Sunday, June 22, 2014

Knit Pencil Skirts Three Ways: FAIL/PASS/PASS

These stretchy knit pencil skirts are a direct result of reading my pulmonary specialist report. My lungs are gonna be fine. But before writing that I don't have lung cancer, the doc documented my "soft, protuberant abdomen." WTF? Is that really relevant? I got an urge to show up to my next appointment in full riot grrrl mode. But I need summer work clothes, so I made figure hugging skirts instead.

All three are all self-drafted following the Simple Simon and Company tutorial. I highly recommend it! It's not a complicated process and using your own measurements means the skirts fit well when made up in the right fabric.

The striped version follows the tutorial to the letter, which calls for a fabric waistband in place of elastic. This works well with a less stretchy fabric, but the green rib was not a good choice (again). Though it would make a heck of a maternity skirt...or weight loss advertisement costume.
OMG, that one weird tip really works!
For the other two skirts, I decided to give my waistband more heft. I headed over to Delia Creates and her tutorial on drafting pencil skirts. I didn't recreate my sloper, but skipped right to her excellent waistband application instructions.

The black and gray skirt has a 2-inch exposed elastic waistband. The band is finished so nicely, in a simple way I never would have put together on my own. The finished skirt is super classy and comfortable. It's my favorite of the bunch.

For my electric blue skirt, I tried a 2-inch concealed elastic waistband. I've used this with 1/2-inch elastic for leggings and liked the result. Thought I wear it plenty, this skirt would look and feel better with a narrower elastic and a bit more ease to accommodate the less stretchy fabric.

So maybe I should thank my pulmonary specialist for his positive influence on my wardrobe...or not. Have you ever made clothing out of spite? How did it turn out?

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Renfrew Tank: PASS

Summer hit just after I finished my long-sleeve Renfrews. Isn't that always the way? So instead of fixing the holes that have suddenly appeared in all my child's pants, I made myself a tank top. Sorry to shatter any illusions you might have about my selfless sewing. Mama's got to have some new shirts.

My favorite tank top of all time had a scoop neck and wide straps, almost exactly like a Renfew without sleeves. Could I recreate this fit? I grabbed two cast-off t-shirts to find out.

The first time I made tank tops, I used the pattern and instructions in Sew U Home Stretch, which calls for narrowing the bodice at the shoulders. I wanted this top to have wide straps that stayed put, so I left the bodice unaltered.

I did use the instructions in Sew U for applying the armhole binding flat before sewing the side seams. This isn't a big breakthrough since the Renfrew instructions already call for applying the sleeves flat. But I thought I should mention it here since the neck and waist bindings aren't applied this way. 

The results are just what I hoped for: a sleeveless shirt I can wear all summer at home and my (admittedly pretty casual) office. Patching those pants may have to wait. Isn't it shorts weather, anyway?