My skirt for my sewing class is due in 2 weeks. Tomorrow the teacher is there. Next week is a lab day, she will not be there, and the week after that the skirt is due. So I've been trying to finish the muslin copy of the skirt (muslin's a really cheap material, not wearable but shows you the shape and fit so you don't waste more expensive fabric.) for tomorrow so she can look at it and then I can do the good skirt.
My first muslin skirt was too small. It should have fit, but because of how she showed us to do the pockets, I needed a 5/8" seam allowance (SA) and only accommodated for a 1/2" SA. So when I sewed it with the 5/8" SA, it used up more fabric than I'd allowed for and made the skirt too small. 1/8" doesn't seem like much, but when you times it by 4 (front left seam, front right seam, back left seam, back right seam) it adds up to 1/2" which is a 1/4 of my 2" of ease. The waist fit, but only just. I also needed to make the hips wider.
Yesterday I re-did my pattern. After hours of trying to do the first one, I decided to do this one on the computer. Google Sketch-up works great for this - I used the setting for woodworking as it lets you work in smaller increments. I set it to top view and then was able to draw out each part of the skirt. I printed it out and then copied the measurements down, then it was really easy to modify my pattern to fit the new measurements. This took me several hours, but I was also wrangling 2 kids at the same time. It probably would have taken 20-30 minutes of uninterrupted time (what's that?). I ended up having to make the entire thing wider (increased SA, then added some more width for my hips), then add a second dart onto each pattern piece to bring the waist back in. So far I have everything serged, the waistband fused and pieced together, and the darts sewn in. I still have to sew in the: zipper, back vent, pockets, waistband, and hem. Here are some pictures of the first skirt (Please excuse the wrinkles. I need to find a better way to take pictures of my sewing):
Front View (2 darts):
Back View (2 darts, "railroad" zipper, and back vent)
Inseam pockets. You're not supposed to be able to see much of the pocket. I think I accomplished that.
I *could* have saved some time by using the pattern suggested. In fact, I did use much of the pattern as a template when making my own. However, the lady (the manager even!) at Fabricland insisted that I was NOT a size 14 and even measured my waist (TIGHTLY) to prove that I should stick with the smaller pattern sized envelope, which went up to size 12. Well, it's too small. (Next time I'll stick to my guns. Please note: Pattern sizes DO NOT equal the clothing sizes you buy in a store. You MUST measure. You may be able to get away with it for kids' clothes, especially if you go big for them to grow into, but since you're likely done growing, you'll want to fit it to you properly. Too tight or too baggy will be unflattering.)
For the purpose of the course, and to get my grade, it doesn't have to fit me. I just have to prove that I know how to sew it. However, the reason I decided to take the class was to be able to make clothes that fit ME. So I think it will be worth the extra time and effort to make sure that the skirt is perfect for my body. This class does not cover fitting, but the teacher was gracious enough to tell us that if we make a muslin and bring it to class that she would help fit it to us because she wanted us to be able to wear the skirt afterwards.
So today I have to finish the muslin. Five is in school so hopefully One will give me an easy day so I can get it done. Hopefully it will fit! If not, I have to start over AGAIN. I'm not sure I even have enough muslin left to make another skirt so I may end up taking this one in, whether it fits or not.
Oh, and I should mention that the final skirt (the one done in fashion fabric, not muslin) must be sewn at school, on their industrial machines, not at home on my machines. EEK! I can use their machines just fine now, it's just finding the time to go there. The Plan is to go really early (like maybe 9 or 10 am - class starts at 1pm) with my pattern pieces already cut out and ready to sew, and sew, sew, sew. It doesn't help that the entire 3 hours of class time is usually spent learning new techniques. I mean, it helps with my sewing, but there's very little time to actually sew during class time. So I have to either come early or stay late, or both, to get it done.
After the skirt, we start on the shirt. We will have spent 9-10 classes on the skirt and only have 3-4 classes for the shirt (on the day the skirt is due, I don't know if we'll be working on the skirt or the shirt) so I'm nervous about that. Hopefully it will mostly be reusing the techniques we learned for the skirt and not a whole lot of new material to learn.
In the middle of all of this I have several dentist appointments (when you're pregnant, DO NOT drink lemon water all day to quell the nausea. It will work, but, if you're like me, you'll have 11 new cavities by the end of your pregnancy!) and my parents are overseas for 4 more weeks so I have no babysitters, and Christmas is merely 2 weeks after the end of my course. I don't know when, or if, I'll find time to sew Christmas presents. It might be a store-bought Christmas this year.