Monday, April 16, 2007

I've attempted to sew some dozen garments over the years, but only 3 turned out to be really wearable, all of them children's clothes. This skirt, from Sew What! Skirts is my 4th success, and I'm nearly done a pinafore for Wren that will make the 5th. I'm especially proud of this skirt because I drafted the pattern myself. True, 'drafted' is rather grandiose considering how easy it was, but I learned some important things about sewing that I don't think I would have had I simply followed a commercial pattern. For instance, I never knew that I had my choice of cutting 'on grain' (with the length of the skirt along the warp of the fabric) or on the 'bias' or diagonal. Commercial patterns come with a cutting layout, but none of the ones I've followed explained why the pieces were laid out as they were, which is partly to conserve fabric, but also to ensure that all the pieces are cut 'on grain'. In fact one of my early failures included two halves of a sleeveless dress, one cut on-grain and one cut crosswise because I was working with spare bits of fabric. Now I know why it looked so awful and puckery! Something the book didn't warn me about was that the hem of a flared skirt will bunch unless one does something about the extra fabric. I guess it's sort of obvious that the circumference of the bottom edge of a flared skirt is greater than the circumference and inch or so from the bottom, but it didn't occur to me that the extra fabric would cause trouble. My solution was to sort of ease the extra fabric in as I sewed, and I have some ideas for how to manage if I ever make a fuller skirt. For now, I'd like to make a duplicate of the above pattern in nicer fabric and with an elastic waist rather than a drawstring -- Wren flips the waistband over to keep the drawstring on the outside where she won't feel it, but it looks sort of silly.

Dinner tonight: Cannelini beans with turkey sausage, parsley, feta, and olives

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