Sunday, 13 March 2016

Black cotton twill Arielle Skirt

I completely forgot that I made an Arielle skirt by Tilly last summer. I rushed it in order to get it finished in time for Craig's Cardiff to Tenby bike ride. I ended up finishing it the day before and the was hurriedly sewing on the silver filigree buttons during the morning of the ride. Once it was done, I threw my stuff into the car and drove to Tenby via our B&B in Milford Haven. I was 2 minutes too late to see him cross the finish line, but we had a lovely weekend.

I do love those buttons. It was my first time making buttonholes, which was really easy thanks to my new sewing machine which has a one-step button hole. I did try practicing buttons on my old J&S sewing machine and it was nowhere near as cleanly finished as these!

I have to be honest, I hated making this skirt - but purely because of the bad choices I made. It was a labour of love - the twill was a bit too thick and that made it difficult to handle the waistband. (It also picks up ALL the stray cat hairs and fibres in its vicinity.) I also screwed up the lining. I sewed the most perfect hem on the lining (which shifted all over the place and was the first slippery fabric I had ever used!). I then decided that the long length of the skirt was too much in solid black, and hacked around 8 inches off. However, I then had to hack the lining back!

Unfortunately I couldn't see the thread against the fabric, so wasn't able to fully unpick the lining - getting desperate I decided to cut it and wing the whole thing instead. This is how it turned out...

I cannot get that front corner to lie flat. The fabric is twisting from the inside, and no amount of pressing will fix it. I really need to open the skirt back up and fix it. The construction of the skirt amazed me, it's such a neat finish if only I'd taken my time and thought the length through properly.

I kept meaning to go back and fix the corner after we came back from the weekend away. It's been 10 months now. The skirt has lived in my chest of drawers ever since. I did wear it, once. I wore it to breakfast at the B&B. I teamed it with my black and white striped t-shirt and a pair of flats. I felt awesome.

Things I liked:
First time doing buttonholes - easy so long as you remember the machine goes backwards, not forwards.
The buttons - like filigree style buttons. Had to google how to sew on shanked buttons too, so 'learnt' a new skill.
The skirt is quite stiff which means I hold my posture better and feel more poised.
The original hem of the lining - best & cleanest finished hem I'd sewn to date.
Skirt construction - really clever and not at all how I imagined it would work out. Really clean finish.

Things I disliked:
Working the waistband - the fabric is a bit too stiff and thick.
Working with lining - the most horrid, moving fabric ever. I fought like hell with it to sew around the corners of the skirt Was so relieved when it was over.
Not being able to fix the front corner - or rather, not having the foggiest idea how to start fixing it.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Stretch fabric fail

Well, I have another failed top to add to the scrap heap. I didn't bother photographing or blogging my first failed two tops!

I'm still quite new to sewing and recently encountered a poly stretch fabric that my needles just couldn't seem to pierce consistently. Not the best project to break a 5 month sewing hiatus with! I started off with a ballpoint needle, triple zig zag stitch and a normal straight stitch foot.

I tried different stitch widths, lengths and reducing the foot pressure. Nothing improved. Then I found some stretch needles I had forgotten I'd bought, with my walking foot still on reduced foot pressure and it was better, but it was not much better.

It's been consigned to the scrap heap now as I just couldn't wear it, all the fabric gathered up while sewing and I had to stretch out the fabric to ease it out. I forgot once to leave the thread tails super long and had to resew half the seam! Stretching the seams also meant that sometimes the thread ripped. At other points it acted like a drawstring and I had to feed the thread back through and even out the gathers from the stitches. It was just really frustrating.

I might go back another day once I've played around a lot more. There's nothing wrong with the pattern, it's just that I don't know how to handle the fabric and I'm too inexperienced to help my machine out more.

On the plus side though, I sewed my first ever set in sleeves! That feels like a pretty big win!!

Things I liked:
First time sewing set in sleeves - the finish looks a lot cleaner than I'd hoped for considering it's a 3 step zig zag stitch and I really struggled to pin the fabric together.

Things I disliked:
The fabric - it's a mystery content 'stretch poly' fabric from eBay, but it acts completely different to the viscose elastane grey fabric I've used before. This fabric feels almost like it's elasticated. The machine really didn't get on with it ad the needle kept bouncing off.
The fit - it's very clingy in all the wrong places and makes me feel a stone heavier. I guess I prefer less negative ease on my clothes, at least with this fabric.