Tuesday, 12 May 2015

A skirt in a day

I made a skirt in a day from a £1 fabric remnant that I pulled out of the bargain bin at Simply Fabrics in Brixton.

I went fabric shopping on Saturday a week ago because I was still looking for a present. Which I had been looking for for a very long time. And I've been everywhere!  Goldhawk Road, Walthamstow, Berwick Street, Lavender Hill, Tooting and even Kensington to name just the London locations; and also Brighton, Worthing and even Paris!

What I wanted was not to be found. Grrrh.  Not happy.

So I went back to Simply Fabrics and also checked the stall on Market Row, and did come away with a few likely prospects.  But still not what I was looking for, darn.  We'll see if my friend likes the fruits of my labours.

But all that meant that the temptation for buying more and more fabric for myself was huge.  I have way too much fabric, and being in all these shops didn't exactly help.  And to go through the bargain bins and end up buying nine lots from there!  Oh dear, I got the whole lot home and then just wanted to despair: what on earth am I going to do with all of it?

There was this one fairly square-ish piece of grey jersey. Lovely and firm, just the sort of fabric that I haven't sewn with and that looks like a good prospect for learning to sew with jersey.  So of course I had to buy it.

It then turned out that I didn't have enough width to go around my hips - so I used lots of difficult maths to figure out how wide the side panels had to be to make a wide enough tube to slip over my hips... and then I threw out that calculation when I remembered that jersey stretches and I wanted at least a bit of negative ease.

I just went with a guesstimated inch taken off my hip measurement and that turned out quite well I must say!

I chopped off two panels from the bottom of my piece and cut the remaining rectangle in half for the front and back panel.  The jersey is a two-way stretch so the side panels look distinctly different to the centre panels.  But I like it!

Here's the result:

I should probably put an elastic through the top because the skirt is rather loose without it. If I really wanted to be bothered (I'm not) then I could top-stitch the panels at both sides of each seam, but as I said: I can't be bothered.

I am really quite pleased with the result!

In contrast to the result, the process was ulcer inducing.

I am still finding sewing with jersey really difficult.  The straight stitching was tough enough and I had to go slow, but using the twin needle on the bottom and top hem was almost impossible.  I had to stop numerous times and sew really, really slow - my problems was skipped stitches, the thread wrapping itself round one needle tip, it kept coming out of the machine guides and once the thread shredded.

It was good G├╝termann thread so I don't understand why my machine ate it, nor any of the other problems. I did notice though that the thread came off its spool in quite tight curls because I only have a little left of this. It was the best colour match for this skirt.

Friends felt that all this sounds like tension problems, I will have to fiddle some more with that. I am wondering if the thread was a bit too old. Is that a thing, can thread get too old?

Here's some more closer up photos, showing some of the skipped stitches:

But having to sew at the slowest speed my machine offers did mean that I could keep the stitching line very nice and even.  It looks perfectly parallel to the edge.

Don't look at the inside, there are lots of knots because the thread broke several times in stitching the top and the bottom hems but I managed to line up any new starts quite well.

The problems I had last time was that I didn't use the twin needle setting of my machine (oh dear), but at least I used the right foot. I will try a different thread next time and see if that makes a difference.

I just hope that it's not my machine that just doesn't like jersey - I do like the result of this a lot, but I still heartily loathe sewing with the blooming stuff.  It is just too annoying for words.

Update: I wore the skirt once and the thread of the twin stitched hems broke in some places. I bought another 2.5mm twin needle, this time not Ball Point but Stretch and used that one. It was a bit better. I also used a different, new thread, again that seemed to go quite a bit better.  Unfortunately things went very wrong on the wrong side: the thread from both top needles looped on the wrong side.  It was so bad that I had huge trouble ripping the seam out even after I removed the bottom thread.


It did it twice. I couldn't believe it. I finally succeeded after rethreading the whole machine and yanking the tension of both top and bottom threads up a bit. But it was still a complete pain in the butt to sew with. I hate jersey, I really, really, really hate jersey...  It is lovely to wear but I just can't sew with it. Something always goes wrong. I just hate it.

I bought the elastic but I haven't put it in yet. That'll be a nice job at a sewing group meeting.

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