28 April 2014

My Coral Silk and Lace Zinnia

OK so I will start with a huge apology for how many pictures there are in this post, but I am so massively proud of how this turned out so I am going to ram it in your face as much as possible!

I hadn't planned on making this skirt, but I had decided I wanted a project which was not a dress. I also wanted to try using some more complicated fabrics to challenge myself a bit. When I saw a post from Colette patterns about The Stitchery hosting a sew along for this skirt I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to have a go at both those things.

Project details:
Fabric lining: Real silk crepe de chine in peach, a fabric remnant from eBay
Overlay fabric: Stretch lace in coral from Tia knight on eBay

There are three versions of this skirt, 1: a gathered waist with button placket and pocket details. 2: A pleated waist in a solid fabric. 3: a pleated waistband in a sheer fabric which includes full lining. I went for version 3 to give myself a bit more of a challenge, also because I love the drape and flow of how this version looks on the pattern website.

Before I go into the construction of this skirt I want to start by saying that I LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!. I wasn't sure if the colours would go but they work really well together, the fit is spot on, the drape is perfect, there is nothing that I don't like about the finished item, Woo Hoo!

This pattern is labelled as 'beginner' which I do agree with, but take this with a pinch of salt if you are doing version 3 and handling difficult fabrics. The fit is very simple, you only need to fit in the waist band, lovely and easy, I like that. I wanted to time how long it took me to make this skirt but decided to stop caring after 10 hours! 10 hours to sew a skirt that only requires fitting in the waist!. This did include all the patter cutting, the fabric cutting, markings etc etc but still, yeowch.

The main issue I had with this skirt was sewing the two fabrics together. I was using a delicate silk crepe and trying to sew it together with a stretch lycra lace, not easy, those little buggers just kept slipping and stretching and puckering all over the place. However, after my first attempt at the waistband I calmly decided to try attaching my walking foot to my sewing machine to see if that made a difference. Did it? hell yes, that made things so much simpler, the fabrics really wanted to just flow together through the machine with those extra little feed dogs helping them along. Phew. 

I really wanted to get a good finish on this make and so tried very hard to make this skirt as perfect as possible. Because of the sheer fabrics I did my first ever French seams on this make on both layers of the fabric. I am so happy with these, I keep showing them to people whilst I have the skirt on (stop flashing at strangers Helen!) much to my surprise they sewed up pretty easy and they make the whole finish look so much neater and more professional. 

The pattern instruction for version 3 is a little vague on the back seam/hemming instructions. When inserting the zipper you are told to sew both layers together joining them in the back seam. However, later on you need to hem the underskirt separately and shorter than top layer. How are you supposed to do that when you have attached them both together? I eventually gave the pattern to Mr Fox to see if he could get his engineer brain around it and he suggested sewing the back zipper seam short of the bottom to allow me enough room to turn both layers under. This did seem to work a treat but it did baffle my brain for a while. The only other thing worth mentioning is that marking the pleats is a painstaking task, but make sure you do it. I used some contrasting tread but by the time I got there half of them had come out and it made life very difficult.

So the end result... big beemy face from me, and I will finish off with a compilation windier pics to show you just how lovely and swooshy it is.


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