Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Poofy skirt and twisted band tee

What do you get when you combine lovely fabric bought with a gift certificate (thanks A.!!), a new industrial sewing machine to play with, a 4-day weekend, and plenty of sewing mojo after a trip? Finished garments. :-)

Copied from RTW top, self-drafted embroidered lawn skirt, Coclico shoes
I knew I wanted something short and poofy with this cream embroidered cotton lawn, but didn't really have an exact pattern in mind. I decided to just make it up as I went along, only deciding on the width of the waistband and the fullness of the skirt. The pieces are all rectangles so it's not hard. I wanted the embroidery pattern on the horizontal so I had to cut the fabric on the crossgrain. Then it's just gathered to the waistband and lined, add a zipper and voila! I had to adjust the side seams on the waistband to really make it hug my waist, but that was it. The skirt and lining only have one seam, in the center back. I serged the edges, then sewed the seams and pressed open. I hemmed them before attaching the waistbands, using a scroll hemmer foot. If you don't have one of these then get one!! No pressing, no marking, just feed the fabric into the foot and get a perfect 1/4" hem (or 1/8"). It worked really really well, although I did pop the fabric out of the feeder and form the hem by hand when going over the side seams. But compared to my usual method of ironing the hem first and using two passes of stiching, this was a breeze.

1/4" scroll-hemmed lawn and batiste lining

Seam finishes

I inserted the invisible zipper using my new Juki and a cording foot (the invisible zipper foot I got doesn't work very well, probably operator error).

Lining/facing all finished by machine

I saw these two fabrics laying together and liked the colors, so I made another one of these tees from a taupy gray rayon/lycra knit It was copied from my favorite RTW v-neck, and I added a twisted binding to the neckline to make a little more interesting. I haven't found a favorite method for attaching this yet, this time I serged it on, folded it over and lined up the offset, and stitched in the ditch from the right side to anchor it. I also serged the raw edges of the hems, folded up and topstitched. This jersey was very flimsy, and the edges kept wanting to roll. I knew if I even attempted my usual double needle approximation of a coverstich it would tunnel like mad.

A little note about the construction order though, I notice a lot of RTW tees/tops do this:
  • Sew one shoulder seam
  • Bind the neckline
  • Sew the other shoulder seam
  • Sew down the seam allowance at the neckline from sewing the last step
  • Set the sleeves in flat
  • Sew the sleeve/side seams
  • Hems
Binding the neckline while it's still flat makes it easier to handle at the machine, and you also don't have to figure out exactly how long to make the binding before attaching it. I like to stretch mine slightly as I sew to make it hug the neck. You will end up with a little seam allowance on one side of the neckline, so it doesn't look quite as nice as setting in binding traditionally, but for quickie tees and tops I think it's perfectly acceptable.