I Can’t Sew a Straight Line!

I came to this sad realization when working on this skirt.

(Oh, yeah, see the chipmunk cheek?) This skirt is from the Summer ’08 Women’s Ottobre magazine. It took an entire week to actually finish this thing. To begin with, this is a ten-gore skirt. I carefully traced stitching lines on every piece, so that the skirt would end up the right size, but it still ended up about two inches too big … the more seams, the more chance the size will change. Also, the more you need to sew straight. Which I, apparently, cannot do. Then, there were the predictable mistakes and do-overs, and after that, there were two sewing sessions on dental painkillers.

Still, I’m so very happy with this skirt! This one’s an example of what can happen when you start to commit to any creative process: the lucky accidents, the synchronicities that just work out. The fabric was purchased last year at the giant Fabric Depot Outdoor Sale … a quilting cotton that didn’t really sing to me, but it was attractive enough, I liked the colors, and the price was right at $1.99/yard. So I stockpiled it away, not knowing what it would ever become. The hem fabric was also an Outdoor Sale steal (I’ve also got a fully lined pair of Burda trousers made from this tweedy polyester); the lining and the waistband were bought at the Goodwill Bargain Barn ($1.68 a pound for everything, and I regularly go to scrounge fabric). When I started looking over the Ottobre mag, this skirt was rather low on my “to-do” list. It looked a bit too ladylike for me, I suppose.

But then! I rediscovered the striped fabric when looking for something else, and the pattern popped up in my mind, and you know the rest. Here’s what I love about this skirt:

  • It’s perfect for a bold stripe like this. It ends up not too barbershop-quartet-y, not too Alcatraz-y. The way the stripes interact at the seams is great.
  • The lining is a perfect fit. I screwed it up a bit, of course, but it’s probably the best lining I’ve done yet.
  • Contrast hem and waistband: genius! The way the contrast hem is sewn on (basically, it makes a casing) is so tidy, and it makes the hem nice, round, and swirly. The fabric I used is heavy, and that helps the drape enormously.
  • It was fabric-miserly for such a full skirt, because of the way the gores are cut. They fit together like puzzle pieces. You could absolutely get this skirt from under 1 1/2 yards of 44″ quilting cotton, as long as your fabric isn’t directional.
  • It doesn’t hurt at all that this was one of my better zippers ever. And the snap closure is charming.

Let’s see a little more. Here’s the skirt on the dressform:

That’s a lapped zip instead of invisible, ’cause I didn’t have an invisible one handy. Isn’t the snap a nice touch?

Here’s the part that took forever: I didn’t really get the directions for sewing the lining neatly around the zip, so I forged ahead without doing that step. I thought I’d just slipstitich it in place by hand, as I usually do. But then I realized that if I could follow the Ottobre directions, it’d look even nicer, so I tried to backtrack and do it — but you know how sequential sewing is! Trying to get that right took two sewing sessions, no lie.

Hem band! That looks nice from the inside, too.

OK, OK, enough sewing talk for now, no? But let’s stay domestic and turn to gardening.

Joel is arriving … tomorrow, y’alls! I am looking forward to seeing him so much. Will he relocate to Portland? Inquiring minds want to know, and I’ll keep you updated.

Finally, for the morbid out there.

Let that be a lesson. FLOSS!

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4 thoughts on “I Can’t Sew a Straight Line!

  1. Several things here:
    1. I am so absolutely in awe of your sewing my friend! Amazing and so freaking QUALITY!!!
    2. I am also absolutely in love with your blog! I have so much less time for the internets these days, but I love getting on here and checking you guys out.
    3. That sweet sweet girl is getting so big and is just radiating her really intelligent way in those gardening pictures. Sounds funny, but go look at them again and you will see what I’m saying.
    4. My bff Joe is coming to visit tomorrow and I plan on trying to convince her to move here and leave the islands of doom!!! synchronicities are abound my friend…
    Will we ever get together??? One day that part of our lives will line up as well 🙂

  2. Skirt looks great, and you look great in it. You’re being much too hard on yourself chubby cheeks! As for flossing, chale. Only after carnita Sundays and maybe special occasions, like a wedding. Your little gardner is precious, Bing. Very pretty in pink! I’ll make sure the ground is clean so the girls can plant something when you’re here. Laters.

  3. Awww you guys … I’m blushing. No, really, I am! I tell you, I like writing this thing but I love knowing you’re checking in! Jessica, it’s been such a pleasure to see all your pictures and read what’s up with the Moonbeam. We’ll be together soon — And Marce, I mean it, I’m going to post about my travel plans soon, soon. There is some family stuff … isn’t there always? Well, I’ll tell you more later. xoxo!

  4. Oh, gods, I see what you mean about not flossing…all that hair: just *gone*. The entire right side of her head, the poor little gargoyle…but, you know, chemo is never easy. That’s she gets for not flossing…*sigh*.

    And, yeah, you may complain about the Burda models, but at least they don’t put their gardners in pink satin dresses. Try getting the grass stains outta dat!

    And, we gots a room openin’ down heah, looks like, so if Pee Town doesn’t work out, send Jo-El down, an’ we’ll set him up real nice like. And have the kid party you out…I for one haven’t looked at socal sunsets the same way ever since he partied me and Uncle Frank out. Frannnnk-out! Frank-out!

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