Saturday, August 2, 2008

My Own Private Sweat Shop

I had some time last week and decided to make a test skirt from a basic pattern: straight skirt, above the knee, fitted at the waist with tapered side seams and front/back darts,. The waist and hip measurements (according to the pattern envelope) are right on target. I could tell you what size that is, but I don't want to.

This is as close to making a "sloper" as I'm willing to get at this point in my sewing career. What I'm hoping to come up with is a bare-bones basis for drafting a 6-gore trumpet skirt pattern. (I have several pieces of gorgeous Amy Butler fabric I'd like to make swishy skirts out of. Not willing to cut it up until I'm a little closer to knowing I'll end up with something that will be wearable.) Instead of muslin, my test skirt is made from an olive and purple calico (quilting cotton). Didn't take long to whip up the skirt (have I confessed yet to being a slap-dash seamstress?):

I prefer my skirts to have as little waistband as possible, so that's a narrow 3/8" band at the top, basically just there to hold the waist in place. I moved the opening to the side seam from the center back, but couldn't find anything in my extra-zippers stash that was remotely the right color or size, so I just turned under the edges. If I ever decide to wear this I can put in a zipper.

I have way too much of this fabric: at least six yards, maybe more like eight? I think I bought it (many years ago) to back a quilt that never got made. The pattern is a little busy for "muslin" use, and it has no drape whatsoever, but I might as well use it for something. Remember that scene in The Sound of Music where Julie Andrews makes clothes for all the kids out of draperies -- and it's way, way too many garments out of the same print? My closet's gonna look like that if I ever get around to testing all the various patterns I have lying around.

Come to think of it, I have a halter-top, full skirt, sundressy pattern somewhere that might be cute in this fabric... or would be cute on the skinny model flouncing around in a size 6 on the pattern envelope. Might not be so cute on me.

The real problem is that it's been raining off and on for the past few days (typical for Hilo) and when it's not raining the sun comes out and it's just so darn humid. So by the time I was done making my test skirt I was too sticky and damp to try it on.

Nothing like pressing seams with a steam iron on a summer day in the tropics to make you realize why they call it a "sweat shop." My next house I'm gonna have a projects room with A/C, even if I only use it a few weeks (or days) a year.

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