New Look 6847 skirt with RTW top
True confession: I sewed for years without being aware of what a grainline is. Then waaaay back in 2009 or 2010, Elizabeth (of Sewn blog, formerly of Sew a Beginner) wrote about how her sewing teacher emphasized how impt it is to grain fabric and I had no idea what she was talking about. Since then I do something which sewing purists would not consider to be graining at all. For woven fabrics, I make sure the grain line is parallel to the selvedge, or if it's corduroy, I make sure the grain line is right on top of one of the wales of corduroy. This was "good enough" for me.
(Graining knits, I use the technique Sarah Veblen shows in her PR class "Understanding Knit Fabrics").
So my lazy graining technique totally backfired on me with this fabric. Honestly I think this fabric, which is a stretch woven and somewhat plastic-y feeling, really really wants to be a bag. However, I was utterly determined to make it into a skirt, and it became one of those projects where I made it three times and even then it's not quite right.
Issue #1 PROBLEM: FABRIC NOT ON GRAIN
Look at the dots at 12". Vertically they're great, but horizontally....
One of my biggest issues was the grain. I just assumed I could line the grainline of the skirt on top of the vertical dots and away I could cut. However what I found is that while the dots looked vertically ok down the center of the skirt, horizontally they were totally OFF. After cutting out the skirt, I could not get the dots to align on the side seam at all. I made the skirt anyway thinking I'll just ignore the side seams but there was NO IGNORING THE HEM. There was NO IGNORING THE top of the skirt near the waistband either. It was SO obvious the dots were not horizontal. UGH.
Issue #1 SOLUTION: GRAINING the fabric:
Now the dots are in alignment horizontally and vertically
A while ago I started watching Lynda Maynard's Perfect Fit class on Craftsy and suddenly, as I contemplated my graining issue, an image of her tugging on the muslin like her life depended on it flashed through my mind. I bought the last of the fabric, and put a ruler on it. If I aligned the dots vertically, I could see that they were off horizontally. So I tugged on the fabric's bias until the dots aligned horizontally and vertically on the ruler. Then I was able to cut and sew the skirt.
Verifying vertical and horizontal alignment
Dot alignment on the side seam: close enough!
ISSUE #2 PROBLEM: DARTS BREAKING UP THE PATTERN
I used my favorite skirt pattern which has darts front and back, but they broke up the flow of the dots. I felt it was ok in the back, but I did not like how they looked the front (They also seemed to stick out a bit even after pressing, so they were probably stretched out). Next time I will try what Tomasa recommends for stabilizing darts in knits.
I have traced a version of this pattern where I folded out the darts for stretchy knit fabrics and it totally works, so I cut the front again using the folded out version. However, this woven fabric does not have a lot of stretch. So after folding out the darts, it is a bit too tight across the front. UGH. Since this is my third version and the fabric store has no more of this fabric, I'm done!
Too tight across the front
Issue #3: Fighting Fabric
Honestly I think this fabric is screaming to be a bag and I wanted it to be a skirt.
Issue #3: SOLUTION: Lesson learned, never fight the fabric.
I may have enough left over from my two prior skirt attempts to piece it together to make a bag (you know, like those LL Bean tote bags, where the strap is sewn down the front and back--the fabric could be pieced underneath the strap).
OTHER ISSUES (4, 5):
Carefully stitching a grosgrain ribbon....only to remove it later!
I used grosgrain as a waistband on the skirt, but it was way too tight for sitting in. Again, it's not a stretchy knit, it's a stretch woven that's not very stretchy I then removed the grosgrain waistband and sewed on an exposed elastic waistband instead. Now I can actually sit in the skirt.
I intended to do a rolled hem and made a sample first. I had not actually set the rolled hem feature on my serger so it came out looking like this. I actually like how this looks so I left it like that for the real deal.
I made this skirt way back in June....and have not sewn a garment since then, only bags! Honestly I am enjoying my sabbatical making bags--I have two more to blog about that you haven't seen yet. I definitely don't get as frustrated since there isn't much fitting involved (fit the lining to the exterior, making sure the interior zipper fits in space created for it, that kind of thing). But I would like to make at least one dress, as it is summer.
Mother nature is such a tease....will this sunflower (totally a volunteer) open tmw???