Now I'm referring to construction steps...the things or procedures you do once you've chosen the pattern and the fabric. I am referring to the decisions you start to make when you lay that piece of fabric onto the cutting table and begin the construction process. Have you ever really thought about all of the steps you take/make from the cutting table to actually wearing the garment?
Well I thought about it today...probably because I took what should have been a very simple to make skirt and as usual turned it into a production. I am beginning to think that I can no longer sew "fast & easy" but that everything must have the best construction techniques I know thrown into it. I use to brag that I could make a simple skirt in 60 minutes/1 hour...add some lining to it and I only needed 30 minutes more. I don't think I could do that now, if my life depended upon it! *LOL*
So steps - lets start with the fabric:
Both pieces are from Metro Textiles - when Kashi handed me the black eyelet, he originally paired it with something shimmery and soft...however, I saw the cotton paisley print and KNEW that I had something that was more me. I knew that I wanted an a-line skirt with this print under it...at first I thought that the two skirts would just free float and be connected at the waistline. I also thought that I would use my TNT four gore skirt to accomplish that...but something happened between the purchase to the time the fabric landed on the cutting table:
I decided to cut this as an on-grain skirt with only side seams. So I laid both pieces of fabric down on the fold and cut them out together. I hemmed and hawwed over whether they would be separate skirts or one piece...finally the fabric decided that it liked being together so after cutting them out, I serged the two pieces together. This definitely made it easier to work with...no worrying about how to handle the seams of the eyelet fabric.
Next I sewed the side seams up thinking that I would make my regular elastic waist skirt...but it was late...like 1:30 in the morning and I decided to call it a night and start again in the morning. I went to sleep with that skirt on my mind and when I woke up this morning, I had dreamt of a skirt with darts and a lapped side zipper...not one with an elastic waist!
So this morning I added darts to the front and the back of the skirt - using my TNT straight skirt's dart placement to get the darts on the skirt correctly. Up next was the lapped zipper, after I ripped out half of the side seam, I had to remember how to put in a lapped zipper...it's been a minute, okay? *LOL*
Using the DVD, "Easy Zippers" by the Islander team, I quickly reviewed how to insert a lapped zipper but I also remembered a few things (ah, it's coming back to me now!) that I liked to do to insure the best insertion:
1. I put a piece of fusible web in the center of the lapped piece to hold it together and add firmness to it - the video tells you to fuse the seamlines, so I guess it's the same principle. I've sometimes had a problem with the lapped area not catching and flopping open. The fusible web makes sure that I am working with one solid piece...
2. The second thing I always do is to hand baste the lapped piece of the zipper down. It insures that I catch the entire lapped piece and it gives me a guideline to machine stitch the zipper down. From the pic, you can see that I used a burnt orange thread for the hand basting so that I was sure to see it when I took it to my sewing machine.
Darts, lapped zipper, and several fittings later, I had to make a decision about waistband or no waistband? More steps...*sigh* I went with no waistband but needed to add a waistband facing to finish off the top of the skirt. Okay, I'm NOT cutting waistband pieces at this point...so I went looking for some bias binding that would work for the facing. I found a striped cotton blend from the collection and used that:
Let's see now that means measuring the bias binding, serging one end so that it will be finished inside the garment, sewing it down, turning and pressing (clapper photo above), edge stitching it flat and hand basting it to the side seams and darts...ummm, how many more steps did I just add!?!?!
I try the skirt on...it fits! But I don't like the length. I dig around in the closet for a tank top and a sweater to try it on with...I put on the Spanx...ummm, a little loose! *sigh* I can take the waistband facing off and remove the handstitching and edgestitching, deepen the darts and put it all back on...NOT!!! Or I can go have some lunch! Lunch won! *LOL*
But while I'm making a sandwich, I remember that Summerset added a button tab to one of her skirts? recently....ummm, I can do a tab! Back to the cutting table to cut out and sew a tab, find a button, make a buttonhole and sew the entire thing together. I'm almost afraid to try the darn thing on but it works, it really works! (Thanks Summerset!)
Finally, I am onto the hem. I knew even back before it became "The Production Skirt" that I wanted to bind the hem of the eyelet...again it would just be easier to handle the hem if there was something solid to add to the eyelets...but I needed to decide on length, binding material and how to apply it...more steps!
This time after rooting around in the notions collection, I found a cotton blend bias binding that I've had forever. I bought a 50 yard roll of it at least 10 years ago and I'm slowly working my way through it...probably one of my better purchases! Anyway it was applied on the right side using a 1/4" seam allowance...at which point my sewing machine decided it wanted to die on me! I am truly worried about it since it's been acting funny after the power shut off yesterday...
I turned it off for 30 minutes, while I pressed the seam towards the binding and then pressed it towards the back covering the seam while I watched a little Oprah. I am trying to be patient here...but I am worried about my SM! Next, I flipped it back on and I sewed close to the edge of the seam, checking every now and then to make sure that I was catching the binding in the back...and finally, finally the skirt was done.
I got this binding technique from Vonnevo on PR. Her photosite use to have the technique listed on it...cause I printed the pics off but I can't find it now...maybe I'm overlooking it...she has a Picasa site and a Flickr site.
During one of the trips to my daughter's full length mirror to check on the fit of the skirt, I did moan about how long it was taking to make a simple skirt...and her response was two words, "Quality Sewing."
However, I do think it is more than just that! I really do think that you can decide how many steps you want to take/make in your garment. I'm not sure if the steps are based upon sewing knowledge - well I guess some of them are...because how else would you know how to perform the task if you didn't know about it! But I think some of it is choices too...
So tell me, how many steps do you usually take when constructing a garment? Do you think them out ahead of time or do you just wing it? Do you sometimes get halfway through the construction process and realize that you need to go in a different direction? Or do you just forge ahead with the plans you already have? Talk back to me...I really want to know...because I took an awful lot of steps to get a simple skirt constructed today!!!