For those of you who haven't been watching this blog I am afraid of sewing machines. After injuring someone with a flying bobbin I look on them as the enemy. But I am determined to learn to use my sewing machine! So I have been trying to make a skirt the last few months. So far I have cut three skirts too small using either just measurements or purchased patterns. One was being made of light weight white cotton and some lace curtain fabric. The white fabric was perfect but I cut the curtain fabric too short. So the skirt could still fit but wouldn't cover my knees. So my skirt pile is getting very big.
Then the other day I decided that I would try and make another skirt. I went to Beverly's and asked for help. After looking at the patterns I chose a very simple pattern marked EASY. So I still asked the opinion of one of the kind ladies there. She looked at the pattern and pointed out the word EASY on it and said I would be fine. The pattern called for light weight fabrics and in fact had an overskirt. So I went looking for some fabric and could not find two fabrics that I liked together. So I asked for help again. My question was could I use a light weight cotton instead of two sheer fabrics. She said yes, so I bought a beautiful cotton batik fabric. So armed with an EASY $6.00 pattern and $13.50 worth of enough fabric to make two skirts (just in case), I had my project for the day!
After going home I started the project immediately. I knew if I didn't start it that day it would end up in a pile! So I opened the pattern and happily saw that there were only two pieces to the skirt. My confidence rose. The pieces were very large because they were cut out of a single layer of fabric. That seemed strange but I put that out of my mind and shortened the pattern to my height. I started to lay the first piece on the fabric when I realized the skirt was cut on the bias! An EASY pattern should not be on the bias! But I remembered my mom saying "Just take your time and measure carefully". So I tried to lay the first piece when another problem came up. The fabric wasn't wide enough for the pattern! Looking at the pattern envelope it had a little note saying that the fabric would need to be pieced if it was under 60 inches wide. How could they possibly call this an easy pattern? So now I knew why the pattern didn't recommend cotton! The bias cut wouldn't drape as much in cotton as in lighter weight sheers. Then add to that the fabric piecing for the long skirt was outrageous! Some EASY pattern!
The pattern was now getting the upper hand! So I decided to make the shorter version skirt which just fit the batik fabric. Carefully laying out the fabric and measuring a dozen times I laid out the pieces one at a time because the pattern was so large. I cut the pattern pieces out and was appalled at how much fabric was wasted, but I did get a large triangle to make into a head scarf.
So finally I had all the cutting done so it was just sewing, which is the scary part! Sewing took only three hours not counting hemming. I've told this story to several people now and no one ever asked how I sewed a skirt and scarf without a properly working sewing machine. The answer was by hand. Yes I chickened out! After all that work I couldn't get up the courage to use the machine. Using a rocking needle technique I sewed the sides together putting a backstitch every 4th stitch. I actually think that I made a stronger seam then the machine would have done. After the sides the pattern had a turn down waist which was done with an almost invisible stitch. The hardest part sewing was the measuring of the skirt hem. Unfortunately I had to shorten the skirt more than I wanted but the hem was finally measured and I used a simple hemstitch. The total time counting both the skirt and scarf was 5 hours. Not bad at all and I got some good practice at hand stitching. The period clothing I have planned will be hand stitched so I really needed the practice. So if you have read through all of this here is a picture of the skirt and scarf. Maybe next time I will get out the machine!
Hand sewn batik skirt.