Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Super Online Sewing Match: Round 1


Hey, y'all! So the match is on! The first challenge was to draft and sew an A-line skirt using Deborah Moebes's Craftsy class. Full disclosure- I totally went and stalked the other contestants' blogs and I appear to be the youngest (I'm 22) and least experienced seamstress in the competition. In fact, I've actually been really emotional about this whole thing because I consider July 20th to be my sewiversary, as in almost a year ago, I dragged out my mom's old sewing machine and made her show me how to thread it. Not even a year later, I'm now in this big sewing competition with women who have been sewing since childhood (some for like 20 or 30 years!) and have been to design school and whatnot. After feeling like a screw-up for the past few years in my personal life, this kind of recognition makes me feel all teary-eyed and incredibly thankful.

Ok, with all that mushy stuff being said, I've never drafted a pattern before. Well no, I've drafted circle skirts but let's be real- all it takes to draft a circle skirt is the ability to divide by four and draw a semicircle. Not hard at all. Full on drafting with major body measurements and drawing and fancy French curved rulers is all new territory to me. If you used sex as a metaphor, drafting a circle skirt would be like second base while the drafting I did for this project would be a total home run (bow chicka bow wow).

So without further ado, I present to y'all the Robin Skirt:

A superhero skirt for the Super Online Sewing Match. Geddit? :D

Did I create this skirt in this specific color for the sake of this visual gag? 

...yes. I like to think of this as "casual cosplay".

Anyway, something I should say before I go any further with this post, while I greatly enjoyed the Craftsy class and learned a butt-load from it, I gave the instructor same major side-eye when she highly suggested using 100% cotton for this skirt. I hate using cotton for anything at least semi-fitted on my lower body. I don't mind it for gathered and full skirts, but with more fitted garments as soon as you sit down, your backside looks like wrinkled crap. Of course, I ended up using cotton twill anyway because it was the only fabric I could really find that would work for what I had in mind (the selection of apparel fabric that I have locally suckkkkkksssssssss, which is why I order online when I don't have just a week to complete a project). I ended up pressing this skirt a bazillion times. Like when I sat down to put my shoes on, I ended up having to take it off and press it again because the evil cotton had wrinkled all up again. When I bent over to kill a mosquito, my front wrinkled up for the duration of my photos.

Tl;dr- 100% cotton sucks for fitted garments. That's why this skirt looks kind of wrinkled in the following pictures. Now onto stuff that isn't me ranting about fabric! 

I really, really enjoyed drafting this. The process of learning how to transfer my 3D measurements to the 2D pattern was magical. I felt like a wizard the entire time. When I finished, I just sat there grinning at my completed pattern like I had just birthed a baby or something. 

More pictures of my self-drafted pattern with close-ups can be seen on my flickr.

This pattern that I made (my FIRST self-drafted pattern ever) has nine, count 'em NINE, pieces. I rarely ever wear A-line skirts because I generally prefer my skirts to either be closely fitted (like pencil skirts or straight skirts) or gathered and/or full. However, if you've been reading my blog lately, I've been on a bit of a denim skirt kick and I decided to use this opportunity to make the perfect denim skirt pattern. For me, that is a pattern that includes a fly zipper, panel pockets, and a yoke that flows into the pockets (you can blame Steph, from Cake Patterns, for putting that notion into my head during her Hummingbird sewalong). I am thrilled that that is exactly what I created.

That one pocket back panel looks a little poofy because I had my hands in my pockets a moment before.


With the waistband, I took Steph's advice of not interfacing it. I haven't interfaced my waistbands (except for where I install snaps or buttons) ever since I took a look at her jeans autopsy. This is probably the nicest waistband that I've ever made, which makes me feel very pleased with myself given that I drafted it myself. 

And hey, check out those panel pockets.

For the sake of honesty, I originally drafted this pattern to sit lower on my hips. I thought that was what I wanted, but then once the skirt was sewn up and the waistband applied... I didn't like it. It fit perfectly as I had drafted it, but I decided that I didn't like the low-rise style. 




I don't know what possessed me. The pressures of competition? A lapse of sanity? Questionable comicbook style? 

Kara can pull off low-rise skirts far better than I can.
Anyway, I was then pressed with the dilemma of do I mar my perfectly matched yoke and pockets and my lovely waistband for the sake of a fit that I like? Yes. That's exactly what happened and I grumbled every step of the way as I sewed up the side seams to take them in. Unpicking the waist was out of the question because I feel like that would have looked worse. 

I used fusible webbing to keep the waistband in place while I topstitched it, and then the top stitching itself was suuuch a hassle. I love the look of topstitching, but my machine hates it. I had to unpick the topstitching in several different areas like four or five times trying to get the tension on my machine right. I normally wouldn't care so much about a little loose tension, but knowing that I'm being judged made every little issue a big deal to me. I'm sure that my topstitching would be flawless if I had that Janome MemoryCraft... :D

After altering the sides, the yoke doesn't flow into the pockets quite as well as before, but it's still pretty close, I think.

Ignore the chipped nail polish... -_-U
I ended up finishing the bulkier side seams with bias tape, as well as the hem since bringing the skirt higher up on my waist ate up some of the hem allowance that I drafted.


Required hem picture.
The rest of the seams I finished with one of the overcasting stitches on my sewing machine.


Btw, like my tag? It says "SOSM I" on it. ^_^


Let's see, what else? Oh yes, my zipper. 


This is only my third fly zipper, but oh boy, I do like making them. I was watching The-Show-That-Must-Not-Be-Named while sewing this skirt, and it made me feel better about myself during all of my topstitching drama knowing that if presented with mens' trousers, I would not be intimidated by the fly zipper. Btw, it was really stupid of them to say that the women had installed the zipper the "wrong way". Women's fly zippers apparently face the opposite way from men's, so that part of the show kind of pissed me off.

Before I go, I want to give some shout-outs to the people who helped make this possible:
  • Deborah Moebes, because she really demystified pattern drafting for me.
  • Steph Cousins, for her info regarding jeans waistbands and yokes during the Hummingbird sewalong.
  • Jen Beeman (or Jen ***man, I should say?) of Grainline Studio for her fly zipper tutorial. Back when I first made her Maritime shorts, that's what taught me how to sew that kind of zipper.
  • And because they're a judge and sponsor, and therefore probably reading this, I'd like to take the opportunity to thank Gretchen Hirsch and Sarai Mitnick. The Colette Sewing Handbook and Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing were the first two sewing books that I ever bought and essentially taught me how to sew. Thank you, Sarai and Gertie, for helping me become the seamstress that I am today! I hope I do you proud during this competition.

I figure that fashion doesn't exist in a bubble, so I should give credit where credit is due for each round that I'm in this contest.

Anyway, that's that. More pictures can be found in my flickr set for this project. Now I gotta go fight crime and save the world- Gotham City needs me!

I should have attached my shirt's cape for this picture. Oh well...






32 comments:

  1. i love it! i also love your last photo. AND that tag - how wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This looks amazing! Even though you had so much trouble at first, the topstitching looks perfect now. Good luck in the challenge!

    ReplyDelete
  3. The skirt looks great! Congrats on your first pattern draft!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great job on that skirt! Happy sewiversary, you are rocking it girl

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love the tag and that lost shot. Good job! And happy sewiversary.

    Do you think you will redraft the skirt to sit at your waist?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, *last shot. Sheesh.

      Delete
    2. Thanks! Haha, and yes, definitely. All I really need to do is bring in the side seams on all the pieces and edit the back a little to make the yoke come down ever so slightly lower to match up with the pockets properly as they originally did.

      Delete
  6. Yay! This competition is so cool, so congrats on being a contestant. I look forward to watching your progress through the match!

    I also really love the colour!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Here's hoping that I make it to Round 2!

      Delete
  7. This looks great! I love how you incorporated the lower waistline with a higher one - I thought it just looked cool when I first saw, I didn't realize it was meant to be lower originally!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love this skirt, particularly the red topstiching! Fly zippers are on my list of things to learn, you're definitely inspiring me to try it sooner rather than later. Glad to have found you through SOSM!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fly zippers seem intimidating at first, but with clear instructions they're not complicated at all. I was actually surprised that all the other contestants only used invisible zippers for their skirts. Our challenge requirements didn't specify the kind of zipper- it just said "zipper"- so I thought for sure there would be more variation. I actually kind of hate invisible zippers and much prefer using pretty much any other zipper technique (lapped, fly, exposed, etc.). As far as I'm concerned, if I don't want anyone to see my zipper, I'll make a lapped one (which is what I basically did for this challenge- after all, a fly zipper is basically a fancy lapped one!).

      Delete
  9. I am just visiting from the sewing contest and I love your green skirt and your fun-ness. Congrats on the sewaversary!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Happy Sewaversery! I swear I have the perfect fabric for when you want to remake it in a fabric a little kinder than cotton and would stand up much better to crime fighting. I have had it for a month or so and it hit me how perfect it is. I may have to steal your idea and use it myself though. I <3 it so much!! The yoke, the zipper, the pockets! ^__^ (I have an unholy love of pockets!)

    Link to the perfect green cord!
    https://www.etsy.com/listing/153327269/kelly-green-corduroy-12-yard?ref=shop_home_active

    ReplyDelete
  11. My first visit to your blog :) When it comes to sewing experience we both ahve the same experience LOL.. I blog here TheHobbyHarbor. Do visit when you get time . I drafted a skirt with fly front zipper last october.I love that skirt and the zipper.. I too am not a great fan of invisible zippers. I am curious to know which method/Tutorial You used ? PLease let me know..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I use this tutorial from Grainline Studio whenever I insert a fly- http://grainlinestudio.com/2012/09/19/sewing-tutorial-inserting-a-fly-front-zipper/

      Delete
    2. Oh Thanks for the reply! How did you draft the fly front ?

      Delete
    3. I didn't really draft the fly- I essentially just traced off the pieces from the Grainline shorts pattern because I don't think fly zipper facings and shields vary all that much.

      Delete
  12. What you have learned in a year is amazing, I can only imagine another year from now. Congrats on your accomplishments!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It's kind of nerve-wracking knowing that I'm the youngest and least experienced in the contest, but that just means I'm the underdog, right? :D

      Delete
  13. oh I love it! Both on it's own and paired with the Robin shirt! It's a great color, and you did a fantastic job. I am super impressed with the pockets and fly and backside yoke. It looks like something you bought. Love it!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great outfit! I cannot believe you've been sewing such a short time! Good luck in the contest--that's how I found your blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I can't believe that I've just been sewing a year too! It feels like it's been forever!

      Delete
  15. I just found your blog recently and I am loving it. It's also very inspiring to see all that you've accomplished over one year of sewing. I've been sewing off and on since 2008, but I am still learning a lot every day. Thanks for making such wonderful things and sharing with the sewing community! :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love your entry! It's definitely my favorite!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm glad that the Sewing Match led me to your blog--I'm also a seamstress, knitter, and lindy hopper! Any chance I'll see you at VBLX this weekend?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awesome! No, I'm on vacation with my family this week, so no VBLX, but hopefully I'll be there next year! Are you going to Lindy Focus? This year will be my first time going. ^_^

      Delete
    2. 'fraid not. I'm in Pittsburgh for grad school, and my family is in Minnesota, so we're normally home for the holidays during Lindy Focus. One of these years I'll go! Lots of great dancers from both Pittsburgh and the Twin Cities go out, and it looks like such an amazing event.

      Delete
  18. Congrats on being selected and your first submittal is great!

    ReplyDelete