Monday, March 18, 2013

Ticking Off the Boxes

Yesterday I (mostly) made that skirt I told you about a few weeks ago.  I had really meant to just make the muslin (a.k.a. the lining) but couldn't stop myself and did the whole darn thing, minus the hem!  It's exciting because this project ticks off a lot of boxes:  I used a vintage pattern, I inserted a lining where the pattern didn't call for one, I got to cross it off my sewing to-do list, and I got to remove the fabric from my stash inventory!

Here's a reminder of the pattern I used:  This is McCall's 6409, circa 1962.


Although this is a vintage pattern, it's kind of a cheat in terms of my goal of making something from a vintage sewing pattern.  I made the A-line skirt in the middle - really there's not a lot that's simpler than an A-line skirt, and I'd been looking for a nice pattern for a while when I came across this one.  It also includes a full- and half-circle skirt pattern, all in my waist size, so that's a bonus.  I was intrigued by the fact that the recommended fabric for the full circle skirt is felt.  I'm having a hard time imagining wearing a skirt made of felt!


I traced my pattern pieces well over a month ago, and took a couple pictures at the time, since it was my first time with a vintage pattern.  In the first one, you can get a good look at the shape of the hip.  I really like that curve; it seems that so many modern A-line skirt patterns have straight side seams.  This is a better fit for my shape.


It was also interesting to me that the lengthen/shorten line was at the bottom edge.  Not too surprising I guess in a skirt this full.


Otherwise, not much was different between this pattern and a modern one.  And OK - I have to admit that it feels a little weird for me to call a pattern from 1962 "vintage" given that I was born in 1964.  Yeesh!  So hard to believe that was 50 years ago!

Here's my sewing table (a.k.a dining table) yesterday, mid-skirt:


As you see, I've got my trusty lining book out to hold my hand.  It ended up being really easy and intuitive:  you make your entire skirt including the zipper but minus the waistband, and then make the lining except for sewing the side seam that has the zipper.  Then you sew the lining to the zipper on the opposite side from the fabric, so that the zipper tape is sandwiched in between the outer fabric and the lining.  I don't really know why I was getting myself into a mental tizzy about it!

I was a little amused by the instructions:  this pattern is rated as "recommended for beginners:"


But when it gets to the section for installing the zipper, it just says "Insert zipper according to instructions on package."  I guess that's how zippers came back in the day?  I do remember that actually from the '80s (the nineteen eighties!).   The pattern calls for a lapped zipper, but I'm just not a fan, so I did an invisible zipper.  I know I say this every time I do an invisible zipper, but this truly was my best one yet!


The other thing about the instructions that made me giggle was that it says this:


Wow!  Only four?  Well, no.  Each "step" has a number of sub-steps!  Liars!


Not that it mattered.  I didn't follow the instructions at all!

I didn't realize it until I was actually cutting out the fabric, but the front piece is wider than the back, which takes the side seams slightly to the back of the skirt.  I think that's a nice touch.


One thing I am following the instructions on is hemming:  for once, I'm actually letting the skirt hang for a few days so that the bias parts can relax.


I'm even going to do the measuring from the floor up.  I'm going to have to take off several inches.  I want this to hit just below the knee (like in the picture).  There's a two-inch hem allowed, but the pattern is obviously drafted for someone much taller than 5'4" - unhemmed, this hits me at the low calf.

Here's a picture of the hanging skirt.  I like how the pool designs come across as huge polka-dots.  I actually moved my pieces around so I didn't get a polka-dot on my solar plexus or "lady area."  I was proud of myself for remembering to do that!


And here's a close-up of my favorite part of the print:  check out these people, just chillaxin' with a book next to the pool:


With the lining the skirt has a nice heft and drape.  But I'm wishing I'd altered the pattern for my less-full right hip (which always plagues me).  I'd thought the skirt was full enough for that not to be noticeable, but it's not.  Live and learn!

Gratuitous dart and waistband shot.

29 comments:

  1. That fabric is just adorable! That's going to be really cute skirt. Making me pine for spring!

    Vintage patterns can be funny, either totally wordy or not, like in the case of your zipper. I sewed one pattern (actually a-line bias too now that I think about it) and there was one drawing for the entire skirt. ONE. Ha!

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    1. Funny! I guess this one had more instructions because it was for beginners!

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  2. Love that fabric and the skirt! Funny, I'm doing the exact same thing, constructing an a-line skirt plus adding a lining to it. It's from one of my swap gets, the wool and lining were packaged together by G Street Fabrics as sort of a one-yard skirt kit. However, both the wool and the lining are very delicate and fray like crazy so even though it's an easy make I'm taking my time. Don't want to be rushing around and then go and snag it on something!

    About the zippers, the same goes for interfacing back then. If you look at Coats & Clarks zippers and Pellon interfacing they still supply instructions. That's how I learned to pre-shrink my interfacing, from those plastic sheets that come off the interfacing roll that sometimes the cutters at JoAnn/Hancocks give you or ball up and throw away before you notice.

    Putting in the zipper tonight!

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    1. Gosh, I can't remember the last time I bought a Coats & Clarks zipper! And I do buy Pellon, but never bother to look at those instruction inserts! Maybe I'd better start!

      And wow - an A-line skirt from one yard? This one took almost 2, but it was 45" fabric. Looking forward to seeing yours!

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  3. It's cute. I love the doodles on the fabric. You are amazing.

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    1. p.s. you could totally make a skirt - it's not hard!

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  4. It's lovely, can't wait to see what it looks like once it's finished and modelled!

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  5. It's a simple pattern, but it looks well-drafted and like it has details to make a great skirt. The fabric you've chosen is so great! You always seem to find the best whimsical prints.

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  6. Cute, cute, cute! I had to laugh with you about the "four steps" lie. Maybe they thought this would be encouraging?

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    1. I think it must be! "Just 16 Steps" sounds a lot more daunting for a newbie!

      I've been reading the blog "Her Five Year Diary" and there are several entries about learning to sew (in 1962). We're so lucky we have the internet and so many other amazing resources these days!

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  7. That zipper is amazing! I love invisible zippers but I'm going off them now as one of mine has now broken. I look forward to the final version!

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  8. Ahh the invisible zipper, my one true hate:)

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  9. As always, love to see what you are making, and that fabric is adorable, but the fact that you were born in 64 is what slays me in this post!

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  10. That is a gorgeous skirt! I loved the fabric when you first showed it here, but it looks even lovelier made up. That invisible zipper insertion looks perfect. I can never get the bottom of mine neat.

    I can't believe you were born in 64, you look way to young!

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    1. The bottom was always my problem too. I think I've finally found a way that works for me. I'll try to post about it soon!

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  11. It's fab - looking forward to seeing it on :)
    Great zip!
    I'm trying to imagine a felt skirt too - it must have been fairly lightweight - otherwise, oh man, it would be soooo pooffy.

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  12. I remember working on my first Burda pattern and coming across that fatal instruction: "insert the zip" FULL STOP! And it was on a fly-front too. Ugh.
    Love that fabric!

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    1. Whoa! Do they think we're all born knowing how to do this stuff?! Crazy!

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  13. that fabric is totally adorbs! and PS there is no way you are the age you claim to be... :)

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    1. Hehehe - when I keep claiming I'm an old lady, I actually mean it, LOL!

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  14. Lovely! And kudos on your invisible zipper. I just put my first one in recently and it was a bit of a struggle, especially trying to with my regular zipper foot. Ugh!

    Ooh you should review that lining book, I'm interested if it is well-explained enough for a lining dunce like me!

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    1. Oh, I can imagine! I'd gotten to the point where I could do a pretty good invisible zip with my regular zipper foot, but once I got the concealed zipper foot, the change was really dramatic! And it's SO much easier.

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  15. What cute fabric! I'll have to try inserting a lining using the method you described. I have to admit, for some reason sewing the zipper to the lining sounds scary!

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    1. I never could figure it out, but I was making it a lot harder than it needed to be! It's really not that bad!

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  16. This is a great fabric! I'd love to be relaxing by the pool too :) I like curved side seams too, they make it easier to fit, and you can always remove some fabric if necessary. Did you identify how the wider back piece affects the fit? I'm intrigued!

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    1. Me too ;-)

      It's the front that is wider, so that the side seams fall a little toward the back. That way, when you view the skirt from the front you don't see any seams :-)

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