Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Special Skirt

I made a skirt.  I couldn't come up with a more creative way to introduce this post, so there it is.  I sewed a skirt.


Holy cow that's some pasty skin.  Spring is arriving in my neck of the woods but I've yet to be out in the sun.  I am pretty pleased with this particular skirt, mainly because the fabric is special to me.  The fabric was given to me by Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic.  She sent me a box of fabric after pledging to give away some of her stash.  I wrote at the time that Carolyn sensed I needed a pick-me-up but I don't think I've ever told her the whole story.   Carolyn emailed me about sending this package the same week that J was being diagnosed.   During that terrifying week where we knew that he had some form of cancer, we just didn't know exactly what type.  I was driving back and forth to the hospital trying to take care of him as best I could as well as a three month old baby.  It was insane.  I have to say, that was the worst part of the whole ordeal- the unknown.  The email I got from Carolyn was just the pick-me-up I needed.  It was a little slice of kindness and normalcy that I really needed at the time.  It sounds silly, I know.  It's just fabric.  But I really needed something positive right then at that exact moment.  And who wouldn't be excited about free fabric?  Am I right, or amiright?

Ok, so enough of the sappy stuff.  I want you to know that I am most definitely NOT a sentimental person.  But our crazy life experiences have changed that about me a little bit.  As they would anyone.  So yes, this silly little piece of fabric is very special to me.  I decided it was high time to sew it up.  I planned on finishing this skirt in time for Sew Grateful week, but you know how time management goes with a baby...


I originally thought this fabric was black.  I kept looking at and thinking that there was something strange about the color.  I finally saw it next to something black and realized that it's not black.  It's a super, super dark brown.  Like dark espresso brown.  That made me like it even more.  I decided I wanted to make something simple with it to focus on the fun border print.  I went for a skirt since I can't wear any of my old handmade skirts anymore.  I'm not sure I'll ever be able to either.  I am back down to pre-pregnancy weight (ok, well, close enough... :D) but my mid-section is most definitely not the same as it used to be.  So some new skirts are in order.  I need to quit harping on the post baby body issues, but it's just so weird to me.  That so much can change in such a short amount of time.  


I used this a-line skirt pattern, Simplicity 1717.  I went up a size from what I used to sew.  Since I can't be sure of any alterations I need anymore, I decided to follow the "amazing fit" instructions where you baste everything together and then check the fit before you rip it all out and sew up the skirt.  I did all the basting, tried it on and.... it fit. Ha. It fit well enough for me not to worry about any alterations. That's the way it goes.  I did err on the side of being too big which I think contributed to the issue I talk about below.


I bet you are wondering why my skirt is not very a-line if I used an a-line skirt pattern.  I finished this skirt one night last week and was really excited about wearing it to work.  It's just the sort of skirt that fits my job description.  It's easy and casual but looks a little more put together than wearing corduroys and a tee shirt.  I put it on in the morning and went about a my routine.   I started to notice that if I bent over I felt a draft.  Like a major breeze.  The skirt pattern is a very exaggerated a-line.  I love the fabric I used but I'm not sure it was exactly right for the pattern because it is so stiff.  So when I bent over the back lifted up like one of those cones you put on a dog when they have surgery.  That's the best way I can describe it.  It was quite comical.  Not the sort of skirt I want to wear when I have little kids sitting on the floor underneath me.  So I had to reduce the sweep of the hem.  I undid my beautiful hand stitched hem and took out almost five inches of sweep from the side and center back seams.  I got rid of the front seam when I cut out the fabric so I didn't break up the print there.  But I wish I had left it in because that would have helped when I was reducing the sweep.  As a result, the front flares out a bit more than the back.  So the final shape of the skirt is kind of weird.  Would you call it straight?  Tulip shaped?  I don't know.  It's a little off.  It still has a little bit of the dog cone effect (see above), but nothing like before.  It'll be nice and breezy for summer :)


I lined the skirt in muslin.  The skirt pattern does not include a lining.  I just cut the skirt pieces and sewed them to the yoke facing.  I'll definitely do that again if I make this skirt pattern up again.  The lining makes it feel a little more polished.  Nothing like a pretty lining to make your handmade makes special.  I went with muslin to keep it cool for summer.  I put in a regular dress zip by hand and slip stitched the hem (not invisibly).  The finish is pretty nice on this skirt if I do say so myself.  I still have quite a bit of this particular fabric left which I'm thinking I want to make in to a pair of shorts.
  

I definitely want to make this skirt pattern again in a fabric that has a little more drape.  This was the knee length hem shortened a couple of inches.  If I make it again I may go for the short length with the patch pockets.  The curved yoke is a nice feature.  All in all I'm really happy with the skirt and I know it will get worn to death.  Thanks so much Carolyn for taking the time and effort to send me such an awesome, awesome package.  It was exactly what I needed :)    

25 comments:

  1. What a nice skirt story! and a beautiful skirt. It looks very nice on you and I love the deep chocolate brown!

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  2. Oh my goodness!! I'm so thrilled that the package arrived when it did and that it did what it was suppose to do which was to make you feel special so that you'd know how special you were to me! But I have to admit that when I opened your post, I thought I have that fabric and laughed when I read down a little further! As for the body change thing...it happens to most of us! *LOL* You don't think we got this way all on our own did you?! Can't wait to see what you do with the rest of the box!

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    1. ...it happens to most of us... bahahaha!

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  3. How funny! Glad you didn't show your skivvies to the kiddos.

    The skirt is super cute and the sentiment behind the fabric is lovely. The shape looks great. I would've never guessed it was meant to be A-line.

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  4. I love it! The dog cone image made me laugh!

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  5. What a wonderful skirt with a lovely backstory! Nice job. I love the deep chocolate brown fabric and the polka spots are great! The dog cone is a perfect description. g

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  6. It's a very nice skirt - and a very nice gesture from Carolyn..If the 'dog cone' effect still bothers you, it can be fixed by undoing the hem and putting some skinny vertical darts near the edges of the skirt, then hem as normal. It will turn it into a bit of a lantern shape, depending on how much you want to take in.

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  7. Gorgeous skirt and that it's got meaning makes it special, you're right. I love the fabric and how you've used it, and the sweet lining. I bet you get loads of wear from it, esp now you've adjusted it to suit your everyday flare ( or not to flare) needs!

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  8. I love this skirt! I have been wanting to make myself a skirt with a border print but haven't found the perfect fabric yet; your's is so pretty! I totally can relate to emotions. Going through my diagnosis has made me a lot more emotional and I view things differently now than before. My whole heart is in everything now I guess.

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    1. That's a great way to describe it. We try and do everything whole-heartedly now. Not that we always succeed, but we try!

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  9. That skirt is lovely, and the leftovers will be really cute made up into a pair of shorts. Now I want border print shorts!

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    1. Yes, I hope I have enough. I won the Thurlow pattern in a giveaway so I'm hoping there is enough fabric for a pair!

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  10. carolyn always knows the right thing to do (even when she doesn't know she's doing it).

    i love the shape of that skirt! i like how it plays with the falling dots piling up at the hem. i'd tell peeps you intended the tulip shape, it's perfect.

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  11. It really is a special skirt - aside from the fab material, it's got a special association every time you wear it. The shape looks entirely intentional, btw. I am especially interested in the comments you make about the pattern as I wanted to make this skirt in denim but found my fabric wasn't big enough. In the end I just used the pocket pattern pieces and grafted them on a skirt from another pattern. (The pockets are huge!) I've always felt I have unfinished business with this pattern as a result,although from what you say my rather stiff denim would also have been potentially immodest! I'm intending to make it again this spring with a light to medium weight red twill so fingers crossed it will be soft enough to avoid this problem. Thank you!

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    1. I definitely think the pattern needs a softer fabric. I really want a denim version with the big pockets, but I'll have to search for a denim with some drape.

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  12. Love the fabric, and love the story. Nice save you did there with reducing the dog cone shape!

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  13. i love this skirt, and the story of how you rceived it! post baby body changes take a long time to get used to. i remember being really bummed about my shape after i had my first. but honestly, from my vantage point, you look great!

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  14. Such a cute skirt, and a lovely fabric story. Border print shorts sound very appealing too. That is too funny about the skirt hem, but the shape looks intentional in the end.
    Having to fit all your patterns again is a real pain. I remember moaning and groaning about this to my long suffering husband and drowning my sewing sorrows for several years in excessive hours of deliciously frilly baby clothing instead of clothes for myself so that I not only had no old clothes that fit, but no new clothes either (leading to feeling very shabby indeed with nothing to wear crises on a regular basis), so you are being much more sensible than me. Baby Jane is obviously very well dressed (I love the knee pad leggings) and your skirt looks very nicely fitted.

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  15. This is beautiful! I love the fabric! And wow, what a story. I also have to say I can totally relate to J being in the hospital and running back and forth with a 3 month old. I had a very similar thing happen to me with my husband the day after we had our little one. You are so strong, awesome, and funny and talented. Great work on this skirt!

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  16. This is super cute! I love the shape and the print is really fun, too! And what a cool connection... Carolyn really had perfect timing!

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  17. What a fun fabric print and it's perfect in a not-very-a-line skirt.

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  18. What a great skirt! Sometimes the simplest use for a fabric is the best. The border print is the perfect focus here.

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  19. Beautiful skirt in a beautiful fabric! It's lovely to have memories of a pick-me-up like this. :)

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  20. What a sweet and thoughtful gift! That border print is adorable, and it fits the skirt perfectly! I know what you mean about the stiffer fabrics with an A-line skirt. I love the idea of an A-line skirt, but I always feel a little funny wearing them. I made two Meringue skirts that I wish I could slim down a bit the way you did here.

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  21. It's a very pretty skirt, and the story behind it makes it just perfect. Sometimes it's nice to be a bit sentimental. You know it's just fabric, but it makes you feel happy and grateful, and that's wonderful :)

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