Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pamela’s Patterns Magic Pencil Skirt #109

Love. This. Pattern.

In medium weight grey knit (with gifted pink cashmere cardigan, thank you Maman):

I’ve been focusing on couture sewing for the past couple of years, which I do adore. It has one drawback, though, which is that it takes me a while to get a garment done. That is because the typical dress is really three dresses (and I’m not counting the muslins): (1) fashion fabric, (2) underlining, and (3) lining. Each fabric layer must be carefully pre-treated according to its type, layed out, marked (either by hand or using carbon paper). The underlining must be hand joined by hand to the fashion fabric at the seamlines precisely. The darts are hand stitched also, joining the underlining to the fashion fabric. All seams are sewn together by hand, dress is tried on. Then the machine sewing is done, joining the pieces together. Try on again. If all is well, remove hand stitches carefully. (Takes forever, watch Pride & Prejudice, the A&E version, or LOTR the extended version.) Then, the zipper is put in by hand. Then the “facings” are folded over and steamed in, then hand stitched down. Then the lining gets sewn together, then hand stitched to the dress. Then hemmed. Not instant gratification.

And then there is Pamela’s Pattern #109, The Magic Pencil Skirt. A wonderful result in a fraction of the time. No zipper is required. The waist is elastic controlled, and I ordered the kind Pamela recommends from her at the same time that I ordered this pattern, cutting it horizontally in half because I made the regular waisted version. I’ll use the other half for my next pencil skirt. The elastic is well-behaved, easy to cut and stitch through.

I should mention that I lengthened this version by 6 ½” inches because I like my skirts to hit mid-calf at work. I would have lengthened another inch but I didn’t cut enough fabric. Next one will be 7 ½”, the same length as my favorite “regular” skirt. Which took me much longer to make, with a traditional waistband, vent and zipper. Love love love this pattern!

A slip is imperative with this fabric. The wool is scratchy and there are pokey pieces that would especially irritate the skin at my waist. Because I am an idiot in the morning, and have to deal with two greyhounds in addition to my own disorganized self, I don’t want to have to hunt about for a slip. So I sewed one in at waist and hem. I found a swimsuit fabric at Joann’s that was a bit on the heavy side, but had the virtue of looking impenetrable to those little woolen hairs. I cut out the lining a couple of inches shorter than the skirt, sewed it up in the same manner as the skirt, and attached it to the waist using a catch stitch for stretchiness. Same for the hem.

Voila! Wore it twice the first week I made it, and once already this past week. Clearly, I need more. Next up is a black wool knit version, then possibly a blue and white knit:

Although I am thinking of combining Pamela’s Perfect T (#104) with this Pencil Skirt and making the Perfect Magic Dress in the blue and white knit, lined (a must, in my very conservative office) for truly effortless morning work dressing. The blue and white knit is more open than it appears in the photos. What do you think?

Not sure what to use for lining, though. The swimsuit lining could be too heavy, any suggestions?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Little Grey Dress

The underrated, understated sister to the LBD, the LGD:

A back view (unfortunately, not ironed after wearing twice, and not completely filled out by my svelte dress form, MiniElle):

A view of the side lapped zipper, inserted by hand (so stress free, and soft feel):

An inside view of the hand-inserted zipper:

Thank you, again, Susan Khalje for all of your wonderful guidance in putting together this LGD and My LBD, as taught at The couture techniques that you teach are relaxing and work on many types of garments.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My LBD Done!

It has actually been done for awhile, and I've worn it many times to work. And moved from one town to another, and seen my daughter off the college. And made another in a light grey, very fine gabardine. After all that fitting, this is a definite TNT pattern.

Here it is with the jacket I usually wear with it:

I will use this as part of my SWAP 2012 - Basics. Thankfully, the rules allow for 2 of the 11 garments to be made in advance of the sewing start date.