Muslins. I’m beginning to see the value in them. I mean, up front, it seems like a total waste of cash to buy fabric to make a practice garment you can’t even wear. Right up until you do just that with fabric you really really want to wear.
I’m not a huge fan of skirts/dresses (well, scratch that–when I find one that fits, I’m a huge fan, but apparently I’m a wonky shape because those are few and far between!). I really wanted to love maxi skirts when they showed up a couple years ago, but I tried many on, and it was a complete no-go. Those were my pre-sewing days, so I just wrote maxi skirts off as breezy but not for me. Fast forward to this summer and I found a pattern. A very cute pattern–A-line maxi with a yoga-pant-style waistband. What’s not to love about that?
I had some light-weight wool knit in a pretty turquoise that I picked up at a garage sale–wasn’t sure if it was 100% wool, but it was pretty and soft and at $1/yard, I really couldn’t go wrong, right?! So I cut out the closest size (rounding down as the pattern suggested since I was between two sizes). And it was beautiful.* I should have taken a picture. It sewed up in less than 2 hours (probably a record for me!), and was super cool and comfy. And then it went through the wash. And I forgot to tell the laundry elf that it needed to go in with the woolens. And now it’s a size too small, rather felted, and calf-length. Disaster!
*I did take a couple of notes while wearing it that one, glorious, day. The waistband got a bit over-stretched after prolonged wearing and didn’t really recover (the term “recovery” had heretofore been rather mysterious to me as an infrequent sewer of knits, but now I know…).
Well, what’s a girl to do but get more fabric and try again? I picked up some cotton blend jersey chevron fabric and had another go. Except it must have shrunk a bit in the pre-wash because the 2 yards I ordered were about 8 inches shorter than planned when I went to cut it out. No matter, a knee-length skirt would be nice, too! Since I had some waistband sagging issues, I added some clear elastic to the top of the waistband and the seam where it joins the skirt (the pattern listed these as “optional” so I’d skipped it the first time ’round). I also made the waistband a little taller (and thus about 2″ narrower) for this iteration.
Can you guess, kids, what the disaster was this time? Yup. Too tight. And uber-high-waisted. Sigh. The elastic does give it lots of structure, but the higher (and thus smaller circumference’d) waistband made sitting a rather unpleasant experience. Standing was OK, as long as I wasn’t really invested in breathing. Which is a shame, because I really really want to wear this to pieces. It’s adorable.
Iteration #3? Why of course there’s a third attempt (and of course with my “good” fabric, because I have not yet learned my lesson). This attempt was actually not too problematic fit-wise, but fabric wise, a whole different ballgame. This iteration was sewn up in a very squirrely jersey stripe. To further complicate my life (because that’s how I roll, yo), I decided to cut this on the diagonal and match all those lovely stripes up at 4 different seams. For funsies, really. But I did cut out a size larger than the super tight chevron attempt (and then threw caution to the wind and used 5/8″ seam allowances instead of the proscribed 1/4″). I also ended up basting every seam together before sewing with the zig zag due to the fabric’s sheer cussedness and refusal to feed evenly through my machine while zigging or zagging.
The results? I’m pretty happy with this one. It’s comfy around the waist (I did use the clear elastic again for stability). It’s the proper length, and it’s pretty comfy. The fabric is super drapey, so it’s quite flattering. And I really like the colors. Though my hubby was quick to point out I could totally wear it for Viking pride day (blech…I was not intending to make an NFL-appropriate maxi, for sure). Apologies for the crappy phone pics–we have a DSLR somewhere, but I think hubby may have taken it to work, as it’s evading me at the moment!
Just lookit those stripes, all matching up…(and no, I did not spend 30 minutes sitting on my floor matching stripes as I cut…whatever would give you that impression?). Oooh…and did you see the sparkly?