Saturday, 17 August 2013

Seeing Red? Zips, Waistbands and Hems...

Hello Ladies and Gents,

This is the second blog on making a circle skirt and they'll be a limited amount of photos... I was merrily taking pictures and when my Husbandy was looking through them when he spotted that they hadn't come out as the camera was on the wrong setting...I wasn't amused to say the least but I will try and explain the best I can and your imagination will also help!

So, I'm about to join the front and the back of the skirt together. I marked a 1.5cm seam along the side of my fabric and pinned the pieces together (right sides facing). I stitched the sides together using my Singer 2250, carefully following the line I had marked on the fabric. With one side done, I then moved onto the other which involved the invisible zip. Now I had been eager to use my invisible zipper foot for a while so now the moment had come! With my blog and Coletterie blog called "Installing an Invisible Zipper" at the ready, I was good to go!

When installing the invisible zip turn the fabric wrong side facing each other and rights sides on the outside. Mark a 1.5cm seam along the length of the zip and marking the bottom of the zip with tailors chalk. Unzip the zip and pin the zip right-side-down onto the right side of the fabric. Take the skirt to the machine and stitch making sure the zip teeth go in the left hand hole in the invisible zipper foot. Once done, do the same to the other side, pinning the right-side-down to the right side of the fabric only this time put zipper teeth into the right hole on the invisible zipper foot. Phew... invisible zip done! I must confess it took me more than one attempt to get right - especially as when doing the right hand side I puckered the fabric so had to do it again...and again. Practice does make perfect and one day I'll be the master of stitching invisible zips but until then I will do my best and not give up! To finish the seam I swapped over the pressure foot, turned the fabric inside out so right sides were facing, placed a pin at the bottom of the zip as well as pinning the two sides together and stitched. 

#selfie #nowaistband
So in theory I had a skirt and all it needed was some tarting up... how hard could it be! Now in my case I found the instructions for inserting the waistband a bit sparse so I went on to You Tube and found this great tutorial by Professor Pincushion called 'How to sew a classic waistband'. This tutorial is great for beginners and it really got me out a jam. 

With my fabric ready, I pinned the waistband to the right side of the fabric along the stay stitch which was stitched earlier. I then sewed along the edge of the waistband as close to the edge I could make it. I then took this to the iron and pressed. Once pressed you then had a nice smooth line to put in the top-stitch. With top-stitch complete, I folded over the fabric onto the wrong side of the fabric and hand sewed the waistband using a slip stitch making sure not to pierce all the way through the fabric. I then hung the skirt up over night.

Well I left it hung for a little longer than a night but it had all hung beautifully
Measuring up the hem

and I was ready to do the hem. I read the pattern and measured from the top to the bottom leaving a 1.5cm hem at the bottom. It was at this point that I could tell I had not been very accurate when cutting out the pattern so instead of measuring 1.5cm from the bottom, I measured from the top and measured at 61.5cm and joined up the marks. I then stitched using the sewing machine all along the tailors chalk mark. After stitching I took the fabric to the ironing board and pressed the fabric along the stitch I had just done. I then folded the fabric under to make a neat role and pressed and pinned - see photo below. Once pinned I did herringbone stitch all the way around to make a neat hem and ta-dah my skirt's complete.

Rolling under to make the hem
I enjoyed making this circle skirt by Simplicity but I will say a few things... 1) the pattern comes up big! When I had stitched it altogether (including the invisible zip) I had a size check and it virtually fell off! So this involved a lot of unpicking and cutting but all this made good practice for me so I saw the positive side. I followed the size 16 pattern (which says a 30" waist) and in the end made a size 12 (which says a 26" waist) so please double check before you stitch. 2) The other thing I would do differently is make the waistband double the thickness and perhaps insert some interfacing. By doing this it won't be so fiddly and make the waistband more firm and 3) The pattern is for beginners but still found the instructions a little confusing and perhaps lacking in detail. I do enjoy a challenge and working things out for myself but sometimes it can take the enjoyment away by not even having enough info to look up about! All this said, I will definitely make the skirt again and next time use a more exciting fabric!

Top Tips:

  • Equipment: Fabric (2m) with matching zip and thread, fabric scissors, paper scissors, tailors chalk, pins, sewing pattern, sewing machine, invisible zipper foot, general purpose zipper foot, tape measure, iron and time!
  • Don't be afraid to research how to do something... if you're like me you like to figure things out for yourself but when you're learning you need to take 5 and research how others have done it to help overcome those little challenges
  • Double check the measurements before taking the fabric to the sewing machine! Although I didn't mind in the long run, if you were using a more delicate fabric it could stretch or damage the fabric which would be a nightmare. Pin the fabric together and make any adjustments with safety pins

Useful Websites: 
Happy Zipping x

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