DIY: Skirt #2

My personal sewing goal is to be able to make one kick-ass pencil skirt. For the next little while you may see a few of these “Did It Myself” skirt posts.  Don’t worry, this won’t turn into a sewing blog. 😛

I know in my first DIM skirt unveiling, I said I would try something easier, but I went ahead and tried another pencil skirt, but this time with a side slit.

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What do you think? The material is 100% cotton, so it doesn’t drape as well as I’d like (it crinkles at my every twist and turn). It took me a few weekends, but only because I didn’t have an invisible zipper to match the fabric. In the end, I think it was a blessing in disguise. I was dying to work on it so I spent a lot of time perfecting the details and the fit waiting for the zipper to come. It turned out pretty well. Check out the cute little grosgrain ribbon in the inside:

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The fitting process was…I don’t want to say difficult, but it was very time consuming and took a long time to get just right. What may have helped me was my previous knowledge on fit since for so many years I’ve studied, analyzed and picked apart clothes trying to figure what needed to happen to get them fit my petite body perfectly.

For this skirt, I followed a pattern, and as much as I tried to alter the pattern itself before actually cutting, the fact that I’m petite and the pattern was not, turned the process into a whole new ballgame. With my initial changes, theoretically the skirt should have fit. In reality, it did not.  Regular-sized sewing patterns (like many ready-to-wear clothes) are definitely made for women with hips, thighs and a butt, all of which I do not have. It was a lot of sewing, adjusting, sewing, adjusting, sewing, and adjusting. The fit turned out a lot better than I expected, however. The biggest mistake I made was shortening it too much when cutting the fabric, not sure how that happened. So instead of a 2″ hem, it was more of a .75″ hem with an added a polka dot grosgrain ribbon for binding to make it pretty. Overall, I’m pretty happy with it. For the next skirt, I will attempt to add a lining. Stay tuned.

Review: J.Crew No.2 Pencil Skirt in Leopard

I was just going to return this skirt without blogging about it, but I figured that some of you might be interested in how the Leopard version of the J.Crew No.2 Pencil Skirts fits, so this is just a quick review.

00P (left) and 00R (right) side by side:

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Check out the length on the 00P! I was actually expecting the fit to be *exactly* like the No.2 Pencil Skirt in Double Serge Cotton (see here). However, even though they fit similarly in the waist and hips, the length is a good 3″ longer! Comparing the 00P to the 00R, the 00R is obviously larger and proportioned for a non-petite. The widest point since lower on my body, although that partly has to do with the fact that it’s sitting lower since the waist is 1.5″ wider. The length on the 00R is also quite a bit longer than the 00P, but despite the fact that it is big all around, I’m kind of liking the extra long length even though it’s still probably a touch too long for me to get away with.

What I don’t like about this skirt? It’s cotton. Without paying too much to the description on the website, I ordered it expecting something else. I find it somewhat disappointing since it makes this skirt a lot more casual-looking. The material almost looks and feels like a light (but soft) canvas. My feelings? Meh. It’s not as thick as the double-serge cotton and there is no lining. No side or besom pockets either. It’s acceptable if you are looking for a casual looking pencil skirt, but this isn’t for me despite the great fit and the good quality. Regular price is $118, although I snagged it on sale around $70 (I think).

What do you ladies think of it?

I “DIM”

I “Did It Myself”.

Ever since I got my sewing machine, I’ve been pretty obsessed with it. I have become quite the hoarder already–books, machine accessories, patterns, fabric. I started out doing some starter projects to familiarize myself with my new hobby, such as this reversible tote:

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Then, I decided to move on to skirts. However, I did not start with the super easy elastic band A-line skirt that all new sewists are supposed to start out with. I was feeling crazy ambitious and began with a pencil skirt–complete with interfaced waistband, darts, vent, invisible zipper and all. I actually had to convince myself *not* to do a lining this time around. Don’t ask me what I was thinking. If there was a sure way to discourage myself so early on in my “career” as a sewist if the end result was horrific, this was it.

It was a little challenging for a total noobie who had never used and cut a pattern or put together a garment before. It took me about four weekends to finish it mostly because I was feeling extremely overwhelmed at times. But I learned that the key is to really take your time. The western culture, particularly Americans (no offense intended), constantly demand instant gratification: I want everything NOW and not later. Sewing is definitely not one of those hobbies that will give you that. It’s very much a process that requires care at all steps of construction. If you want a really professional looking garment, you really need the patience which I sometimes do not have. I will say this, however: There is something oddly therapeutic about sewing. Who knew?

A few of you saw it on Twitter already, but here is my very first skirt:

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And it fits too! LOL. Well actually it’s a smidge tight as you can see by the bit of pulling across the front, and a bit too high-waisted. I didn’t use ideal material, I just used the best I had that would work for this particular project. The cotton is very thin and therefore it definitely needs lining, but that’s OK, I don’t intend to wear this out in public anyway. My biggest pet peeve about homemade clothes is that they tend to actually *look* homemade. I think this falls into that category.

Vent and invisible zipper up close:

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Not bad for a noob, huh? I made a few of errors, but I’m pretty proud of how it turned out considering it was my very first garment. I’m ready to try something else!…But probably something a little easier. =/

Have you ever tried to sew a garment yourself? How did it turn out?

P.S. Happy 2012! I was thinking of posting a slightly more elaborate first post of 2012, but I guess it’s going to be my second post of 2012 instead. 😛

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