Ginger Rogers Skirt (HSM #12)

I spent a lot of time contemplating this challenge, debating what I should make for the topic this month: redo.

For the first half of December it was looking like I might not be able to squeeze in another project between birthday and Christmas presents but my crazy schedule finally calmed down this last week and I was really able to dive into a project.

For this month I chose to redo one of the garments I made earlier in the year: a 1930’s skirt that I made for Challenge #2 (Blue). Part of my decision was based on the fact that I’d had plans to make the pattern again for a while but a large deciding factor was my desire to see how much I’d improved my sewing skills since February.

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I used McCall’s 6993, view B. The fabric came from my stash — I’d originally picked it up at a secondhand store so I’m unsure of the fiber content.

I used quite a few techniques that I’d practiced over the course of the year, including drafting (to make the waist fit better), lining, and fabric-covered buttons, paying special attention to the work I was doing.

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I hemmed it while watching Top Hat, which was the perfect movie to go along with the skirt and gave the it its name.

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This is how I wore it today; I ran outside when I got home from work so I could have my sister snap some pictures of me before the sun set completely. The shoes were new (and matched the blue stripes perfectly!) which wasn’t the best decision to wear for my shift. Eight hours of standing = sad feet.

Looking back at the skirt I made in February I am very happy with how my sewing has improved in 2015.

For one, the top-stitching along the top is much neater. Plus I paid careful attention to how the pattern on the fabric laid and tried to match the stripes better than I had the checkers.

Next, I lined the skirt and sewed the facing down with bias tape to make a neat seam. On the blue skirt I left the facing loose, overlocking the edges (which ran into some issues when I took out the pockets and 8 extra inches — there are some holes in it now). The loose one now seems fiddly and hard to wear.

Finally, I paid extra attention to how I hemmed the skirt this time (not pictured). Last time I turned it under twice and sewed a straight stitch. This time I used bias tape (like at the waist) which presented a much neater finish.

So, all in all, I would call my last project of 2015 a major success! I ended up with a skirt I am happy to wear (it’s really warm!) and am proud of. I can really see how much I improved my skills this year which is really the purpose of what I’m doing!

The Challenge: Redo (HSM #12)

Fabric: Tan and blue striped fabric, black for lining

Pattern: McCall’s 6993

Year: 1933

Notions: Blue bias tape, off-white thread, black thread, buttons

How historically accurate is it? More than the last one!

Hours to complete: ~8 hours.

First worn: Today (December 31 — it’s not yet 2016 here, no matter what the date of this post says!)

Total Cost: Basically $0 since everything was from my stash. Thinking back to when I bought the materials, it probably comes in between $7 and $10.


Once Upon a Skirt

Once Upon a Time is, hands down, my favorite show. If you’ve never seen it, it’s basically the story of all the famous fairy tale characters cursed to live their lives trapped in our world, the “land without magic.” It’s full of true love and heartache, good and evil, princesses and pirates, and some of the most stunning costumes I’ve ever seen. So, in honor of its winter premiere last night, I want to share a project that was a long time in the making.
Back in season two, Belle (yes, as in Beauty and the Beast) wore this skirt and I loved it as soon as I saw it and knew that I had to have something like it.

This project wasn’t at the top of my list, so I worked slowly over the next few months, planning it out and hoping that I would happen across the fabric. After compiling and analyzing images of the skirt, I settled on a 3/4 circle skirt with about a 2″ waistband.

One of my favorite details about the skirt is that it isn’t hemmed. Instead, it’s left to fray with a line of thread about an inch above the bottom to keep it from unraveling too much.
In researching it online, I came across two exact matches on WornOnTv and read that it was lined with yellow fabric. I couldn’t find any pictures of it, but I could catch a few glimpses of it during the show and in gifs.
So when I came across a cut of this fabric in a second-hand shop for $3 I was ready to start sewing. It was remarkably similar to Belle’s, only slightly more blue. Unfortunately, when I got it home and unrolled it I found that there was hardly anything there. Less than a yard, in all.
So I spent a few days marking out my measurement with pins, taking it all out and readjusting to try to get enough out of it. I kept trying to get it all cut in two to three pieces, but it wouldn’t all fit onto the fabric. I shelved the project for a few more weeks, wanting to wait until I’d drafted a paper pattern that I could cut up and piece together as needed.
But before I got around to it I found this pattern on sale for $1 at Joann’s; just the thing I was needing.
I was just able to cut out all that I needed. I had to make one piece into two parts (making a 5-piece skirt instead of 3-) and cut the waistband out in three parts, but it worked out in the end.

I dug out some blue fabric left over from a project from a few years ago to line it with. It hangs loose, a couple inches shorter than the outer layer, and makes a rather lovely swishing sound when I move.

Final Product:
Front                                                 Side
Back                                                 Lining
It closes with a zipper at center back and two hooks-and-eyes on the waistband. I had to help the fraying hem along a little, pulling the strings carefully apart around the circumference, but it is still one of my favorite things about the skirt.
I finished it back in the last few weeks of January and have worn it several times since. It’s definitely one of my favorite pieces to wear.
Have you ever made anything inspired by a television show? How did it turn out?

1930’s Skirt – (HSM #2)

The 1930’s have never been my forte, fashion-wise. While I’ve admired that period of history for other reasons, I’d always been under the impression that the long, slim lines would look silly on me.

But when I saw this new pattern on sale at Joann’s for $1, I couldn’t pass it up. At the very least, I could give the fashions a real chance before making up my mind.

Since the prompt for this month was ‘blue,’ I pulled out a length of plaid fabric from my stash and started sewing up option B, without the belt. The pattern itself was really straightforward and easy to put together. There are seven gores; one of which I cut on the bias.

I ran in to two problems during the construction:

1. The fabric was too stretchy. It’s not really a stretchy fabric in and of itself, but when the pieces were put together, it was too big and just slipped right off my waist. I’d cut my regular size but had to take 8 inches out of the waist.

2. Pockets. Enough said.

I don’t know why I thought pockets would be a good thing to add to the skirt, but I did. And, boy, was it ever a bad idea.

As flat as I could get the pockets to lay.

In the picture above, the skirt is finished except for hemming. I tried it on only to find that the pockets gaped, pulled, wrinkled, and looked just plain awful. So I quickly cut them out and sewed the slits closed.

Today was tank-top weather!

The skirt lays infinitely better with the pockets taken out. I slipped my Oxford heels on this morning to take a few pictures of the finished product and was entirely pleased with how it turned out. I hadn’t expected the skirt to flatter me, but I find that my opinion of 30’s fashions has changed dramatically!

I like how the front gore looks cut on the bias, but I could have done a better job matching the stripes through the rest of the skirt. The seams around the back don’t look too bad, but, looking at it again, I think I should have matched the patterns.

Well, there’s always next time.

The Challenge: Blue (HSM #2)

Fabric: Blue/black plaid (with a very subtle pink stripe running through)

Pattern: McCa;;’s M6993

Notions: Navy thread and zipper. Black hook-and-bar.

How historically accurate is it? I can’t really say. I know that plaid was popular during the 30’s, as was cutting on the bias. But, I know the fabric content isn’t accurate and I don’t know about my techniques. I would guess somewhere around 60-70%?

Hours to complete: Probably about 5-6. I would have saved myself a lot of extra time if I hadn’t wasted time with those stupid pockets.

First worn: Today to take some pictures. I’m planning on actually wearing it on Monday, though.

Total cost: I bought the fabric so long ago, I don’t remember its cost. I tend to buy fabric that it around $3/yard and I used about 2 yards. So my guess would be about $6. I had the notions already and I’d bought them at such a low price that they wouldn’t even add another dollar onto the total.