Greetings garden variety gnomes! Easter has come and gone and it was a beautiful day today. Beautiful enough that I nearly didn’t get to this post as I was taking on the seven fierce shrub roses in my front retaining wall beds. I won, although it was close. They’ve been neatly contained and even though my right arm looks like it was attacked by a rabid cat, I look forward to tackling the 20 or 30 remaining rosebushes left on my miniscule city lot… but let’s get down to business, shall we? After grading up the crescent skirt (Sewaholic 1101) last week, I got sewing this weekend and finished my sample for the shop!

tee hee! I hope you’re loving the Madonna circa 1985 styling! There is something about the adorable shaped yoke that brings me back to my checkered youth, full of monopoly games and generic potato chips; when the trinity was clearly Madonna, Prince and Michael Jackson – two of whom my mom wouldn’t let me listen to and after the Thriller video had it’s world premier on Nightracks I was too scared to even think of Michael Jackson. Fifth grade was a tough year…

Oh wait – where were we? Ah – the crescent skirt – as I was saying, the shaped yoke put me in mind of my youth. Probably because my prom dress had the same type of waistband as did practically every pair of jeans I wore in the ninth grade. This yoke is eminently more flattering than those acid washed jeans, though!

Here I am in my full Sewaholic getup. Alas, I am deeply in love with both items, but they are destined for the shop where they will live for a few months, tempting other sewing souls to purchase the Sewaholic patterns and make the EXACT SAME THING!!

Hmmmm… all that lovely pink and purple and yellow Tina Givens fabric has a certain spring vibe, no? The finished skirt is super fun! It has great pockets and the oh-so-intimidating gathered skirt behaves perfectly well in the crisp cotton! Here’s a side view. At least, side-esque…

Speaking of the awesome pockets, here they are! You can also see some of the other great details of the skirt. I highlighted the funky seams with some serious topstitching (more on that below). Also, for those of you concerned that this particular fitted yoke + gathers style might not be the best bet if you’ve got some extra cargo on board (oh, was I the only one concerned??) look how nicely the skirt lies! With interfacing on all the waistband pieces (inner and outer), everything stays smooth. I stole some advice from Sew Serendipity and pressed the HECK out of the gathers to ensure they’d lay nice and flat. Basically, I started with the iron on the yoke, grabbed the hem to hold the skirt taut and slid the iron from the yoke towards the hem, pressing as I went. I eased off a bit about halfway to the hem, as I didn’t want to give it a full pleated look.

 

The skirt still has a lot of fun swing to it, even with all the ironing!

Here’s the skirt styled a few different ways. First the plain and simple. It really is comfy and I can totally see making up a few more as casual summer wear (I have to get ready for Me-Made-June, after all…)

And here it is, all dressed up for work, church, brunch, date night. Pink and white and black work for anything, don’t they?

And here I’ve piled on the jewelry-denim-bustier-polka dots and everything else I could find to channel my inner material girl. Lucy is completely over it. I’m the crazy mom showing up 10 minutes late to pick her up from doggie daycare, a haze of smoke and Jim Croce wafting out the windows of my wood paneled station wagon. She’s so embarrassed. She’s at a difficult age, you know…

Let’s talk details, shall we? specifically the nearly-two-full-spools-of thread that I used for my topstitching.

I used a decorative stitch on my machine called ‘argyle’ – here’s what the line drawing from the machine manual looks like.

Argyle (02)

I stitched along the pockets and the curved seams on the front and back using a 4mm wide double needle. I just eyeballed it so the seamline was in the center of the presser foot and it ended up working pretty well. My machine’s not all that fancy, so the stitch quality isn’t perfect, but I really liked how it turned out!

I topstitched along the bottom of the yoke and the hem using a single needle version of the same stitch. Here, the double stitched curved yoke seam intersects with the single stitched line along the bottom of the yoke.

Here I’m showing the pocket topstitching and the bottom of the yoke topstitching.

Here’s a shot from the back. Next time I’ll use a little forethought when plotting out the stitching around the zipper. The curved seams were topstitched right after assembling the waistband, so the beginning and ending of the stitches are hidden as they were sewn over when the skirt was assembled. The topstitching around the zipper was almost the last thing I did, so I’m not 100% happy with how the stitching ends up by the zipper pull. I wasn’t unhappy enough to fix, however. This stitch is SUPER SECURE – each side of the argyle is stitched twice on the top AND the bottom – it’s a total thread hog. I had two spools of thread I’d used to topstitch the waistband of my jeans – the bigger Gutermann size (probably 500 yards) and I nearly ran out!

Here’s a badly-lit-hanging-on-the-china-cabinet photo of the front topstitching. I decided to only topstitch the curved seams on the front and back – not adding any embellishment to the center front seam. I was concerned that it’d be too obvious if I didn’t sew perfectly, and I thought the two angled lines would look better visually.

I almost skipped the decorative stitch on the hem. I’m SO glad I didn’t – I think it balances out the skirt, bringing the yellow down to the hemline.

I raided my fancy store-bought bias tape stash to finish the center back seam and the bottom of the facing. If I’d had enough I was considering finishing the hem with some of the bias tape as well – I love how the cheery gingham-like print looks with the swoopy pink and purple fabric!

I had a hard time understanding how to put the zipper in according to the directions! I think I did it correctly – at least, it works and I put it in using a totally new method and no handsewing! Can’t wait to see that step of the sewalong!

Here’s a closeup of the hem from the inside of the skirt. I did a narrow hem (turned up a quarter inch twice) as I felt like the skirt was nearing too short and I wanted to preserve the length.

One thing I love about the argyle stitch is that it looks good from both sides (at least, when stitched with only one needle!) Some of the other decorative stitches on my machine just don’t look that great from the wrong side – all wonky and loose.

As for other finishing details, here you can (barely) see the side seams – I used a french seam for them. I planned on doing the same for the pockets, but totally was on autopilot and pinned the first one backwards and was too lazy to unpin. I just stitched and did a zig zag overcast on the edges. You can also barely see some test stitches right only the seamline on the bottom of the pocket. When it came time to topstitch I couldn’t decide on thread color or which stitch to use! I had to test some out. I ended up going with the stitch because it’s nice and angular and graphic, which contrasts with the swoopy, sweet print. I picked the yellow because the slightly dingy, gold cast toned down the brights of the skirt. The yellow I used for the thread is the exact same color as the gold jeans thread from Gutermann.

The last word

[I’m a’gonna swipe the format that I see those charming Sew Weekly girls use on their posts!]

fabric: Tina Givens ‘Climber’ in Violet, from the Haven’s Edge line – purchased from Sewtropolis April 2011 – available online

pattern: Sewaholic 1101 the Crescent Skirt

notions: 1 yard Stacy Shapeflex woven interfacing from pellon, 1 9” coats and clark zipper, 3 yards Michael Miller bias tape (from Treadle Yard Goods – they’re great with phone orders, if you’re totally in love. And if I haven’t already gone back to purchase the rest of the spool…)

time to complete: 1 hour to grade up, 1 hour to cut and fuse interfacing. Probably four hours total for sewing, including a long period of me staring blankly at the zipper instructions. And ripping out the hem topstitching because the tension got all jacked up.

likelihood to make another?: Yes! I like the general shape and the stability of the yoke! It’s super comfy AND it has pockets!!

curvy girl score – 8 (out of 10) Very cute, but special attention needed to tame the gathers and ensure that it sits on the right place on my hips! Too low and it’d be, um, unfortunate.

snugbug coffee break

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