Saturday, June 5, 2010

Once upon a time

I made a skirt. (No photo). It wasn't a very good skirt, and the fabric wasn't very good either - it was a medium gray pinstriped poly gabardine. But it handled well, it washed well, and I wore it to death during the first few years I was working (we're talking early-mid 1980s here).

Sewing was always important, but it came and went depending on what else was going on in my life, and for a while, it wasn't around very much.

Strangely enough (or perhaps not, to those of you like me), I never stopped acquiring fabric. Nor did I get rid of any remnants large enough to be used for something - like the 1+ yard remnant of that gray pinstripe fabric.

Flash forward to 2006. Sewing and I are back together, and it's fairly hot and heavy. I've done a lot of home dec sewing for my house and am getting back into garment sewing because if I make one more curtain I'm going to hurt someone.

I'm at the point where I'm beginning to suspect that my skills have not kept pace with my ambitions. Which does not keep me from attempting another skirt, Burda 8680, from the remnant of that gray fabric. The first time I used the pattern, I made a denim skirt. That's what it was for. But next, due to my limited pattern stash (how much has changed in 4 years!) I re-used it for this skirt.

Actually, I had planned a pair of pants from the fabric, then decided that I was definitely not up to making pants yet, so I veered sideways into a skirt. I found out partway through re-cutting the fabric - because of course I'd cut the pants out before changing my mind - that I wasn't going to have enough fabric to make the skirt.

I give myself credit. I took a deep breath, looked at the pattern pieces, and tried to figure out how I could make it work. The back yoke got cut on the bias. The pocket bags got cut out of something else entirely. The skirt itself, though, was where I ran into trouble. There just wasn't enough fabric to cut out the back of the skirt. Every way I tried, I came up about 2" short.

I let it percolate for a while, and had a small epiphany. I cut a separate 2" (plus seam allowance) piece for the bottom of the skirt back, and I used all my scraps as ruffles. I cut them on the bias, seamed them together so that they chevroned, and then just zig-zagged the edges because they weren't big enough to hem.

I wore this skirt like I wore the other skirt - a lot, and then one day I looked at it and realized that we'd grown apart. I still liked the fabric, I still liked the idea, but my execution just wasn't where I wanted it to be. Plus, if I'm being honest, I'd shapeshifted and it no longer fit as well, either.

Last year the skirt moved to my friend Jen's closet, and I was happy to see it get a new home with someone who doesn't sew and therefore doesn't think it's a little wonky. She told me she wore it the other day and felt very Parisian (she's just back from vacation and she said Paris is wearing ruffles), and it's been bugging me ever since.

So today I went on Ebay and found a likely looking gray pinstriped poly gabardine, and it's winging its way to me. Let's see if I can look at that idea through the lens of 4 more years sewing experience, and turn it into something I'll want to wear a lot. Again.


Lisette M said...

You are brilliant Karen! I love the skirt, it is certainly a design that needs to be repeated.

Vicki said...

Funny story - I used the same or similar fabric in 1990 to make a maternity tent dress. My sister also bought the same fabric to make something (I don't remember what she made), but anyway recently she cleaned out her sewing stuff when she moved and gave me a large remnant of this fabric. I have had the fabric hanging over a chair in the dining room waiting for me to decide what to do with it. It will be a skirt but still deciding how to use the stripes! Hopefully you will get yours done first to give me some ideas ;)

Karin van D. said...

Cute skirt. I really like stories about how people had to be creative to make something work and when I myself get challenged like that, I think many times it only adds to the charm of a garment and makes it more unique.

Sheila said...

Cool skirt and nice that your friend loves it.

SEWN said...

I have a hard time thinking of you ever being a beginner sewing wise. So funny!

Michelle said...

Great skirt! I am glad your friend is enjoying it!

Tany said...

That's what I call a good story; I'm glad your skirt found a new home and it's being appreciated and worn