So here we are. September. The moment we’ve all been waiting for. A full month long event filled with days and days of handsewn garments.
As you may well be aware, a rather sweet English girl set this fun up. The point of this is to show off and inspire others with the handstitched wardrobe you’ve built up over time. After thinking about this for a few months, I’ve come up with a few ideas. I decided that I wanted to continue my regular blog posts along with a few smatterings of Self Stitched September sweetness thrown in the mix. I’ll try to add the specifics like pattern numbers, fabrics and such.
I’ve decided not to exclude altered garments, as I’ve found that I don’t have a huge amount of clothing to work with. So, you’ll see a smattering here and there of clothing that I’ve bought that I’ve had to alter in some way to fit me correctly. Don’t forget to check out the Flickr Group to see what others have ensembled together. It should be a September to remember! For the participants list, have a look here. I, myself, am rather excited just to be inspired by the looks that everyone will be sporting. If its one thing that’s fun to me, its seeing the same garment in a variety of different ways. I’m very excited to be participating and I hope that in some way I can inspire you to participate next time or even oil up your machine and start sewing again.
I’ll be back with more fun this month and dare I breathe it…..a GIVEAWAY! I haven’t had one of those since Spring. It’ll be real good too. Oh you just wait!
Believe it or not, this skirt has given me fits. I’m finished with my pencil skirt and I’m sure you are probably on your way to being about done as well, but let me just say, this skirt has given me fits. It started with the zipper. It ripped right out in the middle because I ironed it, putting the iron right on those coils. Yup. It’s been a little downhill from there. I’m also debating whether or not I really feel like taking up the hem for the lining. When I sit down, you can now see the lace. Ugggh….alright, alright, no more complaints. Let’s talk about the finishing details. I’m calling this one my Summer in Italy Skirt and yes, we took the photos in a cemetery. Thank you.
First off, let’s have a chat about fabric choice. For a pencil skirt, you have the world at your feet. Given the sophisticated nature of the this silhouette, it’s fun to play with by sewing the skirt in a playful fabric. For this version, I chose a colorful cotton sateen. But this skirt can also have edge in a simple solid. I say it should be something sturdy, something beautiful and something that can go with everything in your closet.
Moving on to a few construction details. I think that pencil skirts are fairly durable, but the back most definitely gets the brunt of the wear and tear. For this reason, I gave the back seam my organza stabilizer that I used in the invisible zipper tutorial. I ran the organza down the length of the back seam and the vent. This will help the skirt to avoid warping, tearing and it will stand up better in the long run. For next time, it might not be a bad idea to do this to the lining as well. In nearly all of my skirts, the back lining has finally caved.
Hands down, the back vent is fabulous. At least in my book. So easy too. The lining, maybe not so much easy, but still adds the nice touch of actually having a lining. Still, I’m in love with that back vent. Marry me….please.
When I saw this charming detail over on Gertie’s blog, I simply had to imitate. I’ve found that giving the lining a little lace along the bottom as the hem is marvelous. So feminine. So sweet. So lovely to catch a peek of. I don’t use anything real special either. This was a vintage find, but really it bears the resemblance of those stretch laces that you find by the bias tapes in the notions isle. I’ve used those too. This little detail is definitely not going anywhere anytime soon.
As far as the Jenny Skirt pattern itself is concerned, I made a change to the waistband this time. I cut the waistband on the cross grain instead of the bias. I like this quite a bit better. The more I’ve worn my navy blue pencil skirt, the more I’ve realized that the bias waistband really doesn’t work well with stabilizer. Bias garments in general, from those I’ve seen and worn, are meant to hang, sway and move. They are fluid and trying to stabilize them doesn’t really work so well. I also found that I didn’t need to alter the width of the waistband either to make it fit with the skirt. In fact, it fit just fine. Very strange as I thought the bias waistband was supposed to be stretched to fit the skirt. Hmmmm….
Just a few details for thought. How is your pencil skirt coming along? I really do hope that the tutorials have given you ideas. This has been seriously fun for me. Most definitely will be having another sew-a-long in the future. I would love to hear some feedback on what I could do better in the future too! Let me know and I’ll be dreaming up another sew-a-long for Fall. I most definitely hope you participate!
Friends, it’s been fun! You have all been such great sports. Let me know if I can still help. Please post photos to the Flickr Group whenever you like. Can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with.
I’m actually not the biggest fan of invisible zippers, but at the same time, I love the way they look. It’s like there’s nothing there. When inserted well, they look amazing so I’ve got a few tips for these babies, because in my opinion, invisible zippers are a rather weak fastening. Weak in that, they seem to rip apart the easiest, get caught on fabric, thread, you name it. OK, ready? Let’s get started.
You will need the following:
- a zipper opening (obviously something to put the zipper in, you know, like a skirt)
- an invisible zipper
- organza, fusible tricot or this fabulous fusible stay tape in the 1 1/4″ width
- an adjustable zipper foot
- an invisible zipper foot – optional. I have inserted a zipper using this method with an adjustable zipper foot, but I always have such mixed results. This however is totally up to you.
Step 1 – Cut two 1 1/4 inch strips of your stabilizer a few inches longer than the length of your zipper. Apply it to your zipper opening. Below I’ve used this precut fusible stay tape that I have in the shop.
Step 2 – You will need to mark the seam allowance for the zipper opening. I prefer to temporarily press/steam the seam allowance in place, however, you can also use your own method for marking the seam line. To temporarily press something just give it a little bit of steam and finger press along your seam line.
Step 3 – Open the zipper with the zipper pull pulled all the way to the bottom of your zipper (if you need to shorten your zipper, do that first) and with right sides together pin one side of the zipper tape to one free side of the zipper opening. Stitch in place. As you stitch from the top of the zipper to the bottom (or to the zipper pull, where you can’t stitch anymore) try to keep the zipper teeth out of the way of the machine needle with your finger. Stitch close to the zipper teeth being careful not to catch the zipper teeth. Backstitch a few times at the bottom of the zipper.
Step 4 – Pin the opposing side of the zipper the to the opposite seam allowance now. Repeat step 3 and stitch this side of the zipper from top to bottom.
Step 5 – Close the zipper. At the base of the zipper, pull up the free zipper tape with your fingers and spear a pin from one stitched side to the other. Stitch and backstitch in place with an adjustable zipper foot from just above the speared pin to the end of the garment.
Step 6 – Press your seam allowance open at the bottom of your zipper opening. Turn over and lightly press your zipper whilst closed. From here, you’re finished! Zip your zip up and down, making sure it doesn’t catch on anything and then sit back and admire your handiwork. You just inserted an invisible zipper!
A few things to consider:
Here’s some of my thoughts on invisible zips. These are things I’ve found out through experience as I’ve used this zipper application a bazillion times.
- DO NOT press open the invisible zipper (I mean that part right before you sew it in, you know, all those instructions that tell you to open up the zipper and then press the coil open. Don’t do it). DO NOT put your iron directly on the coils either. I say these two things for two reasons. Every time I’ve pressed open the invisible zipper teeth, the coils have been stitched into the fabric and then they rip the fabric and have a hard time zipping up. Every time I’ve put my iron directly on the teeth coils to press out the wrinkles in the zipper, the zipper has come apart AFTER I stitched it into the garment and while I was wearing it. Yeah, just rips right in the middle of the zipper too. Rips right apart, I tell you! I’ve done this more times than I care to admit. Don’t do it! If you have to press an invisible zipper, only press the tape.
- Invisible zippers have to be stabilized, in my opinion. They are so likely to warp. By that I mean that they bubble or the bottom jets out and looks really funky. Stabilize the zipper opening with the organza, fusible tricot, or stay tape and you’ll get a much better outcome.
That’s about all I have to say about invisible zips. I admit, I do like the way they look. Enjoy!
May the force be with you.
Hey friends! Please note that as of 4/6/2012, this tutorial has been refashioned. The instructions and photos have all been updated to produce a much more professional result. If this is your first time visiting this tutorial, read on, if this is your second or third time (or 4th or 5th) give a read through the material as some of it has changed a bit.
This is the 3rd installment of creating a vent in a skirt. For the first two posts in this series, click here and then here. Once you’ve drafted the lining for a vented skirt, we now come to the sewing up of it! Yay! For clarity, I’m going to start from the very beginning of the sewing process. I’ll include tips and tricks so, definitely read instead of just following along with the photos. Ok? Ok.
Step 1 ✂ You’ll need to cut out your cloth to begin with. Make sure you only cut 1 of each of the lining back pieces. From there, stitch in the tucks to the lining and the darts to the skirt shell. In the above photo I’ve stitched the tucks in the lining pieces and then pressed the tucks to towards the centers. No biggie, right?
Step 2 ✂ These instructions are going to look awfully similar to the ones in How to: Create a Vent, but for a few minor differences. Stitch from the bottom of the zipper opening/stop to within 5/8″ (1.6 centimeters) of the edge of the vent extension (make a notch for this), pivoting where the center back seam of the skirt and the vent extension meet. Please note that as per the Jenny Skirt pattern via BurdaStyle, this pattern has 5/8″ (1.6 centimeter) seams. Click here to view the full post »
Ok, so I know that I promised the second installment of the Back Vent Tutorial today. It will be ready for you tomorrow. Promise. In the meantime, I wanted to mention a few things for more fun! Here’s the play-by-play for the next few days. I plan to give you the second Back Vent Tutorial, complete with photos and instructions for doing the back vent with a lining AND giving you a view of what I mean by stabilizing the seams with the organza. After that, it’s onto the invisible zipper and then I’ll give you a post about finishing details. I also wanted to do a post or two on a few different variations of the pencil skirt, with easy alterations and that should finish up this little sew-a-long. I know it’s a little crazy, but here’s a schedule:
Saturday (8/21/2010) – Back Vent Tutorial Part II
Sunday (8/22/2010) – Invisible Zipper Tutorial
Monday (8/23/2010) – Finishing Details
At least this gives you an idea of what’s coming up and what to plan for next. I mean there’s nothing like waiting for instructions, going off on your own and then come to find out it might have been better to try this or that, you know. So that’s the deal.
Need me? Questions? I’m trying to answer the questions that have been posted in the comments, in the comments, so if you’ve asked about something try looking back in the comments. I’ll keep doing that, but I’m also going to email you an answer too now. You’re more than welcome to email too! I love to hear about progress and try to help solve problems.
And the Flickr Group is now up and running!!! Yay! Please jump over, have a look and add stuff. I hope you post your finished creations, but also give us some muslin fitting shots and details, progress, problems and everything and anything about the sew-a-long. I want to do more sew-a-longs, so make sure you join and give us some photos! Add sew-a-long stuff whenever you like. I’ve added my navy pencil skirt to get started.
Keep Sewing! I’ll be back with more tomorrow!