Wednesday, 4 June 2014

My first maxi skirt - a vintage make, and help please!

Hello my dear readers, I hope you are having a good week and are looking forward to the weekend. I'm flying off to NYC on Friday for a quick weekend break, before heading to Houston for a week on a work trip. I'm super excited about NYC, not to mention the fabric shopping in the Garment District all day on Saturday (I'm writing a long list, and bringing my big suitcase), and am pretty happy about the work trip - it will be a nice change.  

I have something a bit different to share with you today. I made my first ever maxi skirt! It's not just the first maxi skirt that I've made, but also my first maxi skirt altogether. It's not that I don't like maxi skirts, in fact I love the look, but I was never convinced that I could pull it off. Being a petite person I didn't want to be drowned in it, but lately I've decided to be brave, mainly as they look so damn comfy, and I kept seeing them in fashion magazines right, left and centre. 

So here is my version: 

Although I really like the look of fuller maxi skirts, I didn't think they would suit my small frame. Instead, I opted for a slimmer silhouette, and used a vintage pattern, Butterick 5884, as a base. Marie-I hope I'm making you proud ;)



I was lucky enough to win this pattern from the Sew Grateful giveaway on Gloria & Me, and I am very grateful indeed! Isn't this a beautiful pattern? This is actually the first unprinted vintage pattern that I've worked with - in fact, I had no idea they even existed until I saw them on the Great British Sewing Bee, so you can imagine my excitement when I laid my hands on this little beauty!   



Here's the instructions to de-code to the secret language, and they were very helpful! 

As you may have worked out by yourself based on the above, the skirt is cut on the bias. The main alteration I made was to lengthen the skirt by 8 inches or so, to make it a maxi length.

I'm sitting in front of a 13th century bridge, 5 mins walk from my house. Doesn't it look incredible for its age? This was the starting point of a beautiful riverside walk, and I love taking a stroll there on a sunny day, even if I felt a bit overdressed for it! 


And this is the Common Meadow that follows: 


What's the fabric, I hear you ask? You may remember the little tale that I told you last week in the Jamie shift dress post, and this is indeed the matching blue viscose that was the other side of the equation. It is even more drapy when cut on the bias, and not to mention really comfortable to wear. 

I even made French seams on the inside for the delicate fabric, and I love how neat it looks on the inside. The other good news is that I finally feel happy with working with viscose, after some puckering issues in the past. To sum it all up, I think the tricks are:


  1. Use a smaller needle - I used a size 70 this time, but switched to a 90 (normal) when sewing more than 2 layers of fabric together.  
  2. Larger stitches - I increased the stitch length to between 3 and 4 on my machine
  3. Very loose tension - I turned the dial down to almost 1, and I suspect this was the main reason behind the puckering issues previously as I only used to turn this down to around the 3 mark, as my machine manual suggested. But this time I thought, what's the point of having the scale all the way down to 1 if I wasn't going to use it? and it worked! 
With the beautiful drapiness there came problems, though, and for this, I need your help! 


Can you see the bunching around the zip on the left side seam (right on the photo)? And here's a close up from the side:


And from the front:

Not attractive.  The worst part is, I saw this whole thing coming. The fabric is quite a thin one, and as the pieces were cut on the bias, it stretches out of shape easily. So before I inserted the lapped zipper, I strengthened the seams with some grosgrain ribbon to prevent this... and it hasn't worked, even after unpicking and re-attaching the zip 4 times :(    

So, any help you could offer either to help me fix it or prevent it from happening again would be very much appreciated!   

Despite the issue, I am pleased with how the maxi skirt has turned out, and teamed with a cropped top (the top I'm wearing is not actually a cropped one, I just tied it at the front for the effect), I don't think it shrunk me any more than my "normal" clothes... I think I will be able to look past the bunching issue, and wear this skirt again. At the end of the day, who stares at your hip when you walk past anyway?

  

That's all for now folks, and as always, it would be great to hear from you! 

16 comments:

  1. I think the style and colour look great. I love seeing people go out of their comfort zone and try new styles. As long as the proportion and fit are right, I think we can all wear a maxi and they dress up or down a treat. Wish I could help with puckering but I'm learning from you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm completely with you on the comfort zone front - with this one I can't even see the zone from where I'm standing, hehe! But I am always happy to see people making different styles, rather than sticking to the same :)

      Delete
  2. Looks great! Have you tried stay tape to stabilized the seam before inserting the zip?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the advice - I haven't tried it... but will be sure to do that next time!

      Delete
  3. For the puckering, I read in Lilacs and Lace blog that with thin fabrics it is recommended to sew some silk organza where the zipper will go. It might be worth trying next time. I like the colour you chose.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Helen. I should definitely have done that, I think! Actually I have used it on quite a few projects before, and organza selvages are a truly close friend. Why I didn't think of this before sewing and unpicking the zipper so many times is beyond me! Consider it a lesson learned :)

      Delete
  4. Hmmm I'd say silk organza or at least interfacing. Maybe a hand picked zip would be best as I think sewing the 4 times might not have helped.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Woo interfacing - that hadn't even crossed my mind! Amy you've given us 3 tips all in 2 short sentences! Very impressive ;)

      Delete
  5. Interfacing the seam and...maybe moving the zipper to the back, and perhaps using something a little less than the standard 7" since you are a little petite (might keep it within the curve).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great ideas, thank you. Funnily enough I did feel that the zipper is a bit too long, and it just doesn't fit well with the shape of my hip! So it's very helpful to hear that it could be part of the reason behind the bunching.

      Delete
  6. Hello
    lovely skirt, colour really suits you! I don't have personal experience of the zipper thing but I'm just about to start the Gabriola (Sewaholic), and read the sewalong part about putting a bit of interfacing there. Here is the page for you:
    http://sewaholic.net/gabriola-sew-along-4-sewing-center-back-zipper/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! Woo the Gabriola is on my list to buy and sew! and I love Sewaholic patterns :)

      Delete
  7. Hello, your skirt looks lovely, such a pretty colour. Your zip and seam have rippled because the seam is off grain - which any A line/ hip curve wil be. Next time, cut at least an inch seam allowance to give the bias grain a change to move. Also try any stabiliser, silk organza or a good quality light fusible. Keep making maxi skirts with this pattern, it really works for upu

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind words and the helpful advice!

      Delete
  8. I'm feeling very proud right now Alice! Thanks so much for another gorgeous #vintagepledge make, you look fab in you maxi skirt! And hopefully some of the excellent tips above will help you fix your troublesome zip ;p

    ReplyDelete

I would love to hear from you - have your say here :-)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...