Adventures in Sewing
Pattern: Simplicity 2314 View C. Modified using McCall’s 3580 (1973).
Fabric: pink knit (1-1/2 yds)
Overlay: pink lace (1-1/2 yds)
Notions: 7″ zipper; thread.
Pattern Alterations: I drafted a modified pattern by using the waist from the Simplicity pattern and the side seam shape from the McCall’s pattern. I also lengthened the pattern by 1/2″. More on the pattern drafting in this post.
Summary: I wanted to make a skater skirt that would not be a full circle skirt – just one that would have a nice “twirl” factor without having to worry about coverage. By modifying the Simplicity pattern shown above, I was able to have the skirt fitted over the hips, but still full at the hemline for lots of “twirl.” The pictures above show the twirling. (By the way, the very first thing my daughter did when she tried this skirt on was to start twirling in it. Some things we just don’t ever outgrow!)
I also wanted to make a skater skirt with a lace overlay, but I’d never sewn lace before. While investigating sewing lace, I found there are several ways to sew the seams and finish the edges. Many of these techniques were for couture clothing. While these techniques give beautiful finishes, this skirt was just for fun and had to hold up to a lot of wear. I opted to use French serged seams. For the hem, I decided to sew a narrow hem. I also found that many lace techniques suggest sewing the lace to the fabric beneath (underlining??) and then proceeding to sew as normal. I didn’t want the lace skirt to be that bound to the underskirt – I wanted the lace skirt to float on top of the knit skirt. I chose to attach the lace firmly to the waistband and then let the lace skirt be a separate skirt on top of the knit skirt.
To make the French serged seams on the lace overlay, I put the wrong sides together and serged a very narrow rolled edge seam. (See the left photo below.) Then I did a 3-step pressing process. First, I pressed the rolled edge seam to set the stitches; second, I opened the fabric out and pressed that rolled edge seam to one side; third, I folded the wrong sides together and pressed the seam again. (Sorry, I didn’t get very good pictures of the pressing process.) At that point, the right sides of the fabric are together just like you would normally sew. Then I went to the sewing machine and stitched the final seam just outside the edge of the rolled edge seam so that the final seam encloses the rolled edge seam. Then I opened the fabric out and pressed this enclosed seam to one side. (See the right photo below.)
I constructed the skirt in two steps. First I sewed the lace pieces together at the front, back, and right side seams. Then I did the same thing for the knit pieces. When it was time to put in the zipper, I basted the lace pieces to the knit pieces on the left side seam at the section where the zipper was to be inserted, then inserted the zipper. Once the zipper was in, I completed the remainder of the left side seam separately – the lace part and the knit part.
To make the waistband, I basted the lace waistband piece to the knit waistband piece and treated it as one piece. I basted the lace skirt and the knit skirt together at the top and then attached it to the waistband.
When hemming, I hemmed the lace skirt separately from the knit skirt. This allowed the the two skirts (the lace overlay and the knit skirt) to twirl separately.
Note 1: This pattern is cut slim across the abdomen! Compare your actual abdomen body measurement against the pattern in addition to your waist and hip measurements when choosing your size.
Note 2: The very first step in the instructions states to stay stitch the top edge of the skirt pieces. I definitely recommend this step! The pieces will stretch out with handling before you get to the step when you attach the skirt to the waistband. I overlooked the staystitching step and didn’t do it. Yep, my skirt pieces stretched out. But I was in luck! Remember that I made a “size 13” pattern – something in between a 12 and a 14. Well, once my daughter tried the skirt on, it barely fit. Way too snug for comfort. Boy was I confused! How did that happen? Somehow the waistband was way too snug, but the skirt pieces by themselves seem about to fall off my daughter. Well, that was because the skirt pieces had stretched out. So, I just unbasted the skirt pieces from the waistband and rebasted them back in using most of the available length of the waistband. When my daughter tried the skirt on again, it fit much better. The sacrifice was not having as much overlap on the waistband for the hook and eye. I just barely got that hook and eye to fit!
Note 3: It wasn’t obvious to me at the start, but the instructions direct you to insert the zipper with the lapped application, not centered. I really like how that looks!
Lace Fabric Notes: The lace I used had a net background. When I sewed the rolled edge seams, I had trouble getting a straight seam. For some reason, when the serger reached a net section, the seam bulged out. (You can see that it some of the pictures.) I’d like to figure out how to avoid that next time. Any ideas? Also, in the future if I don’t want the seam to appear so prominently, I might try a lighter color looper thread and see how that looks.
Final Thoughts: Now that I’ve tried sewing lace, I think it’s pretty easy. I might try making something else out of lace – maybe something for me?