The 42.5 hour skirt

Oh, March Break. You started out with such promise and so much time to get things accomplished. Unfortunately, I was supposed to be the one accomplishing those things and that never ends well. I started out so well, too. On the first Friday (unpaid Professional Activity day. Thanks, Ontario Ministry of Education!), I went to Ikea to outfit my sewing area with the table bar systems on offer.

My Linnmon/Ullrik cutting table. Great for tracing, cutting and hand sewing.

My Linnmon/Ullrik cutting table. Great for tracing, cutting and hand sewing.

My sewing station, on a Linnmon/Alex table bar system. There is space for my sewing machines and my serger.

My sewing station, on a Linnmon/Alex table bar system. There is space for my sewing machines and my serger.

My serger on the very end of the sewing station. It has its own drawer in the Alex cabinet.

My serger on the very end of the sewing station. It has its own drawer in the Alex cabinet.

So, one of my March Break goals was accomplished.  Other March Break goals included :

  • making significant progress on the Style Arc Coco jacket (I bought more lining )
  • making a second fitting garment of Butterick 6026 (it’s cut and sitting on the back of the chair, unsewn)
  • completing samples 11, 12, 17, 18 and skirt project for my garment construction class at Seneca (18 is yet to be done)
  • completing Style Arc Sammi pants, original and a second pair (untouched)

Why was I so unproductive? I was working on the skirt project for my Seneca class. This was an easy pattern, Burda 8155 view B.

8155-front-envelope_1

It even says “very easy” in four languages! Why did it take so much time, you ask? Well, my class project had very specific requirements. The skirt had to have slant pockets and a vent, neither of which exist on this particular pattern. I had to add these features, which required some (fairly straightforward) alterations. Then, I had to make two muslins to ensure the fit was precise. That process alone took me 12.5 hours.

The original front pattern, now used for lining.

The original front pattern, now used for lining.

The new front pattern, with slant pocket.

The new front pattern, with slant pocket.

Front pattern: adding slant pocket.

Front pattern: adding slant pocket.

Back pattern with added vent.

Back pattern with added vent.

Back lining patterns for vent.

Back lining patterns for vent.

Then, there was construction. I had a lovely black wool, left over from my Costume Studies  days (the tailcoat I never got to complete in 1998), that I decided would be perfect. Nonna, my instructor, concurred. I prepped as I always do, marking with wax tracing paper, then basting in my markings. Everything went well until I got to the final fitting.

Front view. Looking good!

Front view. Looking good!

Keep in mind, I bought the dress form because her bust is the same as mine (but not her waist, obviously!).

Why can't I match waistband ends? ARRRGGH!

Why can’t I match waistband ends? ARRRGGH!

Back view. What is that bubble?

Back view. What is that bubble?

Undeniable disaster! Completely lined, and the topstitching on the vent is not supposed to go through the lining. What to do? I cannot hand it in in this state! It is completely unwearable to boot. I decided to remake it. My wool did not agree, as I had enough for new back pieces and maybe a waistband. The waist seam allowances were trimmed and did not leave much in the way of further (re)construction. Fabric stash to the rescue!

I used just over a yard, so I still have a good amount left. Yay!

I used just over a yard, so I still have a good amount left. Yay!

I recut and remade the skirt for class. This is how I spent my March Break: making and then remaking the skirt. I titled this the 42.5 hour skirt. That includes every part of the process, including a misguided attempt to make a second version out of a lovely silk tweed in my stash. It was just too thick for the pockets, even with the bearer constructed using lining, so I shudder to think what may have happened with the vent! The grey wool/poly is actually my third version of this skirt.

Front.

Front.

Back. I still see some buckling, but it is not evident on me. I blame my dress form's teeny tiny waist and hips!

Back. I still see some buckling, but it is not like that on my body. I blame my dress form’s teeny tiny waist and hips!

Slant pocket.

Slant pocket.

Vent.

Vent. You can just see my under stitching!

Inside the back skirt panels. You can see the lined vent and the bagging necessary for hang.

Inside the back skirt panels. You can see the lined vent and the bagging necessary for hang. And that it needs pressing…

Waistband getting better. Handstitched lining at zip.

Waistband getting better. Handstitched lining at zip.

I am happy with this final result. I could do better on the hook and eye (and I may redo them! Notice I did not get too close with the camera.), but, overall, this skirt turned out well. I love the vent and think it a much nicer application than the slit in the pattern. The pockets do not bother me, but I find them unnecessary in a pencil skirt. I drafted them well and perfected the fit, so they do not behave badly, as pockets are wont to do. After all this, I now have a well-fitting pencil skirt that can be made in a (long) day. The third version took about eight hours in all, but I am getting faster with the vent, and I would skip the pockets in future.

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2 thoughts on “The 42.5 hour skirt

  1. March Break….I blame your troubles on the snowstorm and the poor sunlight level this month. I like the skirt and I think you can still salvage the first one. It took me a long time to realize I sew to relax and that means to give myself a break. Some things work out and some don’t. I really like your blog, btw

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