Thursday, 6 August 2015

Oh, for pleat's sake!

I have a confession to make... I hate pleats!

Let me clarify: I love the look of pleats, but I HATE the actual pleating process. Let's just say I had a bad pleating experience early on in my sewing career and I never really got over it.

So I'm not really sure what possessed me to attempt to to hack Simplicity 1873 (The mother of all confusing irregular pleat patterns) into a skirt.  I must have been going through a faze of either extreme cockiness or sado-masochism because I decided to unite my two nemeses: Pleats and chiffon
(... Okay technically georgette...)

The rematch was set.

The location was determined; the parking lot at midnight (...Okay, technically the sewing nook in my bedroom).

The seamstress in the blue corner.

The Poly-Poltergeist and The Com-pleater in the red corner.

The opponents circled each.


As usual the seamstress (For real though, that would totally be my wrestling name) took none of the precautions necessary when cutting chiffon/georgette (Such as using a rotary cutter, stabilising with starch/gelatin or cutting between layers of tissue paper) Instead I just sort of went at it with neon orange tailors' chalk and some very sharp shears and it worked out pretty well. It did, however, cut everything in one layer, to prevent shifting, but that's just standard practice for me to help get the best fabric yield. I had a 1.5m of fabric, but it was only 112cm/44" wide so I had to cut on the cross-grain.

The fabric itself is a lovely black crepe georgette. I actually got it free when one of my mum's work friends was off-loading some of her stash! Score! The grabby texture of the crepe made it MUCH easier to work with than the crinkle chiffon I used for this skirt, and it made the sewing process borderline pleasant.

The whole premise of the skirt occurred when I made a  wearable muslin of the full Simplicity 1873 dress.I really liked the skirt on the dress, but the curtain fabric I'd used was way too heavy-weight and the skirt belled-out awkwardly (Plus it weighed an absolute tonne!) Also I wasn't a fan on the center front box-pleat-it pretty much made me look pregnant :/ I immediately started dreaming of hacking the dress into a skirt and using a drapier fabric. So I did.

Other than folding out the center front pleat the only alteration I made was to fiddle with the side seam pleats a little to get the skirt pieces to match up with my personal skirt waistband. I sort of expected to need to chop off some length, but in the end I liked the length it was, so I kept it as is.

Lining rolled hem

I used french seams throughout, for the georgette and lining, and rolled hems for both. I really love rolled hems, but I think I need to invest in a rolled hem foot, because the georgette didn't respond very well to the man-handling that was me manually rolling the hem with three lines of stitching.

For the lining I used a grey lining fabric of indiscriminate fibre I got for £1.95 at a charity shop. I NEVER remember to buy lining fabric when I'm at an actual fabric shop (Too busy being distracted by all the pretties) So when I see it in charity shops I always scoop it up for the stash. To reduce bulk at the waistline I cut the lining as a simple 1/2 circle skirt.

Zip in georgette (Free hanging overlay)

I really want to talk to you about my lining/zip method because I am beyond thrilled with the results!

If you remember, when I made this skirt I tried using Grainline Studio's method for a free-hanging overlay over a zip. There's nothing wrong with the method, but it just couldn't get it to work for me, so I was pretty reticent to try again.
Lining with underlap

Instead I came up with my own method, which is sort of  the opposite of the Grainline Studio method. Instead of inserting the zip into the lining I inserted the zip into the georgette. (Sounds more traumatising than it was, promise!) Then for the lining I  sewed up the CB seam from the bottom until about 15cm from the top. Then on one side I folded and topstitched the 5/8" Seam allowances. On the other side I sewed on a rectangular flap  from the top of the french seam to the waist. (The flap then attaches to the waistband underlap at the waist, and is pressed across and topstitched to the other side of the CB at the top of the french seam.)

That was a terrible explanation, but if you've ever sewn a skirt vent, think of that but turned upside down, so that the hem attaches to the waist band. Essentially it means that the lining opens(so you can get the skirt on) but the under-lap of the flap/vent stops any chance of your pants being on show. Plus, because of the free hanging overlay you can twirl un-impeded.
This photo is probably the best expalantion
I've now used this method 3 times with great results on sheer fabrics. At some point I might make a step-by-step tutorial because (as far as I know) there isn't a method like it on the internet.

Sidenote: This was actually the first time I've sewn a skirt waist band with an underlap (Rather than continuing the zip all the way up the waistband. I actually really enjoyed it, but I think I need to add another snap to the waistband, because you can sort of see the waistband facing peeking out the top.

In other news the t-shirt is another of the H&M V-neck rub-offs that I mentioned in this post. The fabric is a lovely maroon cotton knit remnant I bought at The Cloth House on my birthday last August. It's a lot more stable and less stretchy than the knits I usually use, so the fit is a lot tighter, which is a shame, but not uncomfortable. Also the fabric was super wider, so although I only had 1m I was able to squeeze out this t-shirt and a matching So'Zo Vest top.

I also made the necklace. I went through a faze last summer of being obsessed with leather necklaces. (This faze co-coincided with the realisation that my local leathersmith sells his leather scraps for £5/kg.) So basically I went a bit nuts making tonnes of leather bows and turning them into necklaces, hairbands and hairclips, and all my friends got necklaces for their birthdays.(Tehehe). I don't wear jewellery very often anymore, but when I do this necklace is definitely a fun statement piece. Plus, with all the brown leather and maroon in this outfit, I totally feel like I'm channeling my inner Gryffindor.

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