Challenge to Self: Simplicity 2451 Complete!

Simplicity 2451

Pattern Description:
Gored skirt with a flare and a wide, curved waistband and center back zipper. View A is maxi length, View B is knee-length. Envelope also contains a pattern for a pleated-front pencil skirt with wide, curved waistband (Views C and D).

I sewed View B, without the tabs or running stitch.

Pattern Sizing:
P5 (12, 14, 16, 18, 20). I sewed a size 14. I should have listened to my gut when I thought that the finished hip measurement for 14 was too large. The skirt, of course, turned out huge.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Eh. Mostly. Because the size 14 had so much ease, I had to take it in aggressively (I removed 4″), and now it’s a bit more fitted than it should be. The fabric I chose, a khaki, is stiffer than the fabric on the sample garment, so the flare “stands out” a bit more, too.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
The instructions were quite easy to follow, but I think that a step was omitted from them!

I have made similar Simplicity and New Look garments in the past, and so I felt comfortable with most of the construction. I did choose to sew the pockets to the side panels BEFORE sewing the side panels to the front, because I wanted to be able to pin-fit the skirt. The existence of those pockets means that the side seams can’t be taken in. So why do they have you sew the front and side panels together before the “side panels” are complete with the pockets attached? If I’d followed the instructions as given, I would have already sewn the seams that could be adjusted before I was able to try the garment on.

I had better luck than usual with the lapped zipper. In the past, these have always frustrated me. This time, I used a different online tutorial to walk me through the process. Unlike the instructions in Reader’s Digest, this method does have a layer of stitching visible through the top of the fashion fabric. However, since the lap covers that stitching line, I think it was a good choice for me. Lapped zippers give me a headache, and this method got me quick results without harming the look of the finished garment at all.

As for the missing step in the instructions: When attaching the waistband facing, steps 16 and 17 say to pin the facing to the yoke, then press the facing away from the yoke and understitch. Surely you have to stitch the facing to the yoke before you press it upwards!! Plus, they don’t tell you to trim the seam or clip the curves before pressing the facing up and understitching. I made sure to trim excess bulk out and clip the curves, and I don’t think my result would have been as good if I had not.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Likes: nice shape, love the wide, curved waistband, and surprisingly, I like the pockets, which–to my surprise–do NOT mess up the line of the skirt.
Dislikes: Runs large. Faulty instructions that might trip up an even newer sewist.

Fabric Used:
Cotton khaki.

Simplicity 2451

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Since I am 5’3 3/4″, I shortened the skirt on the lengthen/ shorten line by 1 1/2″. The skirt now hits just a hair above my knee when hemmed. It might have looked a bit nicer if I’d made it another 1/2″ shorter–but then, this fabric is really firm and shortening it more also might have made the flare stand out really strangely.

Because it was overlarge, I took the skirt in by about 4″ (a bit too much), and the waistband by 2″. I think that if I had started with a size 12, I would have gotten better results.

I had some fabric bunching right under the waistband–which made me look like I had a weird tummy pooch. I more or less fixed this by pulling the center front up and into the waistband by about 1/4″. I am not sure what this alteration is called, but I have had to do it on other Simplicity skirts.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I would probably sew this skirt again, this time in a softer, drapier fabric.

I had purchased it as a hopeful TNT, because I like gored skirts with wide waistbands. However, with the amount of flare on this skirt and the unusualness of the wide, curved waistband, it may be a bit too distinctive to have multiples of in my closet.

I sewed this skirt as a challenge to myself to make a skirt in one day. Although I didn’t actually manage to do it all in a day, it was a successful experiment in that I got a wearable garment in a much shorter time than it usually takes me to make something.

Challenge to Self: Update on Day 3

So, it is two days post “challenge” and, although I will not get this skirt finished until tomorrow, I am nearly done. This is probably the quickest I have made a wearable object. At this point, the lapped zipper is in, the waistband facing is attached and stitched down, and I’ve started pinning the hem. Although the sewing isn’t perfect, it looks really good! I’m pleased with the results of this experiment, and will definitely be wearing this in public.

Perhaps I will even issue challenges to myself more regularly!

Challenge to Self: Uh-oh.

Pattern runs large.

4:00 PM

I have discovered that this pattern runs large!

Although I made the suggested size for my hip and waist measurements, clearly it doesn’t fit. I wondered whether the finished hip measurement wasn’t a bit big for me . . . but I was worried that if I cut a size smaller, I would have too little extra fabric to adjust the fit.

Nope. I would have been fine.

Looks like I will have to take in every seam, perhaps by as much as 1/2″. I hope that won’t distort the skirt too badly.

I hate to pause on a down note, but as I mentioned in my last post, I have company to prepare for. I will have to come back to this later . . . if not tonight, then on Sunday.

Challenge to Self: What’s in my pocketses?

Routine Maintenance

3:00 PM

As I had forgotten to eat breakfast today (!), I figured it was time for some routine maintenance.

Since lunch, I have stay-stitched all pieces of the skirt, then serged around the edges. Then, I took some time to review the pattern instructions.

Since I need to pin the pieces together and try the skirt on, I decided to change the order of assembly. Rather than sew the front side pieces to the front, then install the pockets, I sewed the pockets onto the front side panels first. This should allow me to pin all six panels together so I can try the skirt on and make adjustments before sewing any main seams.

So far, I am happy with how this project is looking. It helps that the construction is similar to other Simplicity and New Look patterns I’ve sewn.

Next up, pinning the skirt together. However, I must remember that I do have things other than sewing to do today. Namely: laundry, cleaning the apartment for my brother-in-law’s visit tonight, going to Jackson Heights to buy short-grain brown rice, and risotto-making.

I don’t think I can allow myself much more than an hour more to work on this before I get groceries.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t come back to this skirt later today, after I have gotten things in order for company. I don’t think I will worry too much about my sewing mess being on the table.

Pockets installed.

Challenge to Self: Cut and Marked

Simplicity 2541 – Cut and Marked

1:15 PM

I am moving right along. Now, I have cut all my pieces out (noticing just as I was putting the fabric remnants away that I needed to cut out a second pair of back yoke pieces) and marked them. In the future, if I remake this pattern, I will trace a copy of both the front and back yoke pattern pieces, so that I can lay all of them out at the same time.

Next up: wind the bobbin, stay-stitch, then serge around the edges of my pieces.