Wednesday, June 01, 2011


Did everyone have a nice long holiday weekend (in the US)? It's been almost non-stop rain here for weeks...there is water seeping into my basement because my poor yard cannot absorb any more. It stopped raining just long enough for me to plant 8 pepper plants, 2 basil plants, some lavender and the 6-pack of marigolds Daughter chose, all in the awful muddy garden. Then we got a rip-roaring thunderstorm that bashed the heck out of them. Oh well, fingers crossed, maybe we will get a small pepper crop. I also did a ton of housework trying to whip the house into shape, so I didn't have a lot of crafting time.

[sad face]

Anyway, I did have time to ponder my sewing plans whilst mopping the crusty kitchen floor. I've been hemming-and-hawing about the new Lisette pattern line that's made a splash in the online sewing community this spring. I was immediately drawn to these patterns because they are the kind of clothing I want to wear. Simple, clean lines, sweet fabrics that are available at a reasonable price point from Joann' many good things. But I kept on not buying the patterns, even when they went on sale for a buck. I finally figured out why. It's because the dresses I like best (Portfolio and Market) are the style that looks worst on my body type. [more sad face]

I am 5' 7" and relatively slender, with a pretty average bust measurement. I am also very short-waisted. My natural waist falls just below my bustline, honestly, it's ridiculous. My height is all from my legs. Because of my high waist, I am somewhat rectangular, by which I mean my waist measurement is not a whole lot smaller than my hips. So what? Well, that means a simple pullover dress with bust darts will inevitably look like a sack on my body. I need waist shaping in my garments to give the illusion of having more of a natural waistline. I searched the flickr groups for Lisette and saw a lot of cuuuuuuuute dresses, but I could tell that the bodies wearing them were shaped differently than mine. What a bummer!

But all is not lost! This story has a happy ending. The pattern companies are always coming out with new styles, and this year I got lucky indeed. I have a skirt that I simply ADORE, purchased last year at a thrift store. It's a full skirt with a yoke and side zipper, made of lawn with a matching lining. I would show a photo but it's in the wash because I wore it yesterday.

I wore that skirt at least once a week last summer because it's cool, comfortable, and extremely flattering. The flat, fitted yoke front elongates my waistline and the full skirt balances my upper body perfectly. Looooooooove. I thought, "I MUST HAVE MORE!"

I even thought of trying to draft my own pattern using the skirt as a guide. So many talented sewists do that, but I'm not that visual. I like patterns and directions ready-made. Thankfully I came across Simplicity 2226. Oh. Em. Gee. It's my skirt! Almost exactly!

I whipped this up in an evening over the weekend. It is very easy! It's also a "learn to sew" pattern, which might be really helpful for a beginner, though you have to install a zipper which is hairy until you get good at it (in my opinion).

I struggled mightily with the size I should make, as I always do. The sizing is based on...your natural waist. As we now know, my natural waist is up under my chin, so I can't go by that measurement. I want my skirts to hang lower, just over my hipbones. So I ended up cutting a humongous size and then bringing it in until it fit. I've re-measured the pattern pieces and I'm hoping I know the right size to go with now.

This is one of the front pockets. The pocket construction is flippin' incredible, I just love it. It's difficult to describe how it goes together, but it's so easy and so awesome. (And the waistband is sewn on straight - the hanger is pulling it out of shape in the photo.) I highly recommend this pattern if you like a comfortable full skirt. I have cotton to make two more and I intend to make fall versions too, using denim and corduroy.

Oh, and I have to mention the fabric! I like loud, large-scale prints for summer with solid color tops. This fabric was on the red-tag clearance shelf at Joann's. It's a "premium" quilter's cotton, but was marked down to $5/yard. Over the weekend all red-tag fabrics were an additional 50% off. So I took the last 2 yards, which is exactly what I needed, making this skirt a whopping $6 including the zipper, purchased with a coupon. I got a couple more cottons off the same rack, and by using vintage zippers from my grandma's stash, I am psyched to be getting two more skirts for about $10 total. People, I am all about saving money by sewing. I really, really love to save bucks by making stuff myself. And I'm extra excited to get these high-quality fabrics because they are a heavier weight, so they are not see-through, and they have a lovely soft hand. The designs are printed straight and they are woven well so there's no distortion when you cut, gather, or stitch.

Those two skirts are on my to-do list for this week, so hopefully I'll have a "finished" post soon.

In other news...

My mystery shawlette continues apace. I'm caught up and excitedly awaiting the final instructions this Thursday. What a fun knit! I'm mentally shopping my stash for yarn to make another.

No comments: