A Wild-and-Crazy Maxi Skirt (aka Look Who Finally Finished Something!)

Don’t sound the “Stranger Danger” alarms, folks: it’s just me, back after an unintended blogging hiatus! Hiiiiiiiii!!! 😀

I haven’t even got a good excuse for my extended absence–life just got in the way of blogging, I guess. Well, that, and I haven’t gotten much sewing done lately. I definitely didn’t finish my Anna dress in time for the big Instagram party–in fact, I haven’t even finalized the muslin stuff yet–but I enjoyed seeing what everyone else came up with. I am thisclose to having the bodice fit the way I want, and it’s very exciting! I even got a zipper in my muslin, and it’s looking goooooooood. Here’s what I have left to do: move the pleats so that they match up with the edges of the CF skirt panel, sew the pleats about an additional 1/2″ toward the apex, take in the waist a bit, and take about 1/4″ out of the back neckline on each side to fix a slight gaping issue. I have adjusted the skirt pattern pieces so that the side seam is relocated appropriately, and apart from losing about 4-5″ of length and making the same waist adjustment that I will make to the bodice, that’s all I need to fix there. Yay!

Once I completed my most recent muslin, I decided I wanted to make a maxi skirt using the Anna pattern and some rayon challis I bought earlier in the year. Since this is supposed to be a casual garment/wearable muslin, I just marked 4 inches up from the bottom of the pattern pieces and stopped my skirt there. I lost what amounts to a couple of inches of sweep that way, but whatevs. (And seriously, WTF is up with the gargantuan length on these skirt pieces?? Gah.) I also added a waistband, because I really prefer those to waist facings. For the waistband, I just cut a rectangle (I fussy-cut it so that I could have my favorite part of the skirt’s repeat on the outside) that was 1″ longer than my waist PLUS 5/8″ on each end for the seam allowance. I also interfaced it, since this is rayon challis we’re talking about here. (Speaking of waistbands, one of these days I will try to show you guys how I sew waistbands onto skirts, because it’s super clean.) So without further ado, here is my Anna skirt:

Anna-liscious!

Anna-liscious!

Side view, BAM!

Side view, BAM! (And a blur of dog.)

Mulder and I both showed our backsides for this one...

Mulder and I both showed our backsides for this one…

Anna in motion

Anna in motion

Gotta have a twirl photo...

Gotta have a twirl photo…

Pretty neat, huh? It’s super comfy and swishy. This fabric is a lot louder than most of what I regularly wear, and that effect is magnified by the fact that it’s a maxi skirt, but I’m digging it. Now comes the downside: this skirt is not my best work. The pattern matching (or lack thereof) is really bad, and I didn’t manage to think about aligning the black pyramid motif on the waistband with the center of the skirt front. 😦 Construction-wise, I did a really good job though. French seams throughout, except for the front seam where the split goes and the back seam where the zipper goes. And the waistband was attached in my usual fashion, which encloses all the raw edges. The above pics were all taken before I added the hook and eye at the top of the waistband, so if you see that gap there, that’s why; it’s done now, though! I actually ought to add a second hook and eye between the first one and the top of the zipper: I had a handful of 7″ invisible zippers on hand and was therefore determined to use one, but I could really have used a 9″ to make my life easier! Oh well.

Can you spot the French seam?

Can you spot the French seam?

Zipper; that's Hug Snug to finish off the raw edges there.

Zipper; that’s Hug Snug to finish off the raw edges there.

I used white thread for everything, and am really proud of how invisible the final stitching on the waistband ended up being thanks to my fussy-cutting:

Camouflaged white stitching to secure the waistband!

Camouflaged white stitching to secure the waistband!

And of course, it wouldn’t be an Anna without some sex appeal:

Dat split tho.

Dat split tho.

Since this is a casual skirt, I just topstitched the split opening (a la my Inari dress splits) and the hem. Speaking of that hem, measuring it was made SO FUCKING EASY thanks to my newest friend inanimate object:

My very own (VINTAGE!!!!) adjustable dress form--that fits me!

My very own (VINTAGE!!!!) adjustable dress form–that fits me!

“Size JR.” Damnit.

What her insides look like...

What her insides look like…

That’s right, I got a dress form!!! I put the skirt on her and was able to measure my hem out from the waistband without a problem AND without a live assistant. Hooray!

I cannot adequately express my excitement at finding this form. Finding one that would fit my stupid measurements had proved impossible since I started sewing seriously, and I had resigned myself to either buying a Uniquely You form (which isn’t a bad form, just a lot of work) or making a plaster cast (a task with which Tom should NOT be trusted, frankly), or just never having one. And then a Festivus-worthy miracle happened: while we were in our hometown a few weeks ago, we stopped at the antique shop owned by a cousin of my in-laws, and I saw this form from across the room. The price was way lower than any new form would have been, and that was before my “family discount” was applied. 😀 Plus, she is vintage, and you guys know how much I love my vintage! (Speaking of which, you know I didn’t get out of there with just the form, right? Not possible. xD) All she needs now is an adjustment or three and a name! Name suggestions for the dress form are welcome and encouraged! **Disclaimer: we here at “The ‘Mads’ House” reserve the right to ignore not use any suggestions we don’t like, or which have been previously reserved by us for future Fur Children/sewing machines/etc., etc.** 🙂

So there you have it: a new skirt, a new dress form, and a nearly-ready pattern to make a properly-fitted Anna dress! I will leave you now with some outtakes and the supply list. Thanks for reading–I’ve missed you all!

“There is no Mulder, only Demon Ginger Dog.”

Attack of The 50-Foot Wife!!

Attack of The 50-Foot Wife!!

Anna Skirt Supplies:

Anna dress pattern from By Hand London (skirt pieces only)
4 yards rayon challis from Fabric.com; I used about 3-3.5 yards, probably
1 x 7″ invisible zipper (9″ would have been better)
2 x hook and eye closures
Several feet of Hug Snug seam binding
Interfacing for waistband (roughly 3.5″ x 24″)
White thread

A New Tool and A Half-Assed Project

Have I mentioned how wonderful the online sewing community is? Because seriously, it’s great. Someone, somewhere, pointed out that JoAnn’s was having a sale on Singer dressforms on August 1 only. The husband happened to have the day off, and went to the store for me and picked one up. I paid 40% of the retail price! I’ve wanted a dressform but didn’t want to spend the money, and this sale was the perfect opportunity. So, without further delay, meet “Alice”:

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“Alice,” being indecently naked

It’s been handy having her around already: she wears my Hawthorne for me so that I don’t have to keep it in the closet!

On Wednesday, I stumbled across the Sorbetto pattern from Colette. (Again, I have no idea how or where, but thank goodness for other sewists!) I downloaded and printed it and decided that I would make it out of some Hawthorn scraps so that I could wear it for an out-of-town thing we had this weekend. I cut everything out on Wednesday night and did all my sewing on Thursday. Unfortunately, I hit many a snag during the course of this project. First, my scraps were not nearly plentiful enough to make this entire tank top–I cut the back on a fold, but couldn’t do the same for the front. I gonzo’d my way out of that by squeezing the front pattern piece onto the fabric twice and letting the pleat section overhang the edge. Since I had some other scraps (thank goodness I didn’t throw them out!) from another dress I’m working on, I substituted a strip of that for the pleat section. I measured it and cut the appropriate width, and sewed it to the front pieces just inside the pleat area; the idea was that I could then sew the pleat on the original pleat line without having bulky stitches. It worked! I gamely proceeded forth, getting so far as to attach the neck binding (in the contrasting color again) before trying the top on. BIG mistake. It’s super tight across my chest and barely goes on over my head! I cut the size 0 because that’s the size I wore in the Hawthorn; I assumed (dumb of me, I know) that the 0 in a 60’s-style swing top would also fit me. Nooooooooope. Not only that, but when I ironed the pleat and basted it, I apparently did it off-center. Since the color is contrasting, it’s pretty obvious. Lesson learned: don’t “eyeball” stuff, even on a quick project!

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The sad Sorbetto

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At least my binding looks kind of okay!

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It may not look like it, but it’s super snug. In a bad way.

After trying it on, I stopped working on the project. The armholes aren’t bound yet, and the hem isn’t done. (Speaking of which, it’s already too short without being hemmed. I can’t win!) I did French seams again, and I’m thinking I will need to let them out and use a very small seam allowance instead to ease the pressure around my bust. I haven’t even tried this on with my bras, and it barely fits; adding the bra would probably pop the seams! I’ll also need to realign the center pleat, which means unpicking the very center of the neck binding. Needless to say, I headed out on our road trip wearing one of my RTW tank tops and a scowl!

I’m trying to make myself feel better by finishing my other project and planning the next one. They are both from vintage patterns, and I’ll post more about them another night. Since we were so busy and sleep-deprived this weekend, it’s past this blogger’s bedtime!