Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Self-Drafted Skirt 2

Self-Drafted Skirt 2 is quite similar to Skirt 1. It is a bias-cut skirt with an elasticated waist. Compared to Skirt 1, it uses a more fluid, lighter weight 100% polyester fabric with a batik-looking print. I've had the fabric in my stash for a couple of years, and love the fabric so much that it has taken me all of this time to cut into it.

7 Self-Drafted Skirts in 14 Days

The difference between Skirt 1 and Skirt 2 is the position and width of the flare. I've moved the flare so that it begins at mid-thigh, and have also widened the flare by quite a lot. To create the flare, I took my rectangular shaped pattern piece, and made 5 slashes from hem-line to mid thigh. I then opened the slashes by 4 cm at the hemline (taking care to keep the centre-front straight).

Unlike Skirt 1, Skirt 2 is lined. I cut the lining on the straight-grain, while the outer fabric is cut on the bias. This caused some issues as the outer fabric stretched more than the lining. Consequently when I sewed the lining and outer fabric together at the waist, the outer fabric needed to be eased in a lot. Placing the outer fabric against the feeddogs and holding back the fabric as I stitched helped a lot. It also meant that the skirt is too tight to pull up over my hips. Instead, I need to put it on over my head.

7 Self-Drafted Skirts in 14 Days

Unlike Skirt 1, Skirt 2 doesn't hug the back of my legs in an unflattering way. I assume the lining fixed up that problem, but I'm not really sure. Perhaps it also has something to do with the different fabric.

I am fairly happy with the result ... and I particularly adore the fabric. For Skirt 3 I will try moving the flare up even higher...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Self-Drafted Skirt 1

I am making the first skirt from 100% Polyester, purchased recently from Textile Traders at 50% off. (Yay!!) It will be a bias-cut skirt with an elasticated waist and is drafted from a modified rectangle.

I used the following measurements:
- waist circumference
- hip circumference
- distance between waist and hip
- desired skirt length

I started out by drafting a rectangle
(1/4 of hip circumference, plus 1cm) x (skirt length)
I added extra length to the top for the elastic casing (elastic width x 2, plus 1cm)
I also added a horizontal line to show where my hips are. I'll use this reference line later when I add some waist shaping.

3rd Draft

The next step was to add some waist shaping, as I don't want a lot of excess fabric between the waist/hips. I narrowed the waist by about 5cm and added a curve between the waist and hip. (This makes the narrowest part of the skirt smaller than my hip measurement, but as I am cutting the skirt on the bias I will still be able to pull it up over my hips. I wouldn't be able to do that if I was cutting the skirt on the straight grain).

Adding waist shaping

Here is the end result.

7 Self-Drafted Skirts in 14 Days

7 Self-Drafted Skirts in 14 Days

I feel that the placement of the flare is drawing too much emphasis to my hips. It really looks like the pattern dips in below my hips and then flares out again. (The bias cut makes this worse). For my next skirt, I'll start the flare higher up. I also need to modify the hip curve a bit. You can't see it from the photo, but there is excess fabric above my hip as I've made the hip curve on the pattern too pronounced for my shape.

7 Self-Drafted Skirts in 14 Days


I had no idea the back of the skirt was doing that until I took the photos. Not a good look. And to think I've worn this out in public! I wonder if wearing a slip under the skirt would stop this from happening. I'll have to try....

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My creative space

My creative space
has a pile of fabric waiting to be made into skirts for my 7 Skirts project.
(Yes, the project is in full swing ... it is just taking me a while to write them up).

My creative space is also strewn with drafting tools. Here an elasticated skirt is in mid-draft.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

7 Skirts in 7 Days

Ottobre 02/07 #8
Originally uploaded by feebeez.
I feel like drafting and making some skirts .... which has me wondering if I could pump out 7 skirts in 7 days. If I was making them all from a TNT pattern, I'm sure I could, but I do want to draft them all from scratch.

OK ... lets try for 7 Self-Drafted Skirts in 14 Days and see what happens.

Monday, February 28, 2011

More Ballet Skirts

After making ballet skirts for the girls last week, we discovered more budding ballerinas who also needed skirts....

More ballet skirts

More ballet skirts

(And no, I'm not counting these in the "7 Skirts in 14 days" project).

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ballet skirts

It has been a week of practical sewing. Laura and cousin Norah needed skirts for ballet. The uniform requirements are quite specific ... style xyz skirt in xyz colour from xyz shop. After finding the skirts that they were meant to buy were $36 for a simple chiffon circular skirt (what a rip-off!) I decided to make them myself.

I self-drafted the pattern and did everything excluding the waistband on the overlocker. The chiffon isn't an exact match to the colour that they were meant to have....but it is fairly close. The materials ended up costing about $3.50/skirt and I spent a couple of evenings sewing them.

As you can see, the girls are happy with the result. (Norah is on the left and Laura on the right).

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A wallet for loyalty cards and coupons

My creation
Originally uploaded by feebeez.
I don't think I've mentioned that I'm involved in another swap. This one is for items for the kitchen. The Grapevine Table Runner, which I posted about earlier is for that swap, as is this wallet.

The wallet is constructed from calico and batik. The idea came from a tutorial on A Spoonful of Sugar blog, but I have modified it to include a coupon pocket.

I've got one more item to make before I post off the package ...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Purple Redondo

I've just completed my third Redondo skirt (pattern is from Studio Tantrum). This one is for a birthday present for a 7th birthday. I'm really happy with how it has turned out.

Laura modelled it for me and later had to be persuaded to take it off. (I think I'll be making another one tonight).

It definitely meets the swirl test. But to make sure Laura had to do this many many times!

... and the one disaster (because there always has to be one, doesn't there?) ... When I was working out how much fabric to purchase I used the wrong end of my ruler. Instead of buying 40 cm of each fabric I purchased 35cm - which was about 1cm too small for the pattern pieces, so I had to go and buy the fabric all over again. I think the leftover 35 cm strips will become a peasant style skirt for one of my girls.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I had this idea .... it began as a sketch of a grapevine. I then tried various ways to use the design on fabric....

I wasn't that happy with the machine thread-sketching. The image was too flat.

Applique has potential, with the right fabric. (I was using scraps and the dark green fabric with light green thread is definitely not the way to go!!)

This wholecloth was my favorite ... but the design vanished too much, so I decided to colour the design in with fabric crayons...

Sutk experiment

...and then quilt the background in a McTavishing style.

Grapevine & McTavishing

I quite like the result! Now I just need to find some suitable fabric for binding.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

The unveiling...

And here is Ruby modelling the skirt that she made on my sewing machine.

Photos were delayed yesterday by the missing battery charger ... it had been stashed in an incredibly safe place. No idea who could have done that ;)

The skirt is a simple rectangle. It is constructed from two layers of fabric, with the white layer a little longer so it pokes out from underneath the purple layer. The white eyelet fabric has a scalloped edge. Ruby did 3 seams ... sideseam, seam at waist to join fabrics together, and stitching to enclose elastic. I did all the cutting out, pinning, and overlocking. (She was going to do the cutting out, but became distracted by her siblings). I left extra room in the elastic casing in case her stitching wobbled ... but it didn't, and the elastic casing is a bit puffy due to the extra fabric.

The one large error was made by me! I didn't plan the order of stitching very well. The first seam joined the two fabrics together at the waist. We then did the sideseam and then the elastic casing. Unfortunately this resulted in the inner skirt layer to have the wrong side out (so the seams are visible from the outside of the garment). I should have sewn the side seams of the two fabrics first, and then stitched the two together (for the waist seam). I was going to fix it, but then when she was wearing the skirt yesterday the eyelet fabric was ripped and I had to do a darning job on the skirt ... and after that I thought it wasn't worth unpicking the bottom layer.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sewing lessons for a 7 year-old

Ruby turned 7 last week, and I was feeling very brave today so I drew some straight lines on some fabric, put the foot pedal of my Bernina up on a stool, and taught her how to sew a straight line.

I was concerned that she would have trouble keeping the machine at a slow speed. (There isn't a magic switch to reduce the maximum speed of the machine). Amazingly this wasn't a problem at all. She went at a snail pace and didn't accidentally race off.

The most difficult task was moving the fabric to keep the centre line of the presser foot aligned with the fabric. When she tried to correct, she would move the fabric in the wrong direction. She also wanted to position her hands behind the presser foot, which makes it very difficult to steer the fabric. We seem to have both of those things sorted out now.

At the end of the lesson she sewed her very first seam in a garment. She is going to do all of the straight stitching and I'll do all overlocking. I am confident that she will finish it tomorrow and I am bound to get a photo of her modelling it with a VERY big grin. I can't wait!!
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Completed Star Quilt

Here is Ruby's star quilt all finished! I was still working on it on the day of her birthday, but completed it that evening and put it on her bed before midnight! She was a very happy and excited girl when she woke up the following morning. I don't have a closeup of the quilting, however I stippled it all over, with a couple of love hearts and the words "I love you" hidden in with the stippling. She has been having fun searching for the hearts and loves the writing.
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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pario Pannus Swap - sent

For the last couple of months I've been in the Pario Pannus Swap. We have been swapping table runners. Now that Frances has received the table runner that I made for her, I can show it to you!

Quilt front, before binding

The quilt is based on the Fibonacci Series, which is a pattern where
the current value is calculated as the sum of the previous 2 values
(ie it progresses as 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 etc etc).

It was then quilted by tracing the outline of a dinner plate towards
the middle of the 'rainbow'. I then used a walking foot to ripple
that line both outwards and inwards. The quilting did distort the
quilt quite a bit, causing it to bow in the middle but about 3/4". It
was very hard to then square up the quilt for binding!

I can't take credit for the idea as I saw a similar quilt in Flickr
www.flickr.com/photos/13777424@N04/2449104792/ and thought it
was both beautiful and would appeal to Frances on a number
of levels.

Closeup of quilting on the front

Closeup of quilting on the back

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