21 June 2007

Confessions of an Ill-fitting Skirt (Kwik Sew 2788-B)

I started working on this skirt about a week ago. The inspiration came from RTW garments that I've seen over the past few weeks from JCrew and Gap.

The picture in my mind was so very clear: a tan or khaki medium weight cotton zipper fly front skirt with a contoured waistband worn 1" below the waist. Paired with a simple blouse or knit top, it is all the rage of summer fashion. Having this in mind, I started the construction of this garment.

Confession #1: Constructing this skirt has been daunting, to say the least.

Inserting the fly-front zipper was extremely difficult. I had done one or two in the past, but for some reason it just was not working this time around. I had to unpick the stitches so many times, that I developed a nice rhythm. When I finally got the zipper in, it looked so-so. The fly front created this 'tenting' affect that seemed to protrude the fabric outward...making it appear as if I had an unflattering extra body part. Hmm...at that time I decided to do nothing about it. I am so glad that later I did.

Confession #2: Much to my chagrin, I did not do any pre-fitting.

I cut out a size large and sewed all vertical seams. Upon trying on the skirt, I found that it was way too big. So, I took larger seam allowances (~1") and lopped off any extra fabric. Success is near...so I thought. I attached the waistband and tried it on. I could hardly wrap the waistband around my waist! The darn thing was now too small!! Sigh.

Determined not to be defeated by this skirt, I unpicked everything. I removed the waistband, side seams, and fly front zipper. Basically, I started from scratch. Here are some changes I made: I extended the waistband width 1" (bad idea), took smaller seam allowances on CB and side seams, and shortened the zipper front 2" (good idea). The drafted zipper front was too long for my short frame and just did not look proportional to my height. If you look closely, you can tell that the front has been shortened since the fabric was not very forgiving when it came to removing stitches and needle marks.

Confession #3: Adding width to a piece doesn't necessarily make it wide.

I extended the wasitband width becuase I really liked the look of a wide waistband. With my limited pattern design knowledge, I thought that simply adding 1" to the outside curve of the waistband would do the trick. Well, it didn't. Instead, it actually pushed the garment down on my hips one or two inches - leaving nasty folds in a most unpleasant spot. I pondered this situation for a few days and realized that I should have also taken off an inch from the tops of the front and back pieces. Oh well, you live and learn.

Confession #4: A zipper is a conundrum of sorts. It presents a quick, easy method of closing an opening - but can be the most difficult, and painstaking to insert. Hmm...must have been thought of by a man. =)

After inserting and removing the mock-fly zipper at least four times, the fifth time proved to be the best. Everything went in smoothly (it should have since the fabric was nice and pliable by then) and the seam was flat, without puckers. Yes, I had conquered the evil demon that lurks between the zipper coils. After feeling quite good about the zipper, I continued with the rest of the garment. I attached the yet-to-be-realized-pucker-producing ill-fitting wasitband, understitched, and turned the waistband right side out. I cut off the extra zipper tape and went to try on the skirt and then............I pulled the zipper tab right off the track. You have got to be kidding me, right?! SIGH. I tried and tried to put that tab back on track, but nothing worked. So, here we go with the seam ripper again. Feeling defeated by the zipper demon, below is the final outcome of the mock fly front zipper.

Confession #5: CB seams may not always produce nice effects.

I have made a few skirts with CB seams and liked the end result. But, because this skirt gave me so many problems before, why not add one more to the list?! The CB seam of this skirt, when sewn, produced a line very accurately dividing me arse into two half moons. I mean, really, the line of symmetry was amazing. No matter what I did to that seam, nothing helped. I am not going to post a picture as I am trying to forget it myself.

After all is said and done, this skirt did not turn out the way I had envisioned. As I mentioned earlier, the material did not lend itself well to constant needle pokes by my machine. As a result, holes from picked seams are very visible on the out side. Also, the creases from many presses are very visible on the right side of the garment. My mother says the skirt looks fine, but to me it does not. She said she would wear it, though I strongly advised against it. The skirt now hangs as a tangible reminder of what not to do next time.

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