. I did the exact same thing with my Star Wars dress skirt, except that then I put the underlining over it so I guess it doesn't count, anyway... The only problem can be that sometimes the selvedge will shrink/warp differently from the rest of the fabric, but it doesn't look like that's a problem here (and in my sheet case I figured any shrinking or warping that was going to happen happened thirty years ago or so.

    Looks great! I loves me a maxi. (And we totally need transporters so we can do a Star Wars Dress meetup. Er, did I just commit the cardinal sin of referencing Star Wars and Star Trek together? ;) )

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    1. Also, I totally want you for MY DM :)

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    2. Okay, we are going to meet up someday and game in our Star Wars dresses. It is going to happen. Maybe this decade, even...

      I think I'm willing to take the chance with shrinkage here, rather than having to deal with more chiffon-finishing madness. And yes, that sheet better have all its warping worked out of its system! That is one thing I love about using thrifted sheets -- no worries about shrinking since they're almost buttery from being washed so much!

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  9. I do love this skirt but I can see why it might not be something you would reach for again and again. Maybe just a simple white T and a little heel, and boom, super effortless elegance. I'm working with chiffon again right now and it's a bit of a headache but I'm getting better and my rolled hems are actually not barftastic. Love the fabric! So pretty and ethereal!

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    1. Hmmm, that would work if I had any little heels...I seem to only have flats or sky high heels...nothing in between!

      Also, barftastic is the perfect word for certain sections of my chiffon hem. Good luck with yours!

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  10. did you see the gray chiffon i got at levines? i think i got the other half. and i think i'm copying you today.

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    1. I don't think I remember it, unfortunately...I was too bewitched by all the colors in your other selections! I'm pretty sure that you're going to drape something fantastic by the pool with your half!

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  11. Fabulous skirt! You could make it look more casual with a plain top or sweater with some cute gym pumps. using the selvage is not cheating at all! Very smart indeed :-)

    A great tip I learnt when working with slippery fabrics is to spray it with some heavy starch and iron it, which makes it sooooooo much easier to sew and cut etc. Test it first just to make sure it doesn't affect the fabric, but I have never had a problem using it yet. Might help for future projects.....

    http://unique-1985.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks for the styling ideas...I think this might work better during the cooler months (or in SF during the summer!), so I'll keep that in mind. I keep thinking that I should try the starch tip, but then I don't have any handy and I get impatient with my projects...

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  12. Hahaha, 50% of my sewing is about cheating with selvages. Literally. The selvage is your friend! And this is awesome. I'm so afraid of chiffon, it's crazy. I love this, well done.

    strugglesewsastraightseam.wordpress.com

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    1. Leah, I believe in you! If you can make pants, I believe in your chiffon abilities!

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