Sunday, May 12, 2013

Wham. Bam. Thank You, Ma'am.

I've wanted a nice denim skirt for a while now. I've kept my eye out in second hand stores, but haven't found anything. Then I considered making one from a pair of jeans. Amy at Red Purl has one and I thought it was cute. The race was on...find a skirt or find some good jeans for it.

Finally I found a pair of jeans I thought would do. Things I liked about them were that they had embroidery (so as to make a fancier skirt), they were made from stretch denim (nicer fit) and were a little snug (I thought that would make the skirt fit better). The jeans sat in my drawer for quite a while, but yesterday I was on a mission to get things done, and pulled the jeans out.

Sometimes these projects get held up by nothing more than my mental hemming and hawing about how they're going to turn out: afraid of the project not working out, I don't even get started. But yesterday I jumped over the mental hurdle, and made myself try it. After all, never getting started is already a failed project.

So first thing was to deconstruct the garment.
I ripped out the inseam from the crotch to below the knees and the crotch seam from the bottom of the zipper in the front, and up to where the seam stopped curving in the back.
This took a long time and nearly wore me out. Those seams are stitched no less than four times!

Then I laid the one side over the other and pinned in place.
I then tried it on and considered in a mirror.
I had to adjust the pinning, and would recommend a fitting to anyone making one of these. (Unless your body doesn't have curves!)

Before I sewed it together, I added an insert to the front to fill in the gap. It was too high, and I hate front slits--you can't sit in them. I used a piece of the leg that was cut off previously, taking advantage of the existing hem.
You can see I made the inset a little shorter than the final length. Yes, that was on purpose, but you could make yours match if you want. I then top stitched all the seams, tracing the previous stitch lines.

I tried it on again and decided it was good. I then cut away the excess from the wrong side.
Yes, I left the edges raw. This isn't going to get a lot of hard wear.

I then marked the hem, cut, folded and sewed. I marked the center back about an inch lower from the waistband than the front and that's seems to be about right. (This gives room for the skirt to go over my tush without riding up at the back hem--I always hate that.)

Sewing the hem gave me a chance to pull out a rarely-used accessory for my sewing machine:
Ever wonder what this tool in your toolbox is for? It's to help getting over those big bumps when you sew over a denim hem. (12 layers of denim gets pretty bulky.) While sewing, stop just as the foot is getting hung up by the seam. Put your needle down and raise the foot. Put the tool underneath and lower the foot. Sew across the seam with no trouble! The tool is thinner on one wing than the other so it's more versatile.

Another thing I did on the hem was to work around the embroidery:
I wanted the embroidery to be right above the hem, but I didn't want to sew across it. (It seems so rude.) Since it was such a short piece, I went around the embroidery. I don't think the hem will unfold there, and it looks much better!

I wore the skirt today and I have to say it was so comfortable. It wears so easy; no need to fuss with it and it gave me no trouble. I didn't get any comments, though, so perhaps it wears better than it looks.
And what about my fears about how the skirt would turned out? Well, the best part of the whole thing was that it was done in one evening. You can't beat that. The back doesn't quite sit right, but I'm not going to let it bother me. And the front insert is a little uneven. I guess I should have measured. (But I did mention it was done in one evening, right?)
All in all, I'm very happy with it and hoping to get a lot of wear out of it this spring and summer!

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