Friday, April 1, 2022

Alberta Street Pencil Skirts

First version of this pattern by Sew House 7 uses a stretch cotton/lycra twill from Fabric Mart. This was a designer fabric in a deep brown with a wide pattern repeat of large circles. It was heavier and stiffer than I expected, leaving me uncertain as to how to use it. Thankfully, it made a good toile for this pattern, which is intended for a heavy, denim-like fabric. The only problem was matching the print. This pattern that only needs 1 1/2 yards for the size 14--a starting point. Negative ease is recommended, and there is about 30% stretch. While my initial goal was to match the patch pockets with the front, and the motifs across the back seam, I was relieved to get some of the yoke to match the skirt. There was extra in this cut, since they included the end of the bold. There was a little more than 3 yards when I ordered 2 for a total cost of $9. This skirt used all of it, with just scraps left after careful cutting to match the print.
The zipper installation was a simple process made simpler by using scotch tape instead of pins to baste the zipper in place, but I do need a zipper foot for my Janome to get a narrower seam around the zipper. That machine is new and does not yet have all the accessories. As a result, the zipper tape is just barely caught in the stitching. The wider placket looks good in this sturdy fabric but may need reinforcement later. Next were the side seams, in which all the fitting was accomplished. In sum, it is a 14 in the waist and upper hip and a 12 through the rest of the skirt, a silhouette that can be followed on the next cut for a better, quicker way to a good fit in this pattern. The facings and hem were simple, but made better by hand stitching all the facing and some of the hem. In another fabric, top stitching would work and would make a faster finish.

I really like this skirt. It will fit well in my wardrobe and is a perfect match for the cardigan sweater I knit last year. The fabric has a rough feel but is so stretchy it is comfortable for a tight skirt. The one drawback is that the print is easily marked up. The white fabric shows through when seams are unpicked. Luckily, I didn't have to do much unpicking. It will be interesting to see how it wears--I hope it develops a nice vintage patina. The only problem so far is the pocket shape. The opening slants down toward the center front and provides an awkward angle for my hands. The pockets are usable, but not something I would slip my hands into for a comfortable position.

Although I would like to try reversing the pockets, slanting the opening downward to the side seam, that modification will have to wait. My second version of this skirt was complicated by the fabric, a lightweight scuba knit from Hobby Lobby. It is a fairly nice fabric, with a dramatic combination of stretch, weight and drape. However, even though there was no indication that such a fabric was a good choice, it is obvious now even to stubborn me that this pattern was not intended for scuba knit. In fact, scuba knit may not be intended for my sewing projects. It was an experiment that convinced me that I would not be happy with any method to attach the patch pockets in that fabric. The topstitching was buried in the thickness of the fabric. Rather than give up the pockets, I converted them to side seam pockets. The top stitching was completely omitted for a smoother look. One big revelation was that a combination of a stretch fabric with the tapered waistband omits the need for a zipper! However, this one has a zipper. There was no trouble installing it with the appropriate (3/8" is specified in the instructions) placket width on each side because I was using my walking foot to avoid stretching the knit fabric. The sizing is smaller, mostly a size 12, tempting me to try a size 12 allover in a firmer stretch fabric to achieve the recommended negative ease for this skirt. Reversing the pocket shape would be a nice mod as well. There's no photo of the second skirt. It's rather blah and doesn't get much wear. Instead, I happily post another photo of the first one, a simple flat lay so ALL the dots are visible.
I can wear the cardigan with this shirt and the skirt, but would like another shirt to wear with it. Green? Teal? Oh, maybe just brown.

No comments: