aswim in knits

Friday, July 07, 2006

The creation of a skirt: Day 2

Schedule, Day 2
Subtitle: Why it takes 3 1/2 hours to assemble a simple skirt

(the finished object)

  • Pin pattern pieces to fusible interfacing (umm ... I forgot about these pieces on Day 1!)
  • Cut interfacing
  • Read pattern directions again
  • Thread machine
  • Realize that thread tension is not properly adjusted
  • Fiddle with scrap fabric and thread upper tension control for 10 minutes
  • Read sewing machine manual
  • Realize that problem lies in bobbin thread tension
  • Find teeny tiny screwdriver to adjust teeny tiny screw on bobbin casing
  • Fiddle with scrap fabric and thread upper tension control for another 10 minutes, to match bobbin tension
  • Sew darts into front and back of skirt, sew back seam
  • Read zipper installation instructions
  • Read zipper installation instructions again
  • Read sewing machine manual, only to discover that the phrase "zipper foot" is nowhere to be found
  • Take out every attachment and match to photos in manual -- including oddities such as the multi-slotted binder attachment -- three unidentified attachments remain
  • Identify one of three remaining attachments as a zipper foot
  • Google part number of zipper foot to confirm this suspicion
  • Attempt to replace presser foot with zipper foot. Fiddle around for 10 minutes before remembering that the foot needs to be in the "up" position before replacing attachments. Attach zipper foot.
  • Install zipper
  • Look for seam ripper to remove basting stitches around zipper
  • Give up on finding seam ripper, use back-asswards method involving knitting scissors and pins to remove stitches
  • Sew side seams
  • Try skirt on for fit
  • Realize skirt is at least 2" too big around the waist, even though I measured my waist and followed instructions for the right size
  • Look at pattern pieces again -- probably would have fit better if I had made 1 size smaller
  • Restitch side seams, 1/2" further in
  • Fuse interfacing to pieces for skirt facing
  • Remember that I just altered the skirt, and need to do the same for facing
  • Cut 1/2" off sides of facing
  • Sew facing. Attach it to skirt
  • Try on skirt again
  • Sneak into bedroom without waking husband (it's now after 11:30pm) to look in mirror
  • Sneak out, get pins, return to mirror, adjust length of hem
  • Read sewing machine manual again to determine how to use adjustable hemmer attachment
  • Brain protests learning new skills at midnight
  • Give up on learning how to use adjustable hemmer attachment
  • Turn up edges of skirt and stitch 1/4 from edge
  • Finish handsewing -- sew facing edge to zipper tape, tack down facing to side seams, install hook and eye closure
  • Go to bed
The next day ...

Despite the length of time it took, this was a fun project. Now that I've figured out how to use the sewing machine better, the next one should go quicker.

I've also figured out some pattern adjustments for a better fit. This skirt is still a bit large, so I will redraft the pattern to make it 1/2 size smaller for the next skirt. I'll also take in the hips a bit, since my waist is proportionally larger than my hips. And I'll learn to use the adjustable hemmer attachment next time. (Or explore the use of bias tape instead!)

(At least I learned to use the zipper foot this time ...)

Since the skirt only requires the purchase 1 1/2 yards of fabric and a zipper, it's an inexpensive project. Since it's a simple pattern, it's also a great way to play with embellishments. I'm definitely thinking about something with an applique, some sequins or beads or buttons, or some trim, or some combination of the above, for my next version.


  • Very nice. I'll be wrestling with my machine this weekend trying to make a simple bag.

    By Anonymous Kat, at 4:38 PM  

  • Yeah! It looks great.
    And your photographer is brilliant.

    By Blogger FemiKnitMafia, at 4:47 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger FemiKnitMafia, at 4:47 PM  

  • Very nice job!! You make me want to pull out the 3 skirts I started and abandoned last summer...

    It took me a while to learn to never trust the measurements on the back of the pattern envelope!! I can't think of a single thing I've made that I didn't have to alter dramatically to make it fit me.

    By Blogger Local Egg, at 4:57 PM  

  • Boy, sewing goes a lot more quickly than knitting! That was fast. And cute! ;-)

    By Blogger Beth S., at 5:07 PM  

  • It's sew (hee hee) cute, Danielle!

    By Anonymous Kathy, at 6:24 PM  

  • It looks great!! And I think that might be the first picture I've seen of you. "Hi!!"

    Your tale of its contstruction totally rocked. Especially the google bit.

    By Blogger Chris, at 7:34 PM  

  • it looks great! yeah, sewing can be tough on the nerves. all those steps! but next time will go much quicker as you won't have to do all that adjusting and testing. huzzah!

    By Blogger gleek, at 8:31 PM  

  • What a cute skirt! Great job.

    By Blogger Ruth, at 9:20 PM  

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