Yes, I did it! I finally made a piece of clothing that is wearable and funky and (so far) has no holes in the stitching. But boyoboy, was it difficult.
i thought my problems were over once I’d found the right dimensions for the pattern pieces. I think that my skill level is still firmly entrenched in “amateur” and my ambitions definitely overshot my ability. Although I’ve done it now so next time should be easier, surely… Anyway, i managed to engineer half an hour on Thursday night (at approximately 10pm) to sew the side seams of the skirt together. After a small number of tears and swears I finished it. I definitely didn’t even try to pattern match with this one, way beyond my capabilities and patience just now. But honestly? I don’t think it really matters. Still looks good to me!
Ready for the next stage
then last night I found another hour and a half (again from 10pm. Zzzzzz…) and geed up by a comment on the last post (thank you!) I decided to just go for it. I sewed the two waist band pieces together (short ends together) to make the loop. Then pinned it to the skirt. I noticed there was about a half a centimetre extra on the waistband but reckoned on this not being a problem. HOW WRONG I WAS. I sewed the waistband to the skirt and it seemed ok. Then I ironed seams (yes, me! Ironing! Such novelty) and made a start on pinning down the waist band to make the casing for the waist band elastic. Surely this would be EASY. I was a fool. A simple fool. I folded down the top edge of the waistband down to the join with the skirt and pinned in place, aiming to have the stitching close to the seam.
the sewing started. Almost immediately I seemed to be generating extra waistband fabric. I have no clue how this happened. I don’t think I was pulling or stretching the fabric. Before I knew it there was an extra inch. AN INCH. having been disappointed with the finish of things before, I decided to pull out the stitches and start again. Rip rip ripping rip. Started again. Extra pins in place, steely determination in place, i got the sewing machine going again. Very slowly this time. But again after sewing only 20cm I had extra fabric appearing. Again! A few swear words crept out. As did my stitch ripper. Back to the start. Extra pins were employed. THIS time would be better. Oh, dear reader, how I wish that was the case. It wasn’t better. But it was the last time. Half way round I had a good inch of extra fabric getting in my way. How did I solve this? I cheated.
i know, I know. But never mind. I’ve forgiven myself now and in the grand acheme of things the crime wasn’t that big. But I just cut out a wedge of waistband approximately an inch in length, thus removing the extra fabric forever. Or so I thought. Because by the time I worked my way back round to nearly-the-start (I had already pinned out the two inch gap to thread the elastic through) I had generated another half inch of fabric. I swear, the sewing machine is a magician as there is no rational explanation for this material materialising. I should put it on the stage. Anyway, I decided to just ignore the extra fabric and worry about it once I was sewing the elastic threading gap closed.
ah, threading the elastic. This took me 45 minutes. Seriously. like a good needle woman, I used a safety pin on the reading end and pinned the other end to the skirt so as not to lose it. I also followed the instructions – 34inches of 1inch wide elastic was used. this was not the right amount or size of elastic. I couldn’t get the elastic through the casing. So I cut around 3mm off the edge and it was perfect. The length? After slowly easing it all the way through the casing there was BAGS of elastic still hanging out the end. No stretch used. I sewed the ends of the elastic together and popped it into the opening to see what the skirt looked like. Awful, is the simple answer. So i pulled the elastic out again, thankfully the end was close to the gap, and cut 3 inches off it. Ends sewed back together, popped back into the casing and it looked much better. I probably could have removed another inch or two but by this point, sweaty, teary and half asleep, I decided it was fine. So I hand stitched the gap closed and set to work on the hem.
to be honest, the hem was the easiest part. I pinned a centimetre up all the way round, zoomed it with the sewing machine and hey presto! The skirt was finished. And it looks really nice.
will I do this again? I have to – my just-turned-four daughter has demanded a skirt of her own. But for me? Yes, I’ll do this again. I’ve got the template and know where the tough bits are AND I know I can get through them. So hoorah!
the final result pictures:
The reduced length of elastic meant I had a nice gather all the way round the waistband.
Look at the nicely pressed hem, see the nicely pressed seams. See the dedication, determination and swearing that went into the skirt…
end result: I have a wearable skirt. I’ve used the iron. And I have a pattern I will use again. Oh, plus I learnt how to add a waistband on a skirt, even if I did somehow generate extra fabric. Still need to puzzle that one out…